Standard Language as a Role Language in Real-life Japanese and Fiction
Słowa kluczowestandard language, role language, common language, norm of language, honorifics
The aim of this paper is to determine to what extent and from which perspectives standard language (hyōjungo) can be regarded as a significant representative of role languages (yakuwarigo). In common perception, standard language is usually contrasted to Japanese dialects (hōgen) and common language (kyōtsūgo) and described as an abstract, conventional, and imposed pattern of language. Accordingly, as a speech style, it is often perceived with more reserve. As a norm of language, it is also often considered as barely existing in real-life speech or restricted to written or formal styles only. However, the research into the models of fictitious speech patterns of the characters of popular TV series, animations, and comic books displays a significant influence of standard language on depicting specific types of roles and poses the characters perform in the plot. The analysis of selected dialogues reveals that the primary function of standard language as a role language is to emphasize the contrast between, especially, normality and extraordinariness, regularity and irregularity, seriousness and jocularity, maturity and immaturity, schemata and deviations from them. However, in this paper, the scope of functioning of hyōjungo as a role language is not only restricted to pop-cultural, fictitious forms. It can be easily noticed also in the dialogues in the textbooks used for Japanese language education. In the case of the materials for beginners, the language is unified and limited to standard addressative forms only, and any possible varieties or registers of Japanese are barely applied. In this regard, standard language can be considered as a role language or, more precisely, a model language of Japanese learning. This model function is motivated by its “reliability” feature, which is based on the fact that standard language exists in real-life Japanese to play the significant role of offering interlocutors the mutual feeling of comfort of sharing the same behavioral and linguistic schemata.
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