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Open AccessArticle

Polite Language Forms as Markers of an Emerging New Language Order in Nikkei-Brazilian Japanese

Former Professor of Meikai Graduate School of Linguistics & Faculty of Language and Cultures, Meikai University, 1 Akemi, Urayasu-city, Chiba 279-8550, Japan
Languages 2019, 4(3), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages4030049
Received: 29 April 2019 / Revised: 7 June 2019 / Accepted: 19 June 2019 / Published: 27 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Perspectives in Geolinguistics and Dialectology)
This paper presents the results from a linguistically-oriented discourse-completion questionnaire administered in Nikkei-Brazilian (Japanese Brazilian) communities, examining in particular: (1) the use of polite language forms, (2) terms used to address one’s spouse, as well as (3) the social characteristics and cultural backgrounds of the informants (e.g., age, sex, generation, nationality, place of birth, place of residence, whether they have lived in the Colonia (i.e., rural communities originally established as exclusively Japanese settlements), where their parents come from, education, and their first language). In this paper, I argue that the use of polite language forms in Nikkei-Brazilian Japanese reflects the different social histories that the two groups identified in this study have been through. The first group consists of those who have experience of Colonia society, whose characteristic use of polite language forms includes: (a) traditional Japanese spousal address terms, such as otoo-san or otoo-chan (father) when the wife addresses her spouse, and okaa-san or okaa-chan (mother) when the husband addresses his spouse; (b) the Western Japanese dialectal polite suffixes -reru/-rareru; and (c) exalting and humbling polite language forms which indicate the relative social positions of the addressees. The second group consists of those who reside in urban areas without experience of life in the Colonia, whose characteristic use of polite language forms includes: (a) Brazilian Portuguese spousal address terms; (b) the use of polite language forms which show the speaker’s friendliness and distance-reducing; and (c) a greater use of standard polite language forms, namely -desu, -masu. View Full-Text
Keywords: Nikkei-Brazilian; Colonia; urbanization; politeness; polite language forms; address terms; influence of the western Japanese dialect Nikkei-Brazilian; Colonia; urbanization; politeness; polite language forms; address terms; influence of the western Japanese dialect
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Yamashita, A. Polite Language Forms as Markers of an Emerging New Language Order in Nikkei-Brazilian Japanese. Languages 2019, 4, 49.

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