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


  • Mika Kizu Notre Dame Seishin University
  • Barbara Pizziconi SOAS, University of London
  • Eiko Gyogi Akita International University



interactional particle, study abroad, interactional positioning


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.

Author Biographies

Mika Kizu, Notre Dame Seishin University

Mika Kizu is Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Notre Dame Seishin University. She received a PhD in linguistics at McGill University and taught Japanese linguistics at Durham University and SOAS, University of London. She has publications in syntax, second language acquisition, and translation studies, including her single-authored book, Cleft Constructions in Japanese Syntax (Palgrave, 2005) and the co-edited book with Barbara Pizziconi, Japanese Modality: Exploring its Scope and Interpretation (Palgrave, 2009).

Barbara Pizziconi, SOAS, University of London

Barbara Pizziconi is a Reader in Japanese Applied Linguistics at SOAS, University of London, where she teaches Japanese language and Japanese linguistics. She is interested in issues surrounding intercultural communication and mediation, linguistic (im)politeness and indexicality in language. Recent work includes ‘Indexicality and (Im)politeness', with C. Christie (2017), in Culpeper et. al (eds.), Palgrave Handbook of Linguistic (Im)Politeness, and ‘Teaching and Learning (Im) politeness: A Look at the CEFR' (2015), in Pizziconi and Locher (eds.), Teaching and Learning (Im)politeness (Mouton).

Eiko Gyogi, Akita International University

Eiko Gyogi is an Assistant Professor in the Japanese Language Education Program, Faculty of International Liberal Arts at Akita International University, where she teaches various undergraduate Japanese language courses. She obtained a PhD in linguistics at SOAS, University of London. Her research interests include translation in language teaching, pragmatics, and heritage language education. Recent work includes ‘Translating "Japanese Culture": A Discourse Approach to Teaching Culture' (2018), in Language and Intercultural Communication.


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How to Cite

Kizu, M., Pizziconi, B., & Gyogi, E. (2019). The particle ne in the development of interactional positioning in L2 Japanese. East Asian Pragmatics, 4(1), 113–143.