spaceCenter for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)

Introduction to Speech Acts

Let us assume that you have been studying abroad at a Japanese university in Tokyo for the last few months. This is your first time in Japan . You have taken a few years of Japanese at a university level in the U.S., and you have always been a pretty good student. You are living in a flat with a Japanese roommate, Jun. You love Japanese animation; in fact that is how you initially became interested in the language and culture. You are a music lover, also. Aside from classes in Japanese language, you are studying Japanese history and international relations. You are sociable by nature, which is why you wanted to have a roommate.

Situation 5:

You talk to an elderly employee at the bookstore. You neglect to use polite desu/masu keigo and talk to him really casually because you think it’s not a formal situation and the use of keigo is optional. You are also a customer in this situation, so in your judgment you are in a higher position than him in a way, unlike your role in a teacher-student situation where you are required to use keigo. As you say to the clerk, この本探してるんだけど、どこかわかる? Kono hon sagashiterun dakedo, dokoka wakaru? ‘I’m looking for this book. Do you know where it is?’ In this instance, the clerk frowns slightly. What have you done wrong here?

Your section (if applicable)/Your last name, Your first name:
Example: 010/Smith, John

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