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Japanese interactional particles yo, ne and yone : their functions and acquisition by Japanese language learners

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Title: Japanese interactional particles yo, ne and yone : their functions and acquisition by Japanese language learners
Author: Goto, Yasuko
Degree Master of Arts - MA
Program Asian Studies
Copyright Date: 1998
Abstract: The Japanese language possesses a class of particles called "interactional particles" which appear in and facilitate interactions among people. This thesis analyzes the functions and Japanese language learners' acquisition of the interactional particles yo, ne and yone, which frequently occur in Japanese conversations. Employing speech data obtained from spontaneous conversations and written data from questionnaires and fill-in-the blank tests, the present study analyzed yo, ne and yone as used by Native Japanese Speakers (NJSs) and Japanese Language Learners (JLLs). It is generally understood that yo marks new information and ne elicits and demonstrates agreement. Based on the analyses of yo, ne and yone in previous works, I propose that the fundamental function of yo is "pointing to the speaker's private world" and that that of ne is "pointing to the common ground of the speaker and addressee." Yone, the combination of yo and ne, also points to the interlocutors' common ground. Due to the existence of yo, yone further reveals the speaker's personality: uncertainty about information and empathy toward the addressee. The NJS data revealed two notable practices which contrast with general understanding concerning the use of these particles. First, the NJSs presented new information in conjunction with ne, often accompanied by the nominalization form n(o) (da/desu). Secondly, they often requested agreement by employing yone. I claim that the NJSs' inclination for using ne and yone, the particles of "common ground," exemplifies a politeness strategy and Japanese communicative styles (e.g., expressions of enryo 'reservedness', omoiyari 'empathy' and wakimae 'discernment'), both of which are oriented to the unification of understandings between the speaker and addressee. The JLLs underused yone and overused ne. The JLLs' use of yone was approximately 10% lower than that of the NJSs. In contrast, the JLLs' use of ne was 20% higher than that of the NJSs. Furthermore, the JLLs misused yone and ne due to inadequate instruction on their use both in textbooks and classrooms. In particular, the JLLs showed difficulty when presenting new information by properly combining ne and yone with the nominalization form. This indicates the importance of the ability to handle the nominalization form along with yo, ne and yone. The present study revealed the JLLs' inadequate acquisition of the use of yo, ne and yone, which conform to politeness strategies and Japanese communicative styles. In conclusion, I suggest that Japanese textbooks and classrooms should pay more attention to the effects of these particles on human relationships. I also propose the introduction of yone, which is not often dealt with, into Japanese language teaching because of its significant contribution to Japanese interaction and discourse: an essential device for demonstrating agreement and exemplifying Japanese politeness and communicative styles.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/8088
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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