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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Interaction between characters in Heike monogatari dialogues: language forms and functions Lushchenko, Alexey


This thesis examines language aspects of interaction in dialogue passages of Heike monogatari (The Tale of the Heike, 1371) focusing on the role of language forms in characterization. The main goal of the present study is to assess the role of language variation and analyze how it participates in construction of asymmetries in social status and power between characters. Selected dialogue data is divided into two groups according to the participants and the dominant context: political interaction at court and interaction involving religious matters. Analysis of language forms in each dialogue draws on research by Japanese scholars and covers a wide range of linguistic phenomena such as sound changes, lexical choices, and markers of politeness. Linguistic findings are intended to supplement recent studies of the literary, socio-political, and religious contexts for early medieval narratives. By selecting a specific language style for each interacting character, the author(s) constructed particular images that have shaped audience’s perceptions of the characters. This study brings attention to language variation and clarifies how the socio-political status of characters, their interpersonal relations, and attitudes toward each other are encoded in the language of Heike monogatari dialogues. As such, this study is perhaps the first attempt in English to adopt a sociolinguistic approach to a Japanese pre-modern text, focusing on language properties and shifts in style in Heike monogatari.

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