Publication details [#53977]

Tanaka, Hiromasa. 2010. Politeness in a Japanese intra-organisational meeting. Honorifics and socio-dialectal code switching. Journal of Asian Pacific Communication 20 (1) : 60–76.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


This paper examines data collected during an intra-organisational meeting in a Japanese company. It illustrates how, in a situation involving potential conflicts, some Japanese managers switch between different linguistic codes in order to construct situational meaning. The interlocutors’ code-switch indicates constant vertical and horizontal change of their footing by sometimes strengthening solidarity with subordinates and mitigating potential face threatening acts (FTAs). This finding indicates that the use of honorifics and other social indexical forms in Japanese is not pre-determined by existing social conventions; but rather it is subject to situational evaluation of the fluid local context where relationships are constructed and negotiated.