Corpus Linguistics as a Tool for Metapragmatics in Japan
Language change has always reflected transformations of socio-cultural realities. However, in modern Japan, change in ‘the Japanese language’ in its conception as a monolithic vehicle of Japaneseness has been frequently perceived as a deterioration of linguistic substance, and by extension, as an erosion of order and culture. In this paper, software-based corpus linguistics methodology is applied to a corpus of newspaper articles within the framework of discourse analysis, with the aim of describing discourse actors and extracting pragmatic idiosyncrasies of the newspaper-mediated public metalinguistic discourse centred on language decline. My findings suggest that several pragmemes can be correlated with one or more of the main groups of discourse actors. These include the use of symbolic language, implications, objectifying language, and the construction of change as something happening (only) in the present.
Keywords: Corpus linguistics • Pragmatics • Metalanguage • Discourse analysis • Language criticism