Latest Issue: Vol 5, No 2 (2020) 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and naturally-occurring data-types such as computer-mediated communication, media discourses, ad hoc conversations, and historical documents.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


ESCI from 2020

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

Frequency: Three issues per year from 2020
First issue: May 2016

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

Most Recent Articles


Requests by Chinese EFL learners and native speakers of English: The case of formulaic expressions

Language learners' requesting behaviour has been the focus of pragmatic research for some time, including that of Chinese EFL learners, who constitute a large proportion of English speakers globally. The present study replicates elements of Wang (2011), focusing on the use of formulaic expressions and exploring the differences between advanced Chinese EFL learners and native speakers of English with regard to the use of request formulae. The study also investigates whether significant exposure to the target language in country is connected to a more native-like use of request formulae. Wang's Discourse Completion Task was adopted to elicit request utterances from three groups of participants: advanced Chinese EFL learners studying in China (at home students) and in the UK (study abroad students), respectively, and native speakers of British English. The findings show that, although in some respects study abroad students in the UK employed request formulae in a more native-like manner compared to at home students in China, neither group showed close approximation to the request behaviour of the native speaker group. The findings are discussed in the context of current debates, including interlanguage variations, interactional competence, and native speaker norms and intelligibility.

Posted: 2020-05-04More...

Motives of attentiveness and their interactional manifestations

The present study approaches attentiveness (demonstrated by a pre-emptive response in the form of an offer) in a context wherein interpersonal relations have attracted increasing attention in recent (im)politeness research. It aims to delve into what motivates the demonstration of attentiveness and how it impacts the unfolding of interaction. Insights from multiple disciplines such as social psychology, anthropology, and cultural semantics are drawn in the course of the present investigation. It is proposed that attentiveness is motivated by empathy and/or reciprocity, which can partly explain how interaction occurs and unfolds. It is also shown that attentiveness motivated by empathy and that by reciprocity are interrelated.

Posted: 2020-03-28More...

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...

Committee chair as a jointly constructed identity at Chinese PhD dissertation defences

This study aims to investigate how the identity of committee chair is constructed in academic interaction based on data from seven Chinese PhD dissertation defences. The analysis of the data shows that, while the identity of committee chair is mainly constructed by the chairs themselves, it is also constituted by the organisers of the events, PhD candidates, and other committee members in the dissertation defence interaction. Thus, the construction of the committee chair identity is the result of the joint work done by various parties at different moments of the academic event, and the chair identity is an interactional achievement. The complexity of the identity construction reflects the participants’ fulfilment of their own rights and obligations in the academic community of practice and the achievement of specific communicative goals in a given context. It is hoped that this study can shed some light on the understanding of identity construction at PhD dissertation defences in the Chinese context and the investigation into identity construction from an interactional perspective.
Posted: 2020-01-31More...

Identity rhetoric in Chinese radio-mediated medical consultation

While previous studies highlight the dynamic feature of identity construction, little attention has been paid to the identity work within the overall structure of a conversation and to the interrelations between different aspects of identity constructed. Drawing on a sizable recording of radio-mediated medical consultations (RMMC), this study aims to explore the various aspects of medical consultants' identities and the dynamic shift among the different aspects. It is found that the consultants construct three prominent aspects of identity, namely, a consultant with medical expertise, a consultant with peer friendships, and a consultant as a sales representative, each manifesting some variability in terms of pragma-linguistic realisations and occurrences in different stages of the overall structure of RMMCs. By intermingling the three aspects and using each at appropriate times, the consultants skilfully direct the conversation to what they want. Thus, they demonstrate what might be termed as identity rhetoric in constructing, performing, and deploying their identities to achieve some communicative needs.
Posted: 2020-01-23More...

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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