Latest Issue: Vol 4, No 2 (2019) RSS2 logo

East Asian Pragmatics


Xinren Chen
Nanjing University, China

Advisory Editors

Haruko Cook University of Hawai'i at Manoa, United States

Daniel Kadar Dalian University of Foreign Studies, China / Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary

Jef Verschueren University of Antwerp, Belgium

Review Editors

Yasuko Obana, Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan

Wei Ren, Beihang University, China

Send books for review to:

Yasuko Obana

School of Science & Technology
Kwansei Gakuin University Gakuen 2-1
Sanda City
Hyogo Prefecture
669-1337 Japan

Wei Ren

School of Foreign Languages, Beihang University, 37 Xueyuan Road, Beijing, China, 100083

Telephone: +86 (0) 10 82316503

The peer-reviewed journal East Asian Pragmatics (EAP) focuses on language use and interpersonal interaction within and across East Asian cultures, including national cultures such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean, as well as ethnic minority, regional and other localised cultures, communities of practice, relational networks and other groupings including diasporic communities. The journal aims to broaden understandings of language use within the East Asian region, and also to contribute to pragmatics in a broader sense by using East Asian data.

The journal welcomes contributions on a broad range of pragmatics-related topics such as speech-acts, deixis, presupposition, reference, forms of address, face, (im)politeness, the construction of identity in interaction, conventionalised and ritual forms of language use, humour, conflict, indirectness, just to name a few, within a broad range of settings and naturally-occurring data-types such as computer-mediated communication, media discourses, ad hoc conversations, and historical documents. The examination of these topics and data types is not only relevant to the pragmatics community, but also to academic readers from other disciplines within linguistics and humanities in general, and ‘lay’ readers and students who have intercultural or other interests in East Asia. Accordingly, the journal not only pursues research on East Asian language use per se, but it also focuses on cross-cultural and intercultural issues, which is a pivotal area considering the importance of the East Asia region within the global arena.

There are various existing journals which publish articles on East Asian pragmatics. There is, however, no academic journal which specialises in this area, and which can serve as a high-quality peer-reviewed publication outlet and discussion forum, Also, even when published in English, cutting-edge research undertaken by East Asian scholars often remains inaccessible for Western readers -- and vice versa for Western research-- simply because there is not any publication project that serves as a meeting point for scholars who come from these different academic traditions. Therefore, East Asian Pragmatics fills an important gap by forming a bridge between pragmaticians from East Asian and Western countries. Consequently, the journal encourages both culture-insider and culture-outsider discussions on East Asian pragmatics phenomena.

The journal operates in partnership with the China Pragmatics Association and the The Pragmatics Society of Japan.

East Asian Pragmatics promotes the following objectives:


  • To publish high-quality research on naturally-occurring data in East Asian languages and cultures; ‘naturally-occurring’ has to be emphasised: whilst the journal pursues interest in a broad variety of data types and sources, it aims to break from the use of elicited data and study pragmatic phenomena either in longer chunks of interaction or via corpus research.
  • To consolidate different academic traditions; whilst all articles are subject to peer-review and have to satisfy all requirements and standards of academic writing in English, it is the journal’s goal to provide a platform for the voices of different academic traditions.
  • To communicate with a multidisciplinary readership through a 'reader-friendly' style (for more information see the Guidelines for Contributors PDF which can be found on the For Authors page, above).
The team of Editors and the Editorial Board consist of international experts whose research profile and background represent the different areas and traditions within East Asian pragmatics.

Abstracting & Indexing 

The journal is covered by


Index Copernicus

MLA International Bibliography

SCOPUS (from 2018)


Please submit through the For Authors Page above. The optimal length for a standard article is 10,000 words; book reviews, 2,000 words. Research papers are subject to blind peer-review by at least 2 international experts, and book reviews are also sent out for an external reader. We also consider Special Issue proposals and submissions of alternative format. For these please contact the Editors.

Publication and Frequency

Published twice yearly (May and November).
First issue: May 2016

ISSN 2055-7752 (print)
ISSN 2055-7760 (online)

Most Recent Articles


An analysis of Mandarin Chinese final particle ba in dispreferred responses

In Mandarin Chinese conversation, the final particle ba is considered to performvariousfunctions. Using conversation analysis, this article examines the use of thefinal particle ba in dispreferred responses. It is argued that the particle ba is usedto mitigate negative valence with delays, alternative choices, accounts, and pro-formaagreement as well as other linguistic features in disagreements and decliningsuggestions or invitations. Also, the results reveal a close relationship between theparticle ba functioning as a mitigator or displaying a speaker's uncertainty in socialactions as well as sequential positions.

Posted: 2020-02-06More...

Recipient questions as a strategy to launch second stories

This article reports a study of launching second stories in Chinese conversation. It particularly examines how recipients ask questions about something related to but not explicitly mentioned in the first story. We show that such questions are strategically placed in that they prefigure upcoming stories. The design of the questions may also cast a new light on the first story so that the second story, when told, can be recognised as subsequent to the first in particular ways. We discuss the interactional nature of such questions in relation to Schegloff’s (2007) idea that ‘preness’ is a more general property in action sequences.

Posted: 2019-10-14More...

Other-repetitions in Mandarin Chinese: Functions and responses

It is generally acknowledged that other-repetitions have various functions in daily conversation. However, no research has yet been done to explore the relationship between their functions and responses. This study sets out to bridge this gap by investigating the functions of other-repetitions in Mandarin Chinese conversations as well as the relationships between the functions and the responses. Adopting the method of conversation analysis, the study shows that other-repetitions may be accomplished by no response, minimal response, and expanded response, which are highly related with the functions that other-repetitions fulfil. Specifically, (i) for other-repetitions serving as reactive tokens to show listenership, alignment, and registering of receipt, no response is needed; (ii) for other-repetitions indicating recipients’ understanding of the previous utterance, a further confirmation or minimal response is generally needed; and (iii) for other-repetitions with a rising intonation or particular stress of certain words indicating recipients’ failure in understanding what is uttered, they will be accomplished by expanded responses.

Posted: 2019-04-18More...

Pragmatic development, the L2 motivational self-system, and other affective factors in a study-abroad context: The case of Japanese learners of English

This study investigates (1) whether the pragmatic competence of Japanese learners of English improves when studying abroad and (2) the relationship between the learners' pragmatic development and their motivational factors. In order to investigate the pragmatic comprehension of conventional/non-conventional implicatures, a Pragmatic Comprehension Test (PCT) was given to approximately 150 Japanese learners of English before and after a sixteen-week study-abroad programme. A questionnaire exploring motivational factors, such as intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, L2 ideal/ought-to selves, Can-Do attitude, and willingness to communicate was also circulated amongst the participants before the programme. Factor analysis was performed to determine which factors were related to learners' motivation, and six factors were selected. The results indicated that the participants developed comprehension of conventional implicature but not non-conventional implicature. A cluster analysis was conducted on the participants' PCT scores, and the participants were divided into three groups. The highest scoring group showed a statistically significant result on one factor - confidence.
Posted: 2019-04-10More...

The use of utterance particles as assessment resources in Cantonese conversation

It has been reported in the literature that each language has very particular resourcesthat show how participants mark their epistemic positions (Hayano, 2011;Iwasaki & Yap, 2015; Kärkkäinen, 2003, 2007; Thompson, 2002). Our main objectivein this article is to discuss and explicate the use of these resources in a conversationcarried out by young adults in Cantonese. We discuss how conversationalistsmark and manage their epistemic positions through assessment devices carried outby certain utterance particles (ā ma, ge, and gám) and other combining resources(such as use of first person plural pronouns, modal adverbs, and tag questions). Todo so, we focus on the competition of rights to make assessments, turn design, andthe sequential positioning of each participant during the interaction. Our resultsshow that participants always search for ratification of their assessments and thatthe use of the three particles analysed herein play a fundamental role in this process.This work seeks to contribute to other studies that have analysed specific resourcesthat participants use when claiming or defeating rights during the evaluation processof a matter at hand in languages other than English.

Posted: 2019-03-01More...

Most Viewed Articles


The bases of (im)politeness evaluations: Culture, the moral order and the East–West debate

Evaluation is an important aspect of (im)politeness, and this article explores it from an interdisciplinary perspective. It starts by considering the East–West debate in politeness theory and argues that both emic and etic approaches to research can contribute usefully to the deliberations. It then maintains that, if we are to understand the impact of culture on people’s (im)politeness evaluations, we need to unpack the concept more thoroughly. It proposes that useful insights can be obtained from Haidt’s (e.g. Haidt & Kesebir, 2010) work on moral foundations and Schwartz’s (e.g. Schwartz et al., 2012) work on basic values. The article ends by revisiting the East–West debate, discussing the potential impact of other factors such as beliefs and ideologies, and noting the ongoing uncertainties over levels and links between the various concepts explored. It urges pragmaticists and psychologists to engage more fully with each other to help address these challenges.
Posted: 2015-11-16More...

The role of English as a scientific metalanguage for research in pragmatics: Reflections on the metapragmatics of “politeness” in Japanese

Much of the theorisation undertaken in pragmatics has afforded English a privileged place, not only as the object of analysis but also as the means through which such theoretical discussions have been accomplished. Yet as a number of researchers have pointed out, the language in which the description, analysis and theorisation of pragmatic phenomena is undertaken can have an influence on how the research object(s) in question are understood. In this paper, the role of English as our scientific metalanguage in research on “politeness” in Japanese is considered. It is argued that in order to start managing such challenges for research in pragmatics we need to go beyond the study of abstract or decontextualised meanings of words and move towards the analysis of emic concepts and emic practices. It is concluded that rather than abandoning notions such as “politeness” in favour of seemingly less culturally-imbued terms, what is needed instead is greater awareness of what the use of English as a scientific metalanguage both affords for researchers working in pragmatics, along with the challenges it can create for such work.
Posted: 2015-11-11More...

Pragmatics: An Advanced Resource Book for Students Dawn Archer, Karin Aijmer, and Anne Wichmann (2012)

Posted: 2017-04-10More...

Variability and multiplicity in the meanings of stereotypical gendered speech in Japanese

Recent research on the use of gendered speech in Japanese has demonstrated extensive within-gender diversity, suggesting that the relationship between linguistic forms and gender is variable, not fixed. While this diversity in use suggests a diversity in interpretation, the latter has not been adequately examined in its own right and deserves closer attention, given that it has important implications for the relationship between linguistic forms and social meanings. To address this gap, this study analyses both native speakers’ metapragmatic comments on the use of gendered linguistic forms and the interpretation of such forms used in situated conversations. It considers how and why forms normatively interpreted as feminine or masculine may be (re)interpreted differently by different persons or in different social contexts. Drawing on the notion of indirect and variable indexicality, I consider how such diverse and multiple interpretations can be accounted for in a theoretically coherent manner.
Posted: 2015-11-16More...

‘Your care and concern are my burden!’: Accounting for the emic concepts of ‘attentiveness’ and ‘empathy’ in interpersonal relationships among Taiwanese females

While the enactment of gendered identities has been a key focus in the field of sociolinguistics and im/politeness (e.g. Holmes, 1995; Lakoff, 1975; Mills, 2003), research specifically investigating females’ emic understanding in relation to im/politeness has not been paid much attention. Building on prior work on ‘attentiveness’ (Fukushima, 2004, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015; Fukushima & Haugh, 2014), this article aims to further examine the emic understandings and evaluations of ‘attentiveness’ and ‘empathy’ in relation to ‘im/politeness’ by female speakers of Mandarin Chinese. It is suggested that, although the concepts of attentiveness (zhoudao) and empathy (titie) are intrinsically polite, these two concepts are found to be discursively disputable through the emergence of the three folk notions, meddlesomeness (jipo), familiarity, and reciprocity in the course of metapragmatic interviews. These notions give rise to cultural nuances in the evaluations of im/politeness which are thus grounded in a particular language or culture.
Posted: 2017-04-04More...


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