Chapter published in:Pragmatics of Accents
Edited by Gaëlle Planchenault and Livia Poljak
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 327] 2021
► pp. 63–84
Encountering accented others – and selves – in provincial Japan
Who has a regional accent in Japan? Now over a century into the project of language standardization, this question remains pressing but difficult to answer conclusively. This chapter addresses distinctive characteristics of the metalinguistics of accent in the Touhoku (northern Honshu) region through local categories, and drawing on participant observation, it also offers a close reading of moments of indeterminacy in which language users negotiate the encounter with accent in themselves and in others. Three cases illuminate how the presence or absence of regional accent is subject to the interactional work of language users, and the identification of accent can be thwarted by a strategy of non-participation. The chapter concludes by reviewing the impact of accent in language users’ lives.
Keywords: Japanese accents, regional accents, perceiving subject, agency, situated practices of local languages, accent as an emblem, strategies of non-participation, linguistic discrimination
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