Item Details

Japanese politeness situated in thanking a benefactor: Examining the use of four types of Japanese benefactive auxiliary verbs

Issue: Vol 2 No. 1 (2017)

Journal: East Asian Pragmatics

Subject Areas:

DOI: 10.1558/eap.30468


The purpose of this study is to show how grammar interacts with pragmatics and to determine whether situated pragmatic meanings can be explained by Brown and Levinson’s (1987) politeness theory. To address these issues, this study examines Japanese speakers’ use of four benefactive auxiliary verbs in thanking an addressee for a kind deed. The results of two questionnaires indicated that, in thanking usage, ‑te kureru, ‘give’, was used to indicate intimacy, whereas ‑te morau, ‘receive’, signalled a speaker’s concern for the addressee’s trouble. Honorific forms showed significantly greater psychological distance and heightened attentiveness to the addressee’s welfare. Analysis of these results shows how different, yet metaphorically inferable from grammatical/semantic meanings, the situated meanings are. In so doing, it illustrates that the pragmatic inference and semantic change in thanking usage are channelled by a social norm among Japanese speakers, namely that of attending to another’s welfare or trouble. In contrast, maintenance of positive face did not explain the use of any of the studied linguistic forms in the speech act of thanking. The usage appeared not to be mediated by face, suggesting that face and politeness do not necessarily conflate.

Author: Chiho Kyono

View Full Text

References :

Author, et al. (2015). Brown, P., & Levinson, S. C. (1987). Politeness: Some universals in language usage. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Coulmas, F. (1981). ‘Poison to your soul’: Thanks and apologies contrastively viewed. In F. Coulmas (Ed.), Conversational routine explorations in standardized communication situations and prepatterned speech (pp. 69- -91). The Hague, Netherlands: Mouton Publishers. DeLancey, S. (1981). An interpretation of split ergativity and related patterns. Language, 57 (3), 626- -657. Durkheim, É. (1915/2012). The elementary forms of the religious life, centennial digital edition, translated from the French by Joseph Ward Swain, originally published in 1915 by George Allen and Unwin Ltd., London; Quid Pro Books, New Orleans. Goda, S. 江田すみれ (1983). ‘-teyaru/-tekureru/-temorau’ to taigo no hyoogen; hâi no yoohoo ni chuumoku shite. 「てやる・てくれる・てもらう」とタイ語の表現―hâiの用法に着目して(“-te yaru,-te kureru,-te morau” in Japanese and their corresponding expressions in the Thai language focusing on the usage of “hâi” ). Nihongo Kyooiku 日本語教育, 2, 119- -132. Goffman, E. (1971). The territories of the self. In E. Goffman, Relations in public microstudies of the public order (pp. 28- -61). New York: Basic Books. Grice, P. H. (1975). Logic and conversation. In P. Cole & J. L. Morgan (Eds.), Syntax and semantics volume 3 speech acts (pp. 41--58). Academic Press. Hidaka, M. 日高水穂(2007). Juyodoshi no taisho hoogengakuteki kenkyuu. 授与動詞の対照方言学的研究 (Comparative dialect studies of benefactive verbs).Tokyo: Hitsuji Shobo. Im, P. 林八龍 (1980). Nihongo/kankokugo no jukyuu hyoogen no taishoo kenkyuu. 日本語・韓国語の受給表現の対象研究 (A contrastive study on Japanese and Korean expressions for giving and receiving). Nihongo Kyooiku, 日本語教育, 3, 113- -120. Kumatoridani, T. (1999). Alternation and co-occurrence in Japanese thanks. Journal of Pragmatics, 31, 623- -642. Kuno, S. 久野暲 (1978). Danwa no bunpoo. 談話の文法 (Grammar of discourse). Tokyo: Taishukan Shoten. Long, C. (2010). Apology in Japanese gratitude situations: The negotiation of interlocutor role-relations. Journal of Pragmatics, 42, 1060- -1075. Masuoka, T. (1981). Semantics of the benefactive constructions in Japanese. Descriptive and Applied Linguistics: Bulletin of the ICU Summer Institute in Linguistics, 14, 67- -78. Masuoka, T. 益岡隆志 (2001). Nihongo ni okeru jujudooshi to onkeisei. 日本語における授受動詞と恩恵性 (Beneficiary verbs and benefaction in Japanese) Gekkan Gengo 月刊言語, 30 (5), 26- -32. Miyaji, Y. 宮地裕 (1981) Keigoshi ron 敬語史論 (On history of honorifics). In Y. Miyaji,et al. 宮地裕他 (Ed.), Kooza nihongogaku 9 Keigoshi 講座日本語学9 敬語史 (Japanese linguistic lecture 9: History of honorifics). (pp.1--25) Tokyo: Meiji Shoin. Oe, S. 大江三郎 (1975). Nichieigo no hikaku kenkyuu: Shukansei wo megutte. 日英語の比較研究―主観性をめぐって (Comparative studies of Japanese and English; regarding subjectivity). Tokyo: Nanundo. Okutsu, K. & Xu, C. 奥津敬一郎・徐昌華 (1982). ‘-temorau’ to soreni taioo suru chuugokugo hyoogen. 「てもらう」とそれに対応する中国語表現 (-te morau in Japanese and its corresponding expressions in Chinese). Nihongo Kyoiku 日本語教育, 46, 92- -104. Suzuki, M. 鈴木睦 (1997). Nihongo kyooiku niokeru teineitai sekai to futsuutai sekai. 日本語教育における丁寧体世界と普通体世界 (The worlds of polite speech style and casual speech style in Japanese language education). In Y. Takubo田窪行則 (Ed.), Shiten to gengo kodoo 視点と言語行動 (Perspectives and language performance) (pp. 45- -76). Tokyo: Kuroshio Shuppan. Takami, K. & Kato, K. 高見健一・加藤鉱三 (2003). Jueki hyoogen no shintenkai 5: ‘-kureru/-morau’ hyoogen no kihonteki imi. 受益表現の新展開5 「くれる/もらう」表現の基本的意味 (New perspectives of benefactive expressions 5: fundamental meanings of kureru/morau). Gekkan Gengo月刊言語, 32 (5), 96- -101. Takami, K. & Kuno, S. 高見健一・久野暲 (2002). Nichieigo no jidooshi koobun. 日英語の自動詞構文 (A functional analysis of intransitive constructions in English and Japanese). Tokyo: Kenkyusha. Takiura, M. 滝浦真人 (2008). to no goyooron: nikkan taishoo poraitonesu ron no tameni.<距離>と<領域>の語用論―日韓対照ポライトネス論のために― (Pragmatics of ‘distance’ and ’territory’; for comparative politeness between Japanese and Korean) In Y. Mori 森雄一, Y. Nishimura 西村義樹, S. Yamada 山田進, & M. Yoneyama 米山三明 (Eds.), Kotobano dinamizumu ことばのダイナミズム (Dynamism of language) (pp. 31- -49). Tokyo: Kuroshio Shuppan. Traugott, E.C. & Dasher, R.B. (2002). Regularity in semantic change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Yamada, T. 山田敏弘 (2004). Nihongo no Benefakutibu: ‘-teyaru’ ‘-tekureru’ ‘-temorau’ no bunpoo. 日本語のベネファクティブー「てやる」「てくれる」「てもらう」の文法 (Japanese benefactive: grammar of ‘teyaru’, ’tekureru’, and ’temorau’). Tokyo: Meijishoin.