Gender and Language, Vol 7, No 2 (2013)

Gender and facework: Linguistic practices by Japanese male superiors in the workplace

Junko Saito
Issued Date: 12 Jul 2013


This study qualitatively examines linguistic practices of Japanese male superiors in interactions with male subordinates in a Japanese workplace, focusing particularly on their use of two linguistic forms: Vroot+(y)oo (Let’s do X) and Vroot+ro/e (Do X!). The study illustrates two practices of these male superiors: first, they use Vroot+(y)oo, which is not strongly associated with normative men’s language, in interactions where normative men’s language is otherwise used. Second, they utilize a strongly male-associated form, Vroot+ro/e, in interactions that otherwise involve feminine-associated stylistic features. The analysis shows how these two linguistic forms, when used in such interactions, contribute to male superiors’ facework. Confirming a claim made in previous research, this study suggests that speakers use normative language less associated with their own gender in order to convey a specific pragmatic meaning and to achieve certain communicative ends in ongoing interactions.

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DOI: 10.1558/genl.v7i2.233


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