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University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics

Abstract

This paper reports the analysis of the three trend samples from the Okazaki Honorifics Survey, a longitudinal survey by the National Language Research Institute on the use and the awareness of honorifics in Okazaki city, Aichi Prefecture in Japan. Its main results are: (1) the Okazakians are using more polite forms over the 55 years; (2) the effect of the three social variables (sex, age, and educational background), which used to be strong factors controlling the use of the honorifics in the speech community, are diminishing over the years; (3) in OSH I and II, the questions show clustering by the feature [±service interaction], while the same 11 questions in OSH III exhibit clustering by a different feature, [±spontaneous]; (4) the change in (3) and (4) can be accounted for nicely by the Democratization Hypothesis proposed by Inoue (1999) for the variation and change of honorifics in other Japanese dialects. It was also pointed out, however, that the complete picture of the changes in the honorifics system in Okazaki requires the analysis of the panel samples of the survey.

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