A corpus-assisted approach to apology-like expressions in Japanese computer-mediated discourse

Diegoli, Eugenia (2023) A corpus-assisted approach to apology-like expressions in Japanese computer-mediated discourse, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Traduzione, interpretazione e interculturalità, 35 Ciclo.
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This thesis provides a corpus-assisted pragmatic investigation of three Japanese expressions commonly signalled as apologetic, namely gomen, su(m)imasen and mōshiwake arimasen, which can be roughly translated in English with ‘(I’m) sorry’. The analysis is based on a web corpus of 306,670 tokens collected from the Q&A website Yahoo! Chiebukuro, which is examined combining quantitative (statistical) and qualitative (traditional close reading) methods. By adopting a form-to-function approach, the aim of the study is to shed light on three main topics of interest: the pragmatic functions of apology-like expressions, the discursive strategies they co-occur with, and the behaviours that warrant them. The overall findings reveal that apology-like expressions are multifunctional devices whose meanings extend well beyond ‘apology’ alone. These meanings are affected by a number of discursive strategies that can either increase or decrease the perceived (im)politeness level of the speech act to serve interactants’ face needs and communicative goals. The study also identifies a variety of behaviours that people frame as violations, not necessarily because they are actually face-threatening to the receiver, but because doing so is functional to the projection of the apologiser as a moral persona. An additional finding that emerged from the analysis is the pervasiveness of reflexive usages of apology-like expressions, which are often employed metadiscursively to convey, negotiate and challenge opinions on how language should be used. To conclude, the study provides a unique insight into the use of three expressions whose pragmatic meanings are more varied than anticipated. The findings reflect the use of (im)politeness in an online and non-Western context and, hopefully, represent a step towards a more inclusive notion of ‘apologies’ and related speech acts.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Diegoli, Eugenia
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Japanese, apologies, computer-mediated discourse, CADS
Data di discussione
19 Giugno 2023

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