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Academic Paper

Title: Speaker's Sex or Discourse Activities? A micro-discourse-based account of usage of nonparticle questions in Japanese
Author: Misao Okada
Institution: Hokusei Gakuen University
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: Japanese
Abstract: A micro-discourse-based approach is employed to examine the usage of nonparticle questions (e.g., ii? '{Is that} okay?') in Japanese university orchestra meetings. Women appear to ask such questions more often than men do there. It is shown that a detailed discourse analysis, including participants' talk, nonvocal behaviors, and the use of documents, can uncover how superficially sex-linked usage arises from differences in speakers' activities at the moment. By means of both sequential and quantitative analyses of 140 nonparticle questions, it is demonstrated that their use with different frequencies by women and men is not a direct consequence of the sex of the speaker per se. Rather, the speakers' engagement in activities specific to particular discourses (e.g., note-taking) affects their opportunities to ask nonparticle questions.


This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 35, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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