Volume 8, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
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Frames are not only universal cognitive categories to explain the narrator's consciousness, they are also a socioculturally determined concept. Using verse/stanza analysis, which is widely accepted as an effective means of analyzing narrative structure, this study examines how narrative discourse markers and linguistic strategies contribute to the culturally specific framing of Japanese oral personal narratives. Japanese adult narrators were found to employ particular linguistic markers: (1) the formal verb-ending patterns that are often pointed out as politeness markers indicating the insider-outsider distinction, and (2) psychological complements that are generally assumed to express a greater degree of hesitation and softness. It was found, however, that in narrative contexts, these two markers are more likely to appear at the end of a stanza than in any other position. In other words, in contrast to the general belief that these markers serve as devices to show politeness, when investigated from the viewpoint of narrative discourse, they have turned out to possess multiple functions, such as a psychologically effective means for cultural and contextual framing. These findings also call for an awareness on the part of Japanese language instructors to emphasize such multiple functions in the class-room, so that they may help prevent learners from making subtle but potentially critical mistakes.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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