Making ‘yes’ stronger by saying ‘no’: Utterance-initial iya in statements of ‘yes’ in Japanese

Hironori Nishi

Abstract

The present study examined the recordings of naturally occurring conversations among native speakers of Japanese, and analyzed the cases of iya ‘no’ that are uttered in response to yes-no questions. The analysis has shown that iya can be uttered in response to a yes-no question even when the response to the question is ‘yes,’ as long as the propositional information that follows iya signals ‘yes’ to the question. When iya prefaces a response of ‘yes,’ the speaker can express a stronger message of ‘yes’ since it creates a pragmatic effect of expressing needless to ask… along with signaling ‘yes’ with the propositional information that follows iya.

Keywords:
Table of contents

1.Introduction

The yes-no response system in Japanese and the response tokens associated with it such as hai, ee, un, ie, iie, uun, and iya have been discussed in many studies that examine the usage of these tokens in interactive situations (Kitagawa 1980Kitagawa, Chisato 1980 “Saying “Yes” in Japanese.” Journal of Pragmatics 4 (2): 105–120. CrossrefGoogle Scholar; Okutsu 1989Okutsu, Keiichiro 1989 “Ootooshi hai to iie no kinoo [Functions of Response tokens hai and iie].” Nihongogaku 8 (8): 4–14.Google Scholar; Saft 1998Saft, Scott 1998 “Some Uses and Meanings of Utterance Initial iya in Japanese Discourse.” Japanese/Korean linguistics 7: 121–37.Google Scholar; Angles et al. 2000Angles, Jeffery, Ayumi Nagatomi, and Mineharu Nakayama 2000 “Japanese Responses hai, ee, and un: Yes, No, and Beyond.” Language & Communication 20 (1): 55–86. CrossrefGoogle Scholar; Togashi 2003Togashi, Junichi 2003 “Hitee ootoo hyoogen no ie iie iya ni tsuite [Negative response expressions ie, iie, and iya].” Dai 68 Kai Kantou Nihongo Danwakai: 31–13.Google Scholar; Kushida 2005Kushida, Shuya 2005 “Iya no komyunikeeshon gaku: kaiwa bunseki no tachiba kara [Iya’s communication: From the perspective of Conversation Analysis].” Gekkan Gengo 34 (11): 44–51.Google Scholar; Hayashi 2010Hayashi, Makoto 2010 “An Overview of the Question-Response System in Japanese.” Journal of Pragmatics 42 (10): 2685–2702. CrossrefGoogle Scholar; Tanaka 2010Tanaka, Lidia 2010 “Is Formality Relevant? Japanese Tokens hai, ee and un.” Pragmatics 20 (2): 191–211. CrossrefGoogle Scholar; Hayashi and Kushida 2013Hayashi, Makoto, and Shuya Kushida 2013 “Responding with Resistance to Wh-Questions in Japanese Talk-in-Interaction.” Research on Language and Social Interaction 46 (3): 231–255. CrossrefGoogle Scholar; Fukuhara 2014Fukuhara, Yuichi 2014 “Disukoosu maakaa ‘iya’ no komyunikeeshon kinoo [The communicative functions of discourse marker iya].” Kokusai Bunka Kenkyuu 20: 201–217.Google Scholar; Kushida and Hayashi 2015Kushida, Shuya, and Makoto Hayashi 2015 “WH shitsumon e no teekoo: kandooshi ‘iya’ no soogokooijoo no hataraki [Resistance to wh-question: Iya’s interactive roles].” In Kandooshi no Gengogaku [Linguistic Features of Interjections], ed. by Kenji Tomosada, 169–211. Tokyo: Hitsuji Shobo.Google Scholar, etc.). Iya is one of those frequently used tokens and is typically translated as ‘no’ in English; however, iya has several properties that cannot be directly translated into ‘no’ in English. The present paper focuses on one of these properties of iya, and examines the cases in which iya can be used to indicate a stronger message of ‘yes’ when the speaker expresses agreement to the preceding statement uttered by another speaker.[ p.134 ]

1.1Utterance-initial iya in Japanese

Japanese iya is an expression that is often uttered when the speaker expresses disagreement with the previous utterance. For example, similar to ie and iie, which are often translated as ‘no’ in English, iya is uttered as a response to a yes-no question. Examples (1) and (2) demonstrate such usage of iya that corresponds to ‘no’ in English.

(1)
  1. Kono
    this
    keeburu
    cable
    o
    o
    tsunagu
    connect
    n
    n
    desu
    cp
    ka?
    q

    ‘Are you going to connect this cable?’

  2. Iya .
    iya

    ‘No.’ (Togashi 2003Togashi, Junichi 2003 “Hitee ootoo hyoogen no ie iie iya ni tsuite [Negative response expressions ie, iie, and iya].” Dai 68 Kai Kantou Nihongo Danwakai: 31–13.Google Scholar, 1)

When iya is uttered to indicate ‘no,’ it is uttered with the Low-High pitch pattern, the first syllable being low and the second syllable being high.11.For more details of the High-Low pitch patterns in Japanese, see Tsujimura (2013)Tsujimura, Natsuko 2013An Introduction to Japanese Linguistics: Third Edition. West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell.Google Scholar, Hasegawa (2015)Hasegawa, Yoko 2015Japanese: A Linguistic Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossrefGoogle Scholar, etc. In addition, similar to ‘no’ in English, the utterance that follows iya can be information relevant to saying ‘no,’ such as reasons for saying no, additional information, etc.

(2)
  1. Kinoo
    yesterday
    tenisu
    tennis
    shimashita
    did
    ka?
    q

    ‘Did you play tennis yesterday?’

  2. Iya ,
    iya
    jikan
    time
    ga
    sb
    arimasen
    have-neg
    deshita.
    cp

    ‘No, I did not have time.’ (Saft 1998Saft, Scott 1998 “Some Uses and Meanings of Utterance Initial iya in Japanese Discourse.” Japanese/Korean linguistics 7: 121–37.Google Scholar, 125)

For the usage of iya in response to a yes-no question, it must be noted that when a yes-no question is uttered with a negation morpheme such as nai, using iya in the response still indicates that the speaker disagrees with the negated propositional information included in the question utterance. Observe the usage of iya in (3).

(3)
  1. Korya
    this
    kaette
    come
    konai
    back-neg
    n
    n
    desu
    cp
    ka?
    q

    ‘Does this mean he won’t come back?’

  2. Iya ,
    iya
    kaette
    come
    kuru
    back
    to
    qt
    omoimasu
    think
    kedo
    but
    ne.
    fp

    Iya, I think he will come back.’ (Saft 1998Saft, Scott 1998 “Some Uses and Meanings of Utterance Initial iya in Japanese Discourse.” Japanese/Korean linguistics 7: 121–37.Google Scholar, 124)

In (3), A’s question includes konai, which is a combination of the verb kuru ‘to come’ and a negation morpheme nai. B’s response is initiated with iya, and what B expresses with iya is disagreement with the propositional information included in A’s question utterance, rather than the negation of the verb kuru.

Furthermore, the usage of iya is not limited to its usage as a prefacing utterance for a response to a yes-no question. The following example is from Togashi (2003)Togashi, Junichi 2003 “Hitee ootoo hyoogen no ie iie iya ni tsuite [Negative response expressions ie, iie, and iya].” Dai 68 Kai Kantou Nihongo Danwakai: 31–13.Google Scholar. In (4), A is a teacher and B is a student, and the conversation took place at the beginning of a class in school.

(4)
  1. De wa
    then
    shusseki
    attendance
    o
    o
    torimasu.
    check
    Aizawa-san.
    Aizawa Mr./Ms.

    ‘Then, I am going to check attendance. Mr./Ms. Aizawa.’

  2. Iya ,
    iya
    anoo,
    well
    sensei
    teacher
    no
    lk
    kurasu
    class
    wa
    tp
    tonari
    next
    desu
    cp
    yo.
    fp

    Iya, well, your classroom is next to this one.’ (Togashi 2003Togashi, Junichi 2003 “Hitee ootoo hyoogen no ie iie iya ni tsuite [Negative response expressions ie, iie, and iya].” Dai 68 Kai Kantou Nihongo Danwakai: 31–13.Google Scholar, 6)

According to Togashi (2003)Togashi, Junichi 2003 “Hitee ootoo hyoogen no ie iie iya ni tsuite [Negative response expressions ie, iie, and iya].” Dai 68 Kai Kantou Nihongo Danwakai: 31–13.Google Scholar, B can use iya to express that A’s action of checking attendance is inappropriate for the given situation, and this type of usage of iya indicates that iya’s scope can include the addressee’s action, not just the propositional content of the addressee’s prior utterance.

Similarly, the scope of iya can target the action conducted through the act of asking a question. Assume that the following conversation took place in an important business meeting.

(5)
  1. Ohiru
    lunch
    wa
    tp
    nani
    what
    tabeyoo
    eat
    ka?
    q

    ‘What should we eat for lunch?’

  2. Iya ,
    iya
    ima
    now
    wa
    tp
    kankee
    relevant
    nai
    neg
    desho
    cp
    sono
    that
    hanashi
    topic
    wa.
    tp

    Iya, that topic irrelevant right now.’ (Togashi 2003Togashi, Junichi 2003 “Hitee ootoo hyoogen no ie iie iya ni tsuite [Negative response expressions ie, iie, and iya].” Dai 68 Kai Kantou Nihongo Danwakai: 31–13.Google Scholar, 5)

Togashi (2003)Togashi, Junichi 2003 “Hitee ootoo hyoogen no ie iie iya ni tsuite [Negative response expressions ie, iie, and iya].” Dai 68 Kai Kantou Nihongo Danwakai: 31–13.Google Scholar argues that iya in B’s utterance in (5) targets the action conducted through A’s utterance, which is bringing up the topic of lunch in an important business meeting.

From the perspective of Conversation Analysis, Kushida (2005)Kushida, Shuya 2005 “Iya no komyunikeeshon gaku: kaiwa bunseki no tachiba kara [Iya’s communication: From the perspective of Conversation Analysis].” Gekkan Gengo 34 (11): 44–51.Google Scholar, Hayashi and Kushida (2013)Hayashi, Makoto, and Shuya Kushida 2013 “Responding with Resistance to Wh-Questions in Japanese Talk-in-Interaction.” Research on Language and Social Interaction 46 (3): 231–255. CrossrefGoogle Scholar, Kushida and Hayashi (2015)Kushida, Shuya, and Makoto Hayashi 2015 “WH shitsumon e no teekoo: kandooshi ‘iya’ no soogokooijoo no hataraki [Resistance to wh-question: Iya’s interactive roles].” In Kandooshi no Gengogaku [Linguistic Features of Interjections], ed. by Kenji Tomosada, 169–211. Tokyo: Hitsuji Shobo.Google Scholar argue that iya is often uttered as resistance to a wh-question in Japanese talk-in-interaction. Regarding the cases of iya used in response to a wh-question, Hayashi and Kushida (2013)Hayashi, Makoto, and Shuya Kushida 2013 “Responding with Resistance to Wh-Questions in Japanese Talk-in-Interaction.” Research on Language and Social Interaction 46 (3): 231–255. CrossrefGoogle Scholar explain that “iya-prefacing serves as an alert to the questioner that the respondent finds some aspect of the preceding question problematic” (p. 231). Example (6) demonstrates such usage of iya in response to a wh-question.[ p.136 ]

(6)
  1. Nani
    what
    shi
    do
    ni
    for
    kiteta
    came
    no
    lk
    are?
    that

    ‘What did he come (to our company) for?’

  2. Iya,
    iya
    chotto
    a little
    yotte
    stop
    mite
    by
    dake
    just
    rashii
    seems
    n
    n
    da
    cp
    kedo.
    but

    ‘No, it seems like he was just stopping by.’ (Hayashi and Kushida 2013Hayashi, Makoto, and Shuya Kushida 2013 “Responding with Resistance to Wh-Questions in Japanese Talk-in-Interaction.” Research on Language and Social Interaction 46 (3): 231–255. CrossrefGoogle Scholar, 234)

In (6), A’s question is a wh-question since it includes nani ‘what’ as part of the question. However, B prefaces his/her utterance with iya and does not provide a specific reason for stopping by in response to the question. Hayashi and Kushida (2013)Hayashi, Makoto, and Shuya Kushida 2013 “Responding with Resistance to Wh-Questions in Japanese Talk-in-Interaction.” Research on Language and Social Interaction 46 (3): 231–255. CrossrefGoogle Scholar labels this type of usage of iya as iya used for “resistance to wh-questions,” and claim that iya can index the respondent’s resistance to (a) the epistemic stance invoked by the question regarding the knowledge states of the questioner and the respondent; (b) the type of response pursued by the question; (c) an assumption conveyed by the question regarding the state of affairs it addresses; and/or (d) a larger course of action of which the preceding question is a part (p. 235, for more details, see Hayashi and Kushida 2013Hayashi, Makoto, and Shuya Kushida 2013 “Responding with Resistance to Wh-Questions in Japanese Talk-in-Interaction.” Research on Language and Social Interaction 46 (3): 231–255. CrossrefGoogle Scholar).

It must be noted that iya as a regular lexical item exists in Japanese, and it can be used as an adjective in a sentence to indicate meanings such as ‘dislike,’ ‘disagreeable,’ and/or ‘unpleasant.’ Examples (7) and (8) demonstrate such usage of iya as a regular lexical item.

(7)
Ayamaru
apologizing
no
lk
wa
tp
dooshitemo
absolutely
iya
dislike
datta.
cp

‘I absolutely disliked the idea of apologizing.’ (Kenkyusha’s New Japanese-English Dictionary, Matsuda 1974Matsuda, Koh 1974Kenkyusha’s New Japanese-English Dictionary. Tokyo: Kenkyusha.Google Scholar, 573)

(8)
Nan
what
to
qt
iu
disagreeabe
iya
cp
na
fellow
yatsu
cp
da.
 

‘What a disagreeable fellow he is.’ (The Kodansha Japanese-English Dictionary, Shimizu and Narita 1976Shimizu, Mamoru, and Shigehisa Narita 1976The Kodansha English-Japanese Dictionary. Tokyo: Kodansha.Google Scholar, 83)

As demonstrated in (7) and (8), iya as an adjective can be used as a regular lexical item, not as a response token, in sentences in Japanese. However, even though there may be some semantic connections between iya as a regular lexical item and iya uttered as a response token, because of the scope of the present study, the present study’s data analysis will focus on iya uttered as a response token only, the cases of iya that precede statements of ‘yes.’

Furthermore, iyaa, which resembles iya but with an elongated vowel aa, can be used as a filler in Japanese. When iyaa is uttered as a filler, it is often uttered with an emotionally loaded exclamatory tone as seen in (9).[ p.137 ]

(9)

(after entering a meeting room where the attendants are waiting for the speaker)

Iyaa,
iyaa
doomo
sorry
doomo,
sorry
osoku
late
narimashita.
became

Iyaa, sorry, sorry for being late.’ (Togashi 2003Togashi, Junichi 2003 “Hitee ootoo hyoogen no ie iie iya ni tsuite [Negative response expressions ie, iie, and iya].” Dai 68 Kai Kantou Nihongo Danwakai: 31–13.Google Scholar, 10)

Iyaa as a filler morphologically resembles iya as seen in (9); however, it does not signal ‘no’ to the addressee nor negate semantic information of the presiding utterance. Therefore, iyaa as a filler is not included in the scope of the present study.

1.2 iya directly before a statement of ‘yes’

Examples (1) through (6) in the previous section have shown typical cases of iya that preface utterances of disagreement, denial, or what Hayashi and Kushida call resistance to a wh-question. In those cases, iya is typically uttered to simply indicate ‘no’ in response to a question, or the speaker is expressing some sort of disagreement or resistance to the preceding utterance. However, if we pay attention to cases of iya used in naturally occurring conversations in Japanese, we can observe that iya is also used when the speaker expresses ‘yes’ in response to a yes-no question. The following example includes such a case of iya.

(10)

[CABank: Sakura18]

Taka:
Omoshiroi
interesting
no?
q
Doobutsu
Doobutsu
no
no
Mori
Mori
tte.
qt

‘Is it interesting? Doobutsu no Mori.’

Toshi:
Iya,
iya
omoshiroi
interesting
yo.
fp

Iya, it’s interesting.’

In (10), Taka’s question is a yes-no question, and Toshi prefaces his answer to the question with iya. As indicated by omoshiroi, ‘interesting’ without negation in both the question and the answer, Toshi’s response clearly expresses that Doobutsu no Mori (name of a video game) is interesting. However, Toshi’s response is prefaced with iya instead of a typical response token that indicates ‘yes’ such as hai or un. (This particular example will be analyzed further in detail later in this paper.) It seems that iya after a yes-no question in this manner is not uncommon in Japanese; however, as far as the author of the present study is aware, no studies have been conducted specifically on this type of usage of iya after a yes-no question.[ p.138 ]

2.Research design

In order to explore the cases of iya that directly preface statements of ‘yes,’ the present study has examined a linguistic corpus containing recordings of naturally occurring conversations by native speakers of Japanese. The corpus used for the present study was accessed via Talkbank (MacWhinney 2007MacWhinney, Brian 2007 “The TalkBank Project.” In Creating and Digitizing Language Corpora: Synchronic Databases, Vol.1, ed. by Joan C. Beal, Karen P. Corrigan, and Hermann L. Moisl, 163–180. Houndmills: Palgrave-Macmillan. CrossrefGoogle Scholar, http://​www​.talkbank​.org), an online public database for conversational recordings for research purposes. For the present study, 18 conversational recordings included in the Sakura corpus were examined, and the total length of the examined recordings from the Sakura corpus was approximately 7 hours and 30 minutes. Four conversational participants were prompted to carry on a conversation on a given topic in each recording in the corpus; however, in addition, they were allowed to deviate from the given topic throughout the course of the conversation. The age group of the participants was college-age students who were between 19–22 years old, and both male and female speakers were included in the recordings, even though in some of the recordings, the gender was either dominantly male or female. The conversations in the recordings were mostly conducted in the so-called casual style, illustrating that there were no clear hierarchical differences among the participants. In addition, 30 recordings of telephone conversations between two L1 speakers of Japanese, totaling approximately 12 hours and 57 minutes, were examined to explore the usage of iya that precedes statements of ‘yes’ further. The telephone conversations included speakers ranging from 17 to 57 years old, and the genders of the speakers were mixed. The speech style in the recordings was mostly the casual style; however, some speakers carried out the conversation in the polite style (addressee-honorific style) throughout the recording.

In the recordings examined for the present study, five cases of iya that precede statements of ‘yes’ directly were found, and those cases were qualitatively analyzed. For the transcription of data, pseudonyms were used for the names of the participants. As mentioned earlier, because of the scope of the present study, the cases of iya used as an adjective in a sentence and iyaa used as a filler are not included in the analysis.

3.Data analysis

In this section, the cases of iya that precede statements of ‘yes’ in the examined data are qualitatively examined, and findings from the data analysis are discussed and summarized.[ p.139 ]

3.1 iya used to express ‘no’

Before exploring the cases of iya that directly precede the statements of ‘yes,’ it must be noted that a significant portion of the cases of iya found in the examined data were used to indicate the commonly recognized interpretation of iya, which is the usage that is typically translated as ‘no’ in English. The following excerpt is a conversation between four male college students, and they are discussing their habits of spending money in everyday life.

(11)

[CABank: Sakura18]

  1 Toshi:
Raigetsu
next
wa
month
kondake
tp
kasegu
this
kara,
much
jyaa
earn
kongurai
since
nakunattemo
then
heeki
about
yan
this
mitai
lose
na
okay
kanji
fp
de
like
bonbon
quickly
bonbon
quickly
tsukatteru
using
to
when
kieteta
disappeared
kara
because
ne.
fp

‘My money disappeared when I quickly spent it, like “I can earn this much next month, so it’s okay to use this much.”’

  2 Taka:
Aa,
oh
zenzen
completely
keikakusee
planning
no
lk
nai
neg
kanji.
like

‘Oh, it’s like doing no planning at all.’

  3 Hiro:
Keekakusee
planning
nai.
neg

‘No planning.’

  4 Taka:
E,
ah
konbini
convenience store
no
lk
saa,
fp
reji
registar
no
lk
yoko
next
ni
to
aru
exist
okashi
snacks
toka
etc.
kacchau
buy
taipu?
type

‘Ah, are you a type of person who buys the snack items located next to the cash register in convenience stores?’

5 Toshi:
Iya,
iya
kawanai
buy-neg
kawanai
buy-neg
sore
that
wa
tp
nai.
neg

‘No, I don’t buy them, I don’t buy them, I don’t do that.’

  6 Taka:
Kawanai
that
n
cp
da.
fp

‘You don’t buy them.’

In line 4 of the above excerpt, Taka asks a yes-no question about the pattern of spending money, which asks whether or not the addressee is the type of person who purchases the snack items that are displayed next the cash register. In response to Taka’s question, in line 5, Toshi prefaces his utterance with iya with the Low-High pitch pattern, and utters kawanai kawanai sore wa nai ‘I don’t buy [ p. 140 ]them, I don’t buy them, I don’t do that.’ Judging from Toshi’s utterance that follows iya, the case of iya that prefaces line 5 can be considered to be the commonly recognized usage of iya, which can be translated to ‘no’ in English.

3.2 iya directly before statements of ‘yes’

The previous example has demonstrated a case of iya that is used in a commonly recognized way. However, the examined data included five cases of iya that deviate from the typical pattern of usage of iya. This section will qualitatively examine those five cases of iya, and analyze what the speaker expresses by using iya in each example. All of the deviant cases of iya in the data are uttered with the Low-High pitch pattern, which does not show any phonological/intonational differences from the pitch pattern of the cases of iya used in commonly recognized ways.

3.2.1 iya in response to a yes-no question

The following excerpt, (12), is from a scene where four conversationalists talk about Doobutsu no Mori, which was a newly released video game for Nintendo Wii at the time of the recording. The gender of all of the speakers in this excerpt is male. The short segment used for Example (10) in an earlier section of this paper was also from this excerpt.

(12)

[CABank: Sakura18]

  1 Toshi:
Wii
Wii
de
for
sa,
fp
Doobutsu
Doobutsu
no
no
Mori
Mori
ga
sb
atarashuku
newly
deta
released
n
n
da
cp
yo
fp
saikin.
recently

Doobutsu no Mori was released for Wii recently.’

  2 Hide:
[Doobutsu
Doobutsu
no
no
Mori
Mori
tte
qt
shiranai.]
know-neg

‘I don’t know what Doobutsu no Mori is.’

  3 Taka:
[Doobutsu
Doobutsu
no
no
Mori hhh]
Mori

‘Doobutsu no Mori.’

  4 Hiro: [hhhhhhhhh]
  5 Taka:
Osu
recommend
naa
fp
oi.
hey

‘Hey, you recommend it.’

  6 Taka:
Omoshiroi
interesting
no?
q
Doobutsu
Doobutsu
no
no
Mori
Mori
tte.
qt

‘Is it interesting? Doobutsu no Mori.’[ p. 141 ]

7 Toshi:
Iya,
iya
omoshiroi
interesting
yo.
fp

Iya, it’s interesting.’

  8 Toshi:
[Rokuyon
Nintendo 64
de
on
yatta.]
played

‘I played it on Nintendo 64.’

  9 Taka:
[Are
that
sugoi
a lot
sa,
fp
hora,]
ah
onnanoko
girls
toka
etc.
ga
sb
sa,
fp
sugoi
a lot
yatteru
playing
tte
qt
kiku
hear
jan.
fp

‘I hear that a lot of girls play it.’

  10 Toshi:
Aa,
oh
maa
right
ne.
fp

‘Oh, that’s right.’

In line 6 in (12), Taka asks a yes-no question about whether Doobutsu no Mori is interesting. Because of the propositional information included in Taka’s question, if the respondent thinks Doobutsu no Mori is interesting, it is typically expected that he or she utters a response token that signals ‘yes’ such as hai (formal-style ‘yes’) or un (casual-style ‘yes’). On the other hand, if the respondent thinks Doobutsu no Mori is not interesting, it is expected that the respondent utters a response token such as iie, iya, or uun to indicate ‘no’ to the question. However, in response to Toshi’s question, Taka prefaces his utterance with iya, and utters omoshiroi yo ‘it is interesting,’ which is interpreted as a response that signals ‘yes’ to the preceding question.

The first thing that we can observe from this seemingly mysterious occurrence of iya in line 7 is that iya does not necessarily impede the speaker from expressing ‘yes’ to a yes-no question. As indicated by Example (1) in the introduction section, if Toshi’s utterance in line 7 was iya by itself and no utterances had followed iya, Toshi’s response to Taka’s question would have been interpreted as ‘no,’ indicating that he thinks that Doobutsu no Mori is not interesting. However, when iya is followed by statements that signal ‘yes’ to a yes-no question such as omoshiroi yo ‘it is interesting,’ even when the utterance is prefaced with iya, the interpretation of the whole response is still ‘yes.’

In addition, in line 7 in (12), it was possible for Toshi to use a response token that expresses ‘yes’ such as un, and complete the utterance, forming an utterance such as un, omoshiroi yo instead of iya, omoshiroi yo. The occurrence of iya instead of un in line 7 may appear contradictory since Toshi’s response to Taka’s yes-no question is clearly ‘yes,’ but if we pay attention to the presumption on which Taka’s question is based, the reason for using iya instead of un can be explained.[ p.142 ]

Before we proceed onto the analysis of iya with the notion of presumption, what presumption refers to in the present study must be clarified. The present study adopts presumption as a working terminology to refer to the speaker’s presumed recognition of the situation on which the speaker’s utterance is based. The word presupposition is intentionally avoided here to avoid limiting the present study’s focus to the narrower sense of presupposition, which is a highly technical term in the studies of logic and semantics. On the definition of presupposition in conversational situations, Stalnaker (1973)Stalnaker, Robert 1973 “Presuppositions”. Journal of Philosophical Logic 2 (4): 447–457. CrossrefGoogle Scholar claims that “[a] person’s presuppositions are the propositions whose truth he takes for granted, often unconsciously, in a conversation, an inquiry, or a deliberation” (p. 448). Based on this type of definition of presupposition, when the speaker utters Is John coming to the meeting on Thursday?, the utterance is based on the presupposition that there is a meeting on Thursday; however, the speaker’s recognized uncertainty of John coming or not coming to the meeting is technically not included in the scope of the utterance’s presupposition. In addition, as Plumer (2016)Plumer, Gilbert 2016 “Presumptions, Assumptions, and Presuppositions of Ordinary Arguments.” Argumentation 31 (3): 469–484. CrossrefGoogle Scholar observes that “[o]ften in ordinary (hence, non-legal) contexts, the notions of an argument’s presumption, assumption, and presupposition do not appear to be distinguishable” (p. 470); similar but slightly different terminologies such as presumption, assumption, and presupposition overlap with each other and the boundaries between these terms are not always clearly identifiable. Therefore, to avoid creating technical complexity not related directly to the purpose of the present study, presumption is used as a cover term to refer to the speaker’s general recognition of the situation on which his/her utterances are based. Also, this notion of presumption appears to be analogous to what Kushida and Hayashi (2013) list as one of the four signals indexed by iya uttered in response to a wh-question, which is a resistance to “an assumption conveyed by the question regarding the state of affairs it addresses” (p. 234).

For the case of iya after a yes-no question by Toshi in (12), the presumption on which the question is based is Toshi’s speculation about Doobutsu no Mori not being interesting. In other words, if Toshi were completely certain that Doobutsu no Mori is interesting, he would not have asked the yes-no question that he asked in line 6. Therefore, the act of asking the question in line 6 also exhibits the presumption associated with the question, which is the reasonably high possibility of Doobutsu no Mori not being interesting. As we saw earlier in Examples (4), (5), and (6), the scope of iya does not always target the propositional content included in the preceding utterance, and it is also reasonable to interpret that the case of iya in (12) targets the presumption on which the question is based, rather than targeting the propositional content of the preceding utterance.

In addition, if we pay attention to the social action that is conveyed by the act of asking a question in line 6, the case of iya in line 7 can be interpreted as Toshi’s display of doubt. A study by Schegloff (1984)Schegloff, Emanuel A. 1984 “On Some Questions and Ambiguities in Conversation.” In Structures of Social Action, ed. by J. Maxwell Atkinson and John Heritage, 28–52. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar shows that utterances that [ p. 143 ]are syntactically structured as questions are not always recognized as questions by the addressee, and depending on the situation in which the utterance is made, the interpretation can be ambiguous for the addressee. For example, an utterance formed as a question such as why is it that we have to go there? can be treated as a mere question by the addressee; however, the same utterance can also be interpreted as a display of complaint. Similarly, the question in line 6 in (12) can be interpreted as a mere information-seeking question, but also as an expression of doubt about Doobutsu no Mori being interesting. Therefore, based on the interpretation that Taka’s utterance in line 6 is an expression of his doubt, the case of iya in line 7 by Toshi can be interpreted as a response token of denial that targets the doubt expressed by Taka, which is also based on the presumption that Doobutsu no Mori may not be interesting.

A remaining question is the pragmatic motivation behind the use of iya, when the answer to a yes-no question is ‘yes.’ The motivation for using iya instead of un can be explained if we pay attention to the level of assertion that can be made in response to a yes-no question. In line 7 in (12), Toshi utters, iya, omoshiroi yo, and iya in the utterance denies the presumption exhibited by asking the question, which is the possibility of Doobutsu no Mori not being interesting. In addition, omoshiroi yo that follows iya signals ‘yes’ to the question by Taka. Therefore, in line 7 in (12), Toshi is expressing two separate messages to assert that Doubusu no Mori is interesting. More precisely, the first message is the denial of the presumption associated with the act of asking the question, which is the possibility of Doobutsu no Mori not being interesting. The second message is the answer to Taka’s yes-no question, which also asserts that Doobutsu no Mori is interesting. If Toshi had uttered un, omoshiroi yo in line 7, he would have had only one chance to assert that Doobutsu no Mori is interesting, since the only message that can be expressed with un, omoshiroi yo is the answer to the yes-no question. On the other hand, with iya, omoshiroi yo, Toshi can deny the possibility of Doobutsu no Mori not being interesting with iya, and also express that Doobutsu not Mori is interesting by signaling ‘yes’ to the yes-no question. Therefore, by saying iya instead of un in line 7, Toshi can express a stronger sense of ‘yes,’ indicating that needless to ask, Doobutsu no Mori is interesting.

The author of the present study is not aware of response tokens in other languages that resemble iya in Japanese, but it should be mentioned that the pragmatic effect created by using iya prior to a statement of ‘yes’ in Japanese seems to contrast with Burridge and Florey’s (2002)Burridge, Kate, and Margaret Florey 2002 “‘Yeah-No He’s a Good Kid’: A Discourse Analysis of Yeah-No in Australian English.” Australian Journal of Linguistics 22 (2): 149–171. CrossrefGoogle Scholar observation on yeah-no in Australian English, which can be used as a hedging device in a discourse. Brown and Levinson (1978Brown, Penelope, and Stephen Levinson 1978 “Universals in Language Usage: Politeness Phenomena.” In Questions and Politeness: Strategies in Social Interaction, ed. by Esther Goody, 56–311. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar, 1987 1987Politeness. Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossrefGoogle Scholar) examine the hedging of the illocutionary force of a speech act as part of the politeness phenomena, and Fraser (2010)Fraser, Bruce 2010 “Pragmatic Competence: The Case of Hedging.” In New Approaches to Hedging, ed. by Gunther Kaltenböck, Wiltrud Mihatsch, and Stefan Schneider, 15–34. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited. CrossrefGoogle Scholar labels this type of hedging as “speech act hedging” (p. 18). The following excerpt is from Burridge and Florey (2002)Burridge, Kate, and Margaret Florey 2002 “‘Yeah-No He’s a Good Kid’: A Discourse Analysis of Yeah-No in Australian English.” Australian Journal of Linguistics 22 (2): 149–171. CrossrefGoogle Scholar, [ p. 144 ]and it includes a case of yeah-no that is used as a device for speech act hedging. In (13), Peter and his grandmother Dorothy are talking with an interviewer, Andrew L. Urban.

(13)
Dorothy: His children are sixth.
Andrew Urban: Yeah? Have you got any …?
Peter: I’ve got three boys.
Andrew Urban: Three [<XX>]
Dorothy: [We’ve got] to do this shopping Peter.
Peter: Yeah, no it’s alright nanna, we’ve got 5 minutes.
Andrew Urban: We won’t keep you long.
(Burridge and Florey 2002Burridge, Kate, and Margaret Florey 2002 “‘Yeah-No He’s a Good Kid’: A Discourse Analysis of Yeah-No in Australian English.” Australian Journal of Linguistics 22 (2): 149–171. CrossrefGoogle Scholar, 164)22.<XX> in the transcript refers to an indistinct segment of the recording.

For the case of yeah-no by Peter in the above excerpt, Burridge and Florey (2002)Burridge, Kate, and Margaret Florey 2002 “‘Yeah-No He’s a Good Kid’: A Discourse Analysis of Yeah-No in Australian English.” Australian Journal of Linguistics 22 (2): 149–171. CrossrefGoogle Scholar explain that “[h]e uses yeah-no to acknowledge his grandmother’s concern while also softening his disagreement” (p. 164). According to Burridge and Florey, speakers can use yeah-no as a hedging device to mitigate the effects of a potentially face-threatening utterance by making a positive evaluation with yeah first, then, following it with a negative evaluation. In contrast, in the case of Japanese iya followed by a statement of ‘yes,’ iya signals ‘no’ to the presumption on which the preceding utterance is based, and a statement of ‘yes’ follows it for the propositional information, resulting in creating a stronger sense of assertion. What is notable in the comparison here is the sequence organization of agreement/disagreement that appears in the utterance. In the case of Australian English yeah-no, the sequence of agreement/disagreement is agreement => disagreement, and it creates a pragmatic effect of speech act hedging. For Japanese iya followed by a statement of ‘yes,’ the sequence is disagreement => agreement, and the utterance’s assertiveness is strengthened. The present study does not explore further data in other languages to examine whether or not this is a universal phenomenon across multiple languages; however, the relationship between the sequential order of agreement/disagreement and its effect on the statement’s illocutionary force may be worth investigating further in future studies.

The present study will explore several more examples to demonstrate further that iya can strengthen the illocutionary force of statements of ‘yes.’ The following excerpt, (14), includes a case of iya that also targets the presumption on which a yes-no question is based. (14) is from a segment of a conversation in which four conversational participants talk about pets. The participants in this excerpt are all female between the ages of 19–22. Prior to the beginning of excerpt (14), Aya mentions that her dog, Kenken, is more than 10 years old, and [ p. 145 ]his age is considered very old for a dog. Aya lives apart from her family; however, Kenken stays with her family.

(14)

[CABank: Sakura09]

  1 Mari:
Oya
parents
ni
by
iwarechatta,
was told

‘My parents told me.’

  2  
Omaera
You
futari
two
kau
people
dake
keep
de
only
juubun
enough
dakara
because
tte.
qt

‘Keeping you two is enough.’

  3 Miho:
Aa.
oh

‘Oh.’

  4 Mari:
Iware
was
chatta.
told

‘I was told.’

  5 Miho:
Soo
that
da
cp
yo
fp
ne.
fp

‘That’s true.’

  6 Mari:
Kanekuimushi
money
me
pit
tte.
qt

‘They told me that I’m a money pit.’

  7 Miho:
Kane
money
ga
sb
nakunaru.
disappear

‘Money disappears.’

  8 Mari:
Gakusee
students
shooganee
can’t do anything
ja
cp
nee
fp
ka
q
yo.
fp

‘Students can’t do anything about it.’

  9   ((2.0 second-long silence))
  10 Mari:
Kenken
Kenken
tsugi
next
kaetta
go home
toki
time
ikiteru
alive
kana?
q

‘Will Kenken be still alive next time you go home?’

11 Aya:
Iya,
iya,
daijoobu
okay
da
cp
to
qt
omou
think
kedo
fp
toriaezu.
for a while

Iya, I think he will be okay for a while.’

  12 Mari:
Samusa
coldness
ni
in
wa
tp
tsuyoi
strong
n
n
da.
cp

‘He is strong in cold weather.’

  13 Aya:
Tsuyoi
strong
to
qt
omou
think
yo.
fp

‘I think he’s strong.’

In line 10 in the above excerpt, Mari asks if Kenken will still be alive the next time Aya goes home with the sentence-final particle kana. Matsugu (2005)Matsugu, Yuka 2005 “Japanese Epistemic Sentence-Final Particle kana: Its Function as a ‘Mitigation Marker’ in Discourse Data.” Pragmatics 15 (4): 423–436. CrossrefGoogle Scholar analyzes the sentence-final particle kana, and claims that even though kana is traditionally defined as a doubt marker, kana also serves as a question marker when the utterance is directed toward other speakers. In response to Mari’s yes-no question in line 10, Aya utters iya, daijoobu da to omou kedo toriaezuiya, I think he will be okay for a while.’ In line 11, Aya’s response to a yes-no question starts with iya; however, it is clear that daijoobu ‘okay’ included in the utterance shows that Aya’s answer to Miho’s yes-no question is ‘yes,’ which indicates that Aya believes that Kenken will still be alive the next time she goes home.

Similar to the case of iya in (12), the case of iya in (14) appears to be targeting the presumption on which the preceding yes-no question is based. Mari’s act of asking the question in line 10 demonstrates she presumes that there is a reasonably high possibility of Kenken’s death by the next time Aya goes home. In other words, if Mari had presumed little or no possibility of Kenken’s death, she would not have asked whether or not he is going to be alive in the form of a yes-no question. Therefore, by using iya instead of un, Aya expresses a stronger sense of ‘yes’ since iya denies the presumption on which Mari’s yes-no question is based, and the utterance that follows iya also expresses ‘yes’ to the yes-no question. If un was used in line 11, the sense of ‘yes’ expressed with the utterance would have been weaker since Aya cannot deny the presumption associated with Mari’s question with un.

The previous two examples were from the recordings of in-person conversations with four participants. The data from the telephone conversations examined for the present study also included two cases of iya that prefaces statements of ‘yes.’ Even though the following two examples are not examined in detail, they are included in this paper to confirm further that iya can be used to strengthen the illocutionary force of statements of ‘yes.’ (15), is a telephone conversation between Koji and Ken, both of whom are male college students. In (15), the two speakers are talking about the examination for becoming diplomats.

(15)

[CABank: CallFriend/JPN6221]

  1 Koji:
Gaikookan
diplomat
wa
tp
minna
all
hikki
writing
na
cp
n
n
desu
cp
yo.
fp

‘The diplomat exam is all in writing.’

  2 Ken:
Fuun,
oh
aa,
ah
maakushiito
scantron
ja
cp
nakute.
neg

‘Oh, ah, it’s not a scantron exam.’

  3 Koji:
Nani,
ah
kokusaihoo
international law
toka
etc.
deru
included
n
n
desu
cp
ka?
q

‘Ah, are things like international law included?’[ p. 147 ]

4 Ken:
Iya,
iya
kokusaihoo
international law
toka
etc.
mochiron
of course
anoo
ah
kenpoo
constitution
toka.
etc.

Iya, international law, etc., of course, constitution, etc.

  5 Koji:
Un
yes
un
yes
un
yes
nihonkoku
Japan
kenpoo.
constriction

‘Yes, yes yes, the Japanese Constitution.’

  6 Ken:
Nihonkoku
Japan
kenpoo
constitution
toka
etc.
kokusaihoo
international law
toka,
etc.
sorekara
and
nan
what
datta
cp
kke
fp
na,
fp
iroiro.
various

‘The Japanese Constitution, international law, and what else?, various things.’

Koji askes a yes-no question in line 3 in (15), and Ken prefaces his response to the question with iya in line 4. The yes-no question asked by Koji in line 3 is about whether or not international law is included in the examination for diplomats, and the presumption on which this question is based is the possibility of international law not included in the exam. As illustrated by Ken’s use of mochiron ‘of course’ in line 4 and the flow of the conversation in lines 5 and 6, Ken’s response to Koji’s yes-no question is clearly ‘yes,’ which indicates that international law is included in the exam. For this particular example, the case of iya by Ken in line 4 appears to be negating the presumption associated with Koji’s question, which is the possibility of international law not being included in the exam. In addition, the illocutionary force of Ken’s response in line 4 is strengthened by iya since it targets the preceding question’s presumption, and this intensification of ‘yes’ by Ken also aligns with mochiron ‘of course’ included as part of his utterance.

The next excerpt includes another case of iya before a statement of ‘yes’ found in the telephone conversation corpus. The two conversationalists are the same as the ones in the previous example. In (16), Ken and Koji talk about Ken’s hairstyle when he had a job interview.

(16)

[CABank: CallFriend/JPN6221]

  1 Ken:
Rikuruuto
recruit
fasshon
fashion

‘Recruit fashion.’

  2 Koji:
Donna
how
n
n
desu,
cp
atama?
hair

‘How was your hairstyle?’

  3 Ken:
Atama
hair
wa
cp
chanto
properly
koo
like this

‘My hair was properly, like this.’[ p. 148 ]

  4 Koji:
Shichisan
seven-three
toka?
etc.

‘Seven-three (side) parting style?’

  5 Ken:
Uun,
well
maa,
well
sore
that
ni
 
chikai
close
yoo
like
na.
 

‘Well, well, it was close to that.’

  6 Koji:
Sukoshi
a
shichisan
little
ni
seven-three
shita
did
n
n
desu
cp
ka?
q

‘Was it a little like the seven-three parting style?’

  7 Ken:
Ee hhh hhh hhh.
yes

‘Yes.’

  8 Koji:
hhh
 
honma ni?
really

‘Really?’

9 Ken:
Iya
iya
honma ni.
really

Iya, really.’

  10 Koji:
Ima
now
wa?
tp

‘How is it now?’

  11 Ken:
E?
huh

‘Huh?’

  12 Koji:
Masshuruum
mushroom
modotta
returned
n
n
desu
cp
ka?
q

‘Returned to the mushroom-style hair?’

  13 Ken:
Soo
yes
soo
yes
soo.
yes

‘Yes, yes, yes.’

In response to Koji’s yes-no question honma ni? ‘really?’ in line 8, Ken initially utters iya and repeats honma ni with the non-question declarative intonation in line 9, which signals ‘yes’ to Koji’s yes-no question. From Ken’s perspective, Koji’s yes-no question about the truth value of what Ken said can be interpreted as Koji’s expression of doubt, and Ken seems to be challenging Koji’s doubt by using iya, followed by honma ni to deliver ‘yes’ to Koji’s yes-no question. Consequently, the illocutionary force of Ken’s utterance in line 9 is strengthened because iya targets Koji’s doubt, and homma ni also delivers ‘yes’ the preceding yes-no question.[ p.149 ]

3.2.2 iya after a non-question utterance

The previous four examples have shown how iya can be used after a yes-no question to deny the presumption on which the question is based. In addition, the examined data for the present study included a case of iya that is not uttered after a yes-no question, but still used to preface an utterance that expresses ‘yes.’

The next excerpt is from a segment of a conversation where four female participants talk about the differences between cats and dogs. Shortly before the beginning of (17), the participants were discussing how pets’ instincts as wild animals influence their behavioral traits. Among the participants, Miho has owned a cat before; however, Mari has not.

(17)

[CABank: Sakura09]

  1 Miho:
Inu
dog
tte
qt
kazoku
family
mitai
like
na
cp
mon
n
na
cp
no?
q

‘Are dogs like your family members?’

  2 Mari:
E,
ah
neko
cat
datte
also
kazoku
family
ja
cp
nai
neg
no,
q
neko
cat
wa.
tp

‘Ah, aren’t cats also family members?’

  3 Miho:
Neko
cats
wa
tp
nee,
fp
ano
well
nee,
fp
jibun
themselves
no
lk
shinu
dying
sugata
body
o
o
misenai
show-neg
kara,
because
inaku
hide
nacchatte
away

‘Cats hide away when they die because they don’t want to be seen when they die.’

  4 Mari:
Yasee
wild
jan
fp
sonna
that
no.
n

‘That’s wild.’

  5 Mari:
Yasee
wild
no
lk
doobutsu
animals
minna
all
soo
that
da
cp
yo
fp
ne.
fp

‘Wild animals are all like that, right?’

  6 Miho: ((nodding toward Mari))
  7 Mari:
Mada
still
yasee
wild
no
lk
honnoo
instinct
aru
have
n
n
da,
cp
inu
dogs
yori.
more

‘They still have more wild instincts than dogs do.’

8 Miho:
Iya,
iya,
aru
have
aru.
have

Iya, they have, they have.’[ p. 150 ]

  9 Miho:
Ano
well
nee,
fp
neko
cat
o
o
kau
have
to,
if
iya
dislike
na
cp
hito
person
wa
tp
honto
really
iya
dislike
kamoshirenai.
probably

‘If you don’t like cats, probably you will really dislike having a cat.’

  10  
Nezumi
mice
o
o
ga tto
quickly
tsukamaete,
catch
ie
home
ni
in
hoochi
leave
shitari
etc.
toka,
and
suzume
sparrows
tsukamaetari
catch
  11  
toka
etc.
suru
do
kara.
because

‘Because they do things like quickly catching mice and bringing them home, and catching sparrows, etc.’

In line 7 in (17), Miho utters mada yasei no honnoo aru n da ‘they still have wild instincts,’ followed by a post-predicate addition inu yori ‘more than dogs do.’ Mari’s utterance in line 7 includes the so-called extended predicate n da. Noda (1997)Noda, Harumi 1997No (da) no Kinoo [No (da)’s functions]. Tokyo: Kuroshio Shuppan.Google Scholar argues that when an exclamatory statement is made with the n da form, it shows that the speaker has just found out that the reality is different from what he or she previously expected. It appears that Noda’s argument on the usage of the n da form applies to Mari’s utterance in line 11, and it indicates that Mari has just realized that cats have wild instincts. In addition, the case of jan in line 4 also shows that Mari has just realized that cats have wild instincts, since jan is similar to ja nai ka and can indicate that the speaker has just realized something new (Matsumaru 2001Matsumaru, Michio 2001 “Tookyoo hoogen no jan ni tsuite [About the Tokyo dialect jan ].” Handai Gengogaku Kenkyuu Nooto 3: 33–48.Google Scholar).

In response to Mari’s utterance in line 7, Miho utters iya, aru aruiya, they have, they have’ in line 8. Even though the utterance in line 8 is prefaced with iya, since aru aru in Miho’s utterance refers to the existence of wild instincts among cats, it is clearly indicated that Miho believes that cats have wild instincts. In other words, even though Miho does not disagree with the propositional information included in Mari’s utterance in line 7, the utterance is still prefaced with iya in line 8.

Similar to what we observed in the previous section for the cases of iya after yes-no questions, the occurrence of iya can be explained by examining the presumption associated with the utterance directly before the case of iya. For a statement of realization to be made, the state of mind prior to realization must be having no information, or believing information that is different from the newly received information. Therefore, Mari’s statement of realization about cats’ wild instincts in line 7 is based on her prior presumption that cats may or may not have wild instincts. Thus, the case of iya in line 8 can be considered to be targeting [ p. 151 ]Mari’s presumption, that is, the idea that cats may or may not have wild instincts, which was the necessary condition for Mari’s realization to occur.

For the communicative effect created by using iya instead of un in line 8 in (17), the effect appears to be similar to what we observed for the cases of iya after yes-no questions. Examples (12), (14), (15), and (16) in the present study have shown that the speaker can deliver a stronger message of ‘yes’ by using iya after a yes-no question when the answer to the yes-no question is ‘yes.’ Similarly, even when the preceding utterance is not a yes-no question, the speaker can express a stronger sense of ‘yes’ when the preceding utterance follows the binary system of yes-no. As discussed earlier, the case of iya in line 8 in (17) targets the possibility of cats not having wild instincts, and aru aru that follows iya states that cats have wild instincts. If Miho’s utterance was un, aru aru in line 8, even though it would be still possible for her to state that cats have wild instincts, her utterance would have been a weaker statement of ‘yes’ since she cannot deny the presumption that exists behind the preceding utterance with un.

4.Conclusion

The present study has examined naturally occurring conversations among L1 speakers of Japanese, and analyzed the cases of iya ‘no’ that are used to preface statements that express ‘yes.’ As the data analysis section has shown, those cases of iya appear to be used to target the presumption on which the preceding statement is based, not the propositional content included in the preceding utterance. For the case of iya that is uttered in response to a yes-no question, the speaker can utter iya to reject the presumption on which the question is formulated; however, he/she can still express ‘yes’ to the yes-no question based on the propositional content that is included in the statement that follows iya. For the pragmatic effect created by using iya instead of response tokens that indicate ‘yes’ such as un and hai, it was argued that the speaker can express a stronger sense of ‘yes’ when the response to a yes-no question is prefaced with iya, since it creates an effect of expressing needless to ask, in addition to signaling ‘yes’ with the propositional information that follows iya. The present study has also shown that even when the preceding utterance is not a yes-no question, the speaker can use iya to deny the presumption associated with the preceding utterance, and then agree with the propositional information in the preceding utterance in order to deliver a stronger message of ‘yes.’

As we have observed, the denial of presumption is a notion that is crucial for the analysis of the response token iya. The scope of the present study was limited to the cases of iya in response to a yes-no question, or a case that is similar [ p. 152 ]to it. However, it seems that iya used for the denial of the presumption of the prior utterance can also be found in other interactional situations, as exemplified in the studies on the cases of iya after wh-questions by Hayashi and Kushida (2013)Hayashi, Makoto, and Shuya Kushida 2013 “Responding with Resistance to Wh-Questions in Japanese Talk-in-Interaction.” Research on Language and Social Interaction 46 (3): 231–255. CrossrefGoogle Scholar and Kushida and Hayashi (2015)Kushida, Shuya, and Makoto Hayashi 2015 “WH shitsumon e no teekoo: kandooshi ‘iya’ no soogokooijoo no hataraki [Resistance to wh-question: Iya’s interactive roles].” In Kandooshi no Gengogaku [Linguistic Features of Interjections], ed. by Kenji Tomosada, 169–211. Tokyo: Hitsuji Shobo.Google Scholar. More unexplored properties of iya as a response token may be revealed by further examination of iya that targets the presumption of the prior utterance. In addition, as discussed in the comparison between Japanese iya before a statement of ‘yes’ and yeah-no in Australian English explored by Burridge and Florey (2002)Burridge, Kate, and Margaret Florey 2002 “‘Yeah-No He’s a Good Kid’: A Discourse Analysis of Yeah-No in Australian English.” Australian Journal of Linguistics 22 (2): 149–171. CrossrefGoogle Scholar, there may be a tendency for the relationship between the discourse sequence of agreement/disagreement and the illocutionary force of the utterance, and the tendency could be generalized across multiple languages. An examination of various response tokens that signal yes/no in other languages may reveal the existence of patterns that can be generalized across languages.

Notes

1.For more details of the High-Low pitch patterns in Japanese, see Tsujimura (2013)Tsujimura, Natsuko 2013An Introduction to Japanese Linguistics: Third Edition. West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell.Google Scholar, Hasegawa (2015)Hasegawa, Yoko 2015Japanese: A Linguistic Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossrefGoogle Scholar, etc.
2.<XX> in the transcript refers to an indistinct segment of the recording.

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Appendix.Transcription conventions and abbreviations

cp

various forms of copula verb be

fp

final particle

lk

nominal linking particle

nom

nominalizer

neg

negative morpheme

o

object marker

q

question marker

qt

quotative marker[ p. 154 ]

sb

subject marker

tp

topic marker

( )

unintelligible segment

(( ))

transcriber’s description of events

hhh

laughter

[

the point where overlapping talk begins

]

the point where overlapping talk ends

Address for correspondence

Hironori Nishi

Department of World Languages and Literatures

University of Memphis

230B Jones Hall

Memphis, TN 38152

United States

hnishi1@memphis.edu

Biographical notes

Hironori Nishi currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Japanese in the Department of World Languages and Literatures at the University of Memphis. He holds a M.A. degree in Japanese Linguistics from Portland State University, and a Ph.D. degree in Japanese Linguistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests include discourse analysis, pragmatics, sociolinguistics, second-language acquisition, and classroom pedagogy.