Volume 40, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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Japanese speakers are often characterised as ‘indecisive’. The indecision is indicated by epistemic markers being frequently added to express the doubt. The sentence-final particle shows an indecisive attitude and is usually translated into English as or . There are other similar Japanese expressions, for example, and . Both expressions represent uncertainty and are generally interpreted as or . Although , and are often treated as ‘synonyms’, they are not necessarily interchangeable. The aim of this study is to define these Japanese epistemic markers using the reductive paraphrase methodology of the Natural Semantic Metalanguage approach. New definitions are presented to clarify semantic differences and the invariant concept embedded in each expression. This analysis elucidates Japanese speakers’ epistemic stance when they are in doubt.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): (n) janai ka; darou ka; doubt; kana; NSM approach; semantic primes
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