A Study of Speech-level Shift: Focused on Conversation between a Senior and a Junior
50 , 20160301 , 東京女子大学言語文化研究会
This study aims to clarify the situations in which speech-level shift occurs and the effects of speech-level shift. The data are eight twenty-minute conversations between a senior and a junior at Tokyo Woman’s Christian University.
The seniors’ speech-level shift from normal level to polite level occurred in the following 7 situations: 1) when a senior explained something to a junior, 2) when a senior answered a junior’s questions, 3) when a senior invited a junior’s agreement, 4) when a senior considered a junior’s feelings, 5) when a senior talked about an undesirable situation, 6) when a senior gave thanks to a junior, and 7) when a senior repeated a junior’s utterance. By using polite language, seniors can enhance the conversation. It was found that seniors’ concern for juniors had an effect on their speech-level.
The juniors’ speech-level shift from polite level to normal level occurred in the following 7 situations: 1) when a junior talked to herself, 2) when a junior gave her opinions, 3) when a junior pointed out a senior’s mistakes, 4) when a junior expressed her feelings, 5) when a junior told a joke, 6) when a junior responded a to senior’s utterances, and 7) when a junior talked about an undesirable situation. From the data, I found that speech-level shift occurs when juniors give their opinion and when they talk to themselves. Additionally, they adjust their speech-level in order to enhance smooth conversation.