Latest Issue: Vol 4, No 1 (2019): Special Issue: Second language pragmatics 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and naturally-occurring data-types such as computer-mediated communication, media discourses, ad hoc conversations, and historical documents.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


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...

Intra-lingual pragmatic variation in Mandarin Chinese apologies: Influence of region and gender

This study investigates regional and gender variations of apologies in Putonghua ‘Standard Mandarin' and Guoyu ‘Taiwanese Mandarin'. Production data were elicited from 40 participants from northern Mainland China and 34 from Taipei using an oral discourse completion task. Results showed that speakers in both regions employed a similar sequence of strategies and demonstrated similar preferences for context-dependent strategies in their apologies, but Mainland speakers used a significantly greater number of strategies than Taiwan speakers. Gender differences were observed in the apologies produced by Taiwan speakers regarding their use of illocutionary force indicating devices. The study found an interaction effect of power relation and region, with Mainland speakers sounding more apologetic than Taiwan speakers, but no interaction effect of power relation and gender; the effect of severity of offence was not clear, which could be attributed to the gap between the predetermined level of severity and speakers' actual perception of it in each scenario.
Posted: 2019-02-02More...

Longitudinal benefits of pre-departure pragmatics instruction for study abroad: Chinese as a second/foreign language

Whilst the study of second language pragmatic development in study abroad (SA) contexts has gained momentum in recent years, research on L2 Chinese pragmatics, in general, remains in its infancy and is therefore limited. Longitudinal studies on the effects of instruction before, during and after SA remain scant. Following a short pre-SA pragmatics intervention on formulaic expressions with a group of UK undergraduate learners of Chinese, qualitative data in three phases (before, during, and after a year abroad in China) were collected and analysed to shed light on the perceived benefits of the treatment. The findings show that in all three phases, learners highly valued the instruction provided, but they seemed to benefit from the sociopragmatic input the most, particularly in the pre-departure stage and after completion of the SA period. The findings will be discussed in relation to the learners' accounts of their SA experiences and the implications for pre-SA instruction.

Posted: 2019-02-02More...

‘I will not put this request at the very beginning’: Chinese EFL students’ perception of pragmatic (in)felicity in English email requests

Pragmatic (in)felicity in requests refers to the (in)appropriateness and (im)politeness of one's language use. It has been a great challenge to L2 learners, as they are likely to compose grammatically correct but pragmatically infelicitous requests. Such infelicity could be associated with pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic factors, yet whether L2 learners are aware of those factors has been underexplored. To understand the effects of power, imposition, and modifications on email perception, we designed a matched guise test for 224 Chinese L2 learners, who were instructed to rate from 1 (very inappropriate/impolite) to 5 (very appropriate/polite) on four email requests (Power±; Imposition±). We found that (1) learners are highly aware of pragmalinguistic factors because they perceive requests mitigated by internal and external modifications as more appropriate and polite (p < .05), (2) learners have limited awareness of power difference as they rank direct form as inappropriate in peer-to-peer interaction, and (3) learners cannot realise fully the sociopragmatic factors involved in high-imposition situations. The awareness of pragmatic (in)felicity among learners seems to be underdeveloped as regards degree of power and imposition. The findings could have some implications in language pedagogy.
Posted: 2019-02-02More...

The particle ne in the development of interactional positioning in L2 Japanese

The use of the sentence-final particle ne by a group of ten learners of Japanese is investigated longitudinally over a period spanning two years: before, during, immediately after and six-months after return from a year of study in Japan (SA). Quantitative observation reveals two patterns of use, that is, ‘prolific' and ‘exiguous' styles. Learners in the prolific group display frequent use from before the start of SA, and a subsequent plateau; the others use ne more rarely until after the SA, when the two groups' patterns start converging. In line with previous research, we argue that a certain level of lexical and grammatical competence (which we posit to be at least higher intermediate level) is a precondition for the use of ne, but against previous research, we suggest that the amount of naturalistic exposure in an immersion context is not necessarily a decisive factor in its development. Qualitative analysis of the conversational-analytical structuring of interactional meanings shows that regardless of the amount of particle use, both groups are able to deploy ne as a marker of interactional alignment in formulaic and non-formulaic tokens. Interestingly, developments can be observed also in the six months after SA, in which all learners increase proportion and/or range of uses of ne.
Posted: 2019-02-02More...

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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