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Japanese First-Person Pronouns and the Emergence of Identity

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dc.contributor.author Otero, Antonio
dc.date.accessioned 2014-12-08T16:44:46Z
dc.date.available 2014-12-08T16:44:46Z
dc.date.issued 2007
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10066/15095
dc.description.abstract This thesis aims to explore the notion of identity in relation to Japanese speakers as reflected in their use of first-person pronouns, given that the first-person pronoun in Japanese has several varying forms (watashi, boku, ore, atashi, etc.). I begin with a presentation of traditional and prescriptivist accounts that treat these pronouns as having shared, common meanings and use. I then present some recent ethnographic studies that show pronoun use that often contradicts traditional accounts. These contradictions pose questions concerning the nature of meaning: in what ways is it shared and common and how does it relate to normative behavior or expectations of normative behavior. These pronouns present a nice case study for considering recent frameworks in sociolinguistics and emergence theory. I argue that in order to understand the underlying pragmatics of first-person pronoun use in Japanese it is necessary to interpret the dynamics of various linguistic communities in the way they shape and are shaped by language use. Identity, individual and group, and the linguistic variation that indexes it, are argued to be emergent phenomena that arise from negotiation and interaction between various linguistic communities and subcultures. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Swarthmore College. Dept. of Linguistics en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.rights Full copyright to this work is retained by the student author. It may only be used for non-commercial, research, and educational purposes. All other uses are restricted.
dc.title Japanese First-Person Pronouns and the Emergence of Identity en_US
dc.type Thesis (B.A.)


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