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Sugoi! – Indexicality and stancetaking in Japanese compliments

  • Chie Adachi (a1)

Abstract

In this article, I explore the notions of indexicality and stancetaking practice through the analysis of a single lexical item embedded in the speech act of complimenting among young Japanese speakers. After revisiting prominent frameworks of indexicality and stance, I illustrate the ways in which the lexical item sugoi ‘amazing’ performs multiple pragmatic functions: as a marker of praise, surprise, or mock impoliteness; an intensifier; or silence-filler in the act of complimenting. On the basis of extensive sociolinguistic interviews and ethnographic metadata, I discuss how and why Japanese speakers use the variants sugoi and sugee to build intricately on their indexical field in the context of complimenting. I argue that sugoi and sugee, canonically assumed to index speaker gender, are used as a linguistic resource to perform larger interactional functions and stancetaking practice among young Japanese speakers. (Compliments, indexicality, stance, interactional analysis, Japanese, pragmatic function)*

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Sugoi! – Indexicality and stancetaking in Japanese compliments

  • Chie Adachi (a1)

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