Utterance Final Position and Projection of Femininity in Japanese
Keywords:Japanese women’s language, Language ideology, Sociophonetics, Prosody
Japanese female speakers’ frequent use of suprasegmental features such as higher pitch, longer duration, rising intonation and wider pitch ranges compared to male speakers, are often recognized as key prosodic cues of Japanese women’s language (JWL). Although many existing studies on JWL focus on the use of gender-related pragmatic features such as sentence fi nal particles (SFP), most of these do not take detailed prosodic information into account in their analysis. This study suggests that speakers can manipulate utterance-final prosody, to project femininity and that it is an especially effective technique given the salience of the utterance-fi nal position when marking pragmatic information in Japanese. Th e data indicates that this position is a focal point of JWL prosody regardless of the gender neutrality of SFPs, or even the absence of SFPs altogether.
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