Conceptualizing the Japanese and American Occupational Meeting, An Examination of the Pragmatic Usage of English and Japanese Discourse Markers "OH" and "ATT"

Kaoru Amino et al., Kaoru Amino et al.,, TJPRC
2020 International Journal of Communication and Media Studies  
The discourse marker "oh," which prototypically shows strong emotional state as surprise, fear and or pain (Schiffrin, 1987) , has additional functions such as "repair (the process by which a speaker recognizes a speech error and correct it)", or to request clarification. However, these identified functions can change depending on context of pragmatic function as morphological unit related by human interaction in discourse. On the other hand, studies on genre analysis is based on the idea that
more » ... oth concepts of communicative event and communicative purpose actualize the "field (the institutional focus)" or "speech event" into "genre" (Swales, 1990). Here, I would like to argue how a difference in "genre" can vary depending on language or country, by examining the functions of English discourse marker "oh" and its correspondent marker in Japanese language. The intention is to clarify the difference in "genre" of occupational meeting between Japan and the US. Thus, this study aims to clarify how the concept of "occupational meeting" and its purpose varies in ordinary conversation in the US and Japan, and how the role, obligation, and interaction is affected by the concept of "meeting" as a communication event, in accordance with "genre" as linguistic feature. As the linguistic feature to be examined, the Japanese discourse marker "att," an interjection usually uttered as the marker of "surprise" or "notification," is compared to the English "oh" as its counterpart. Based on utterance of 500 turns from Japanese and American corpus, the markers "oh" and "att" are extracted, respectively, then divided into next six categories based on Schiffrin (1987): 1) show strong emotional state as surprise, fear and pain; 2) repair; 3) request for clarification; 4) reaction to response; 5) sympathetic response to received information; and 6) collocation with answer. This shows that the frequency of those markers shows the parallel that means though the American "oh" tend to be used more in meeting than ordinary conversation, however the Japanese counterparts "att" used more in the ordinary conversation. In addition, it is clarified that English "oh" has a preference for the information management functions such as repair and clarification, especially in occupational meetings, though Japanese "att," which functions to show emotional state, and is mostly a reaction to response, just marks the flow of discourse. This paper attribute these results to: 1) the difference of possible speech norm in American and Japanese meeting; 2) the perception about politeness and hierarchy; and 3) preference for the pragmatic level of each markers.
doi:10.24247/ijcmsfeb20201 fatcat:ge6735j4y5cizoekslwjhd3zii