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Subjective construal as a 'fashion of speaking' in Japanese

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Abstract

The chapter addresses the question of subjectivity in language, in particular, that aspect of subjectivity which is discussed under the rubric of ‘subjective construal’ in Cognitive Linguistics. It is argued that faced with a situation to be linguistically encoded, the speaker of any language can operate either with subjective or objective construal but that there is a marked difference among the speakers of different languages in the extent to which they indulge in subjective rather than objective construal. This is illustrated by referring to Japanese, whose speakers tend to prefer subjective construal (which results in subject-object merger), as contrasted with the speakers of English and probably of western languages in general, who apparently prefer objective construal (which results in subject-object contrast).

References

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