Latest Issue: Vol 3, No 2 (2018) RSS2 logo

East Asian Pragmatics


Xinren Chen
Nanjing University, China

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

Advisory Editors

Haruko Cook
University of Hawai'i at Manoa

Jef Verschueren
University of Antwerp, Belgium

Reviews Editor

Yasuko Obana
Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan

Send books for review to:
Yasuko Obana
School of Science & Technology
Kwansei Gakuin University Gakuen 2-1
Sanda City
Hyogo Prefecture
669-1337 Japan

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and naturally-occurring data-types such as computer-mediated communication, media discourses, ad hoc conversations, and historical documents.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


The acceptability of American politeness from a native and non-native comparative perspective

This article examines the American politeness phenomena from a comparative perspective between American native speakers and intermediate- or high-level second language learners in mainland China. Both groups are invited to inspect the same ten conversations randomly elicited from the Oral Corpus of California University at San Barbara and evaluate the politeness acceptability in terms of a questionnaire. In that questionnaire, Likert scaling as a bipolar scaling method, also called summative scales, measures either positive or negative responses to a conversation in judging whether it is polite or not. With the assistance of statistical software SPSS 21, it continues to discuss the discrepant understanding of the groups towards the same politeness phenomena. It is found that all the Chinese subjects, though already intermediate- or high-level English learners for at least ten years, are somewhat weak in evaluating American politeness. There is an apparent blocking 'plateau' in their accurately interpreting politeness in naturally occurring American English conversations. The article then conducts a closed follow-up structured review to discuss why Chinese interviewees exhibit strikingly low scores in the questionnaire comparatively so as to complement the quantitative results of politeness judgment with an in-depth qualitative exploration. The main focus was in revealing the panoramic status of second-language learners' politeness acceptability, their underlying explanatory motivations, as well as possible implications for pragmatic teaching.
Posted: 2018-09-11More...

A cross-cultural analysis of celebrity practice in microblogging

This study attempts to explore how celebrities manage rapport with followers through an array of speech acts in microblogging - the essential building blocks of virtual identity on social media. Six months of postings of eight of the most-followed Twitter and Weibo celebrities from USA and China were retrieved and analysed. A taxonomy of nine speech acts for rapport management was identified to give a categorised descriptive snapshot of celebrities' microblogging discourse.The results revealed that the celebrities from both countries employ self-disclosing speech acts extensively to report events, anecdotes, or initiate small talk with fans for solidarity building. In addition, the attention fostered by the personalised, affective, and eye-catching self-disclosure posts is frequently directed to the posts promoting their professional activities or products to commercialise the solidarity as much needed for maintaining a strong fan base. In general, the celebrity practices in USA and China display a converging trend as the prevalent speech acts are largely overlapping across cultures, while culture-specific microblogging behaviours were also identified from the less frequently performed speech acts.

Posted: 2018-07-24More...

Frames and interaction on the air

Drawing on frames theory as an analytical framework, this study examines discourse interaction of a radio phone-in program in Shanghai, during which professionals specialized in psychology or a related field provide advice to audience callers by answering questions and addressing concerns on the phone. It aims to describe and analyze what frames are constructed, and how these frames are linguistically and discursively accomplished at a local level in institutional settings. Identifying three major frames (Host, Professional and Community), the author demonstrates how participants create, shift and blend frames in response to contingency of the local discoursive and interactional context. This study also underlines the benefits of incorporating multiple persepctives in examination of discoursive intearction. 

Posted: 2018-03-08More...

Did Becky really need to apologise? Intercultural evaluations of politeness

This study analyses a public apology made in 2016 by Becky, an Anglo-Japanese tarento ‘celebrity’, for her romantic involvement with a married man, musician Enon Kawatani. Adopting an integrative pragmatics perspective, we analyse the pragmatic acts Becky used to perform her apology, including culture-specific nonverbal behaviours indexing deference. We then look at how the apology was dynamically evaluated in naturally occurring discourse in Japanese and British Computer Mediated Communication (CMC). The analysis shows that culture-specific moral orders rendered Becky’s apology necessary in the Japanese context, but that these norms were not shared by the British audience. The Japanese and British CMC participants utilised national identity as resources for negotiating their contrasting moral orders. We show how CMC participants assign significance to the (im)politeness-related behaviour to which they were exposed and how they performed (im)politeness through threatening national identities.

Posted: 2018-03-08More...

Malefactive uses of giving/receiving expressions: The case of te-kureru in Japanese

The Japanese auxiliary te-kureru (‘giving to the speaker or the speaker’s group member’) is traditionally assumed to connote gratitude, favour or ‘politeness’, and thus is regarded as a benefactive. In this paper we argue that te-kureru does not inherently indicate benefaction, but rather that its occurrence, whether it is grammatically obligatory or optional, serves to intensify the speaker’s affective stance towards the referent in that given context. This accounts for the way in which this auxiliary may also contribute to expressions of sarcasm, anger, contempt or retaliation. We propose that because malefaction is unfavourable to the speaker, the speaker deliberately takes a lower stance through te-kureru, making as if the other’s unfavourable action was taken from a higher position, which amounts to a putting down or deliberate neglect of the speaker. We also suggest that the auxiliary remains affectively neutral if the context is neither benefactive nor malefactive in orientation.
Posted: 2018-03-08More...

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...

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...

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

Posted: 2017-04-10More...

‘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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