Publication details [#55785]

Sandu, Roxana. 2012. Su(m)imasen and gomen nasai: Linguistic devices marking Japanese apology expressions and emotivity. Language and Dialogue 2 (3) : 339–362.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


This paper investigates Japanese apology expressions, particularly the co-occurrence of su(m)imasen and gomen nasai with various linguistic devices (i.e. adverbs, interjections, conjunctions, etc.) in social interactions. Differing from previous research, the present research focuses on (1) the linguistic devices co-occurring with the apology expression, (2) their relation to the interactional functions the expressions serve in situated contexts, (3) their roles within discourse and the effect they produce, and (4) the way the speaker expresses his or her emotional attitude through these linguistic devices. To this end, data was collected from Japanese television dramas, and the linguistic devices marking Su(m)imasen and gomen nasai, adverbial forms and interjections that were most encountered were examined. The analysis revealed that the co-occurrences with the apology expressions do influence or change the entire meaning of the utterance.