Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Insensitivity or Xenophobic Relics from a Past Society Closed to the Outside World? Other Countries, Other Customs: Different Forms of Honorific Addresses towards Foreign Teaching Staff Applied by Japanese Fellow-teachers and Students
Paper URL:
Author: Guido Josef Oebel
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Saga National University
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: Japanese
Subject LANGUAGE Family: Japanese Family
Abstract: Presumably, it is common knowledge that the Japanese language features a whole lot of honorifics, usually appended to people's names to denote their status in relation to the person who is referring to them. Similar, however, not tantamount to honorifics preceding proper names that are used in most Western languages (e.g. English: Miss, Ms., Mrs., Mr.; French: Mademoiselle, Madame, Monsieur; German: Frau, Herr), in Japanese gender-neutral honorific suffixes such as –san- (the most common address), sama (implying a servant-master or nowadays a customer/guest-servant relationship), or –dono (expressing the utmost degree of respect and politeness) are compelling forms of addresses. Furthermore, Japanese quite often refer to others by substituting their surnames by a title, such as sensei (teacher) or sempai (predecessor), likewise they extremely often replace a name in social situations ranging from elementary school through working life. Daily life, the workplace, and mass media provide many other illustrations of people calling someone kachō, buchō, torishimari, semmu, shachō, tōdori, kyōdō, gakubuchō (titles of rank within companies and educational institutions), senshu, tōshu, kantoku, sekitori (titles from sports) and a host of other words to use in place of a name. The afore-mentioned suffixes are used when addressing others, and failure to use the appropriate one is called yobisute, literally corresponding to 'throwing away the name' which is considered exceedingly rude among Japanese. Does this, however, exclusively apply to Japanese among themselves? Why are foreign teachers, even university professors, obviously exempted from this traditional Japanese custom? This paper aims to investigate possible reasons why Japanese students as well as fellow-teachers – even though at least occasionally -- fail to apply this well-established addressing code towards foreign teaching staff.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: In Progress
Publication Info: electronic journal for contemporary japanese studies (ejcjs)
Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page