Modality and evidentiality in Japanese and American English taster lunches

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This study investigates how Japanese and American English speakers use modal/ evidential forms and body movments to identify and assess an unfamiliar drink at a taster lunch. Results show that the Japanese used more sensory evidential forms, truth approximation forms, and final particles to request agreement, while Americans used more forms to express their personal belief/ opinion directly. A comparison of the conversational development in which belief/ opinion forms were used showed that while Americans used I think in successive utterances, Japanese speakers used to omou ‘(I) think’ after a differing opinion(s) had been expressed to finalize their opinion and summarize the discussion. Results contribute to research on modality/ evidentiality in conversational interaction, cross-cultural understanding, and language and food.


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