Why is Twitter so popular in Japan?
Linguistic devices for monologization
Across the countries of the world, Japan can rightly claim to be a great “Twitter nation” (Akimoto 2011). Japanese people like to tweet anytime and anywhere. Although the popularity of Twitter in Japan is often associated with the large information capacity of Japanese character sets (Wagner 2013), Neubig and Duh (2013) prove that this is not necessarily the case. Our research compares two sets of data (300 tweets for each) posted by Japanese and Americans, and demonstrates that Japanese tweets contain more monologic features, or show a higher degree of monologicity, than Americans’ tweets. Also, more than 60% of the sentence-ending forms in the Japanese tweets do not encode explicit addressee orientation. The study reveals that it is not the Japanese unique character sets, but the grammatical devices for monologization that linguistically allow Japanese users to enjoy the fullest benefits of online anonymity and addressee underspecification provided by Twitter.
Keywords: Twitter, monologicity, dialogicity, anonymity, addressee underspecification, Japanese, English
Published online: 16 July 2019
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