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Honorific usage in educational and medical institutions

By Shohko Yanagisawa


Obana (2000) and Inoue (1979) state that professors/doctors receive exalting language from administrative staff members when they refer to professors/doctors with people from outside. Similarly, Kēgo no Shishin (2007) suggests that administrative staff members in educational/medical institutions can use an honorary title with professors/doctors. Obana\u27s and Inoue\u27s claims and Kēgo no Shishin\u27s recommendation is not in line with the concept of relative honorifics. Considering the fact that Obana\u27s and Inoue\u27s claims have yet to be supported by an empirical study, this study attempted to investigate honorific usage in educational and medical institutions in order to 1) test Obana\u27s and Inoue\u27s claims, and 2) examine how closely the current usage follows Kēgo no Shishin\u27s recommendation. This questionnaire study found a small number of instances where professors/doctors receive exalting language as well as honorary titles from administrative staff members. Notably males over 40s in educational organizations used exalting language more frequently than the rest of the participants. A great majority of the participants in both institutions, however, favored humbling language over exalting language regardless of their organization type, gender, age, experience, and location. This result constitutes evidence against Obana\u27s and Inoue\u27s claims. Another finding is that participants who use humbling language still use the honorary titles. This particular honorific usage is interpreted as reflecting the speaker\u27s ambivalent attitude, but it is in line with the recommendation provided in Kēgo no Shishin

Topics: Linguistics
Publisher: 'Purdue University (bepress)'
Year: 2014
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Provided by: Purdue E-Pubs
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