Chapter published in:Bonding through Context: Language and interactional alignment in Japanese situated discourse
Edited by Risako Ide and Kaori Hata
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 314] 2020
► pp. 217–238
Getting to the point
Indexical reference in English and Japanese email discourse
This paper compares indexical expressions utilized in English and Japanese email discourse from book companies in the United States and Japan in order to highlight their referential functions and underscore their pedagogical importance. These deictics also serve a marketing purpose by constituting a bond between company and customer and encouraging further patronage. English emails adopt a relatively casual stance, with positive politeness markers such as bare imperatives functioning to invite future customer engagement. Pronominal reference also predominates, whereas in Japanese, recurring combinations of nominal forms with polite prefixes and honorific or humble polite predicates enable a company to express appreciation for a customer’s patronage, acknowledge benefits received, and indirectly index a deferent stance consonant with customer expectations for online vendors.
Keywords: indexicality, deixis, business, email, benefactives, honorifics, politeness, English, Japanese
Published online: 03 December 2020
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