Is Korean Really a Listener-Responsible Language like Japanese?: A Contrastive Analysis of Discourse in Apologies between Korean and Japanese

  • Sumi YOON Kanazawa University, Japan
Keywords: Speaker responsibility, listener-responsibility, Japanese, Korean, apology

Abstract

According to Hinds’ typology of languages on discourse level, Japanese and Korean are both considered listener-responsible languages, whereas English is classified as a speaker-responsible language (Hinds, 1987). However, in conversation, Yoon (2009) demonstrated that Korean should be classified as a speaker-responsible language based on her contrastive analysis of daily conversations between married couples in Japanese and Korean, where address terms and fillers are used as contextualization cues (Gumperz, 1982) to convey a speaker's intention to the interlocutor metacommunicatively. The purpose of the present study is to show that Japanese is listener-responsible, while Korean is a speaker-responsible language on the level of conversational communication. In order to test the hypothesis, surveys and recordings of real conversations of Japanese and Korean people were conducted and analyzed.

The informants in the present study consisted of four groups: Japanese university students who live in their own country, Japanese university students who live in the U.S., Korean university students who live in their own country and Korean university students who live in the U.S. A Discourse Complete Test (DCT) was completed by Japanese and Korean university students to compare the differences in speaker responsibility in apologies. The results suggest that Korean should be classified as a speaker-responsible language for understanding in conversations, since Korean speakers produce many more utterances and convey more information per utterance to the interlocutor than Japanese speakers. Furthermore, it is found that the responsibility for the understanding of utterances correlate with daily use of American English, especially in the case of Japanese university students.

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Published
2012-01-23
How to Cite
YOON, S. (2012). Is Korean Really a Listener-Responsible Language like Japanese?: A Contrastive Analysis of Discourse in Apologies between Korean and Japanese. Acta Linguistica Asiatica, 1(3), 73-94. https://doi.org/10.4312/ala.1.3.73-94
Section
Research Articles