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. 173–196
From subjectivity to intersubjectivity
A discourse-pragmatic study of the Japanese epistemic marker kamo (shirenai)
This study investigates the discourse-pragmatic functions of the Japanese sentence-final expression kamo (shirenai) ‘maybe’ in natural conversations. By investigating 72 cases of kamo (shirenai) in sequential contexts, my study demonstrates that showing epistemic uncertainty is not the only function that kamo (shirenai) carries in conversational discourse; rather, it mainly serves for intersubjective purposes to downplay the assertiveness of statements, or to present non-full approval in a noncommittal manner. Further, I suggest that kamo (shirenai) shows a new tendency of usage in contexts when the speaker attempts to express personal emotions in a less ego-focused manner.
Keywords: epistemic, mitigator, intersubjectivity, emotion, Japanese, pragmatics
Published online: 16 April 2018
Aaker, Jennifer, and Patti Williams
Brown, Penelope, and Stephen C. Levinson
Markus, Hazel Rose, and Shinobu Kitayama
Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (Japan)
2015 Heesee 26-nen joohoo tsuushin media no riyoo jikan to joohoo koodoo ni kansuru choosa hookokusho [Survey report on the usage and behavior of social media in 2014]. Retrieved on July 14, 2015, from the website: http://www.soumu.go.jp/main_content/000357570.pdf
Schegloff, Emanuel A.