Chapter published in:Pragmatics of Japanese: Perspectives on grammar, interaction and culture
Edited by Mutsuko Endo Hudson, Yoshiko Matsumoto and Junko Mori
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 285] 2018
► pp. 149–172
Negotiating entitlement in Japanese
The case of requesting forms
This study investigates how speakers construct their entitlement (the speaker’s right and/or capacity to perform certain actions) in requests observed in Japanese workplace discourse. It shows that the -te kudasai format frequently appears in requests originally issued by an outside entity and whose content had already been agreed upon. Other forms of request appear when issuers framed their request as their own, and these requests tend to include mitigation elements (e.g., qualification of requested actions and apologies). The study concludes that the speaker’s strong or weak entitlement to issue a request is related to the discourse participants’ understanding of institutional procedures (knowledge of duties, channels of agreement) and institutional identity (their connection to the original issuer of requests).
Keywords: requests, directives, Japanese, workplace discourse, politeness, face-work, entitlement, pragmatics
Published online: 16 April 2018
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