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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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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: http://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/
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
Venue: http://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/
Publication Info: electronic journal for contemporary japanese studies (ejcjs)
URL: http://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/


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