Constructing Identity in the Japanese Workplace Through Dialectal and Honorific Shifts

  • Andrew Barke
Part of the Communicating in Professions and Organizations book series (PSPOD)


This study takes a social constructionist approach as it considers speaker motivations behind style-shifts in workplace discourse of a company in the Kansai region of Japan. Specifically, it examines shifts involving use of dialectal forms and ‘standard’ forms, desu/-masu forms and plain forms in morning staff meetings and finds associations of dialect with uchi-related contexts led speakers to use dialectal forms in some parts of the meetings, but not others. When used, dialectal forms were used by speakers in combination with plain forms to index ‘off-stage,’ personalized speech directed at the speaker or another individual, to express emotion, and to recreate uchi-related scenes in a narrative. In contrast, desu/-masu forms and standard forms were used to index ‘on-stage,’ depersonalized speech directed at an audience.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Barke
    • 1
  1. 1.Kansai UniversityOsakaJapan

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