The combinative use of “imperative + final particle” in Tokyo language in the Meiji period
Characteristics and historical changes
Honorifics in Japanese as a rare linguistic system has received consistent attention in social and cultural linguistic studies. A typical linguistic structure of honorifics is “imperative + sentence-final particles (shuu-joshi)” (henceforth, “final particle”), which has been studied mainly as a compound expression in Tokyo language. Different from previous studies with separated attention towards imperative expressions and sentence-final particles in the Edo era as well as in modern Japan, this paper investigates the combinative use and diachronic changes of “imperative + final particle” during the Meiji period – a period of upheaval in the Tokyo dialect. The investigation takes multiple views including the positions and relations (social and psychological) between the interlocutors, and the context of the utterance. Results of the investigation lead to an insight into pragmatic norms and diachronic changes of the modern Tokyo dialect, specifically the tendencies, characteristics and the driving force.
This study finds the particular expressive effect accomplished by the combinational use of “imperative + final particle” in the modern Tokyo dialect. The speaker shapes the degree of respect or politeness with the selective use of imperatives, and signals the communicative attitude by adding sentence-final particles. This linguistic form manifests the demand for “acting upon”, unveils the social construct and cultural norms embedded in inter-personal communication. The analysis on the developmental trend of “imperative + final particle” suggests that the prototype of the Tokyo dialect brings to prominence the across-status expressions as a result of social, political and educational reforms.
- 2.Source materials and research method
- 3.Findings and discussions
- 3.1An overview on the combinative use of “imperative + final particle” in the Tokyo dialect during the Meiji period
- 3.2A deeper insight into the “imperative + final particle” structure in the Tokyo language during the Meiji period
- 3.2.1The demonstrative effects of “imperative + final particle”
- 3.2.2The diachronic shift of “imperative + final particle”
- 3.2.3“Imperative + final particle” and the positions of the speaker
- “Imperative + final particle” and gender of the speaker
- “Imperative + final particle” and social status of the speaker