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Emic understandings of attentiveness and its related concepts among Japanese

Issue: Vol 1 No. 2 (2016)

Journal: East Asian Pragmatics

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DOI: 10.1558/eap.v1i2.31762


Emic understandings of politeness and interpersonal relations are important in current im/politeness research, and there is a need to explore intra-cultural politeness practices. This study investigates the emic understandings of Japanese people with two generations on an interpersonal notion through metapragmatic interview data. The interpersonal notion investigated here is attentiveness. Its related concepts, namely, empathy and anticipatory inference, are also investigated. The participants were asked to outline their understanding of the three notions above. The results show that the participants think that the three notions are important, which suggests a similarity between the two groups of the participants. This may suggest that the moral order does not differ greatly among the participants and that the three concepts investigated here are related to politeness. A closer look at the results, however, shows that there were some subtle cross-generational differences. This suggests the existence of intra-cultural variability in Japanese culture. 

Author: Saeko Fukushima

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