Journal of Pragmatics
The present study investigates the locally situated interactional functions of so-called epistemic modals, daroo and deshoo, in Japanese conversation. Although the two forms are generally considered plain and polite variants of the same epistemic modal, both forms frequently appear in the present casual conversational data. A detailed sequential analysis demonstrates that daroo and deshoo are used to perform various social actions rather than simply expressing the speaker’s conjecture. Deshoo has a rather fixed function of soliciting alignment or confirmation from the interlocutor. On the other hand, daroo works as part of larger constructions for various actions, including (i) displaying spontaneity, (ii) expressing neutral or uninvolved stance, (iii) displaying alignment, (iv) qualifying one’s assertion, and (v) challenging the interlocutor’s assertion. The findings suggest that linguistic categories such as ‘epistemic modals’ are epiphenomena of social interaction (Ford et al., 2013), which are not themselves interactionally relevant to the conversational participants.
Original Publication Citation
Kaneyasu, M. (2020). Interactional relevance of linguistic categories: Epistemic modals daroo and deshoo in Japanese conversation. Journal of Pragmatics, 155, 145-159. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2019.10.007
Kaneyasu, Michiko, "Interactional Relevance of Linguistic Categories: Epistemic Modals daroo and deshoo in Japanese Conversation" (2020). World Languages and Cultures Faculty Publications. 30.