[lg policy] Indexicality and Social Meanings of Honorifics

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 21 14:31:07 UTC 2014

Indexicality and Social Meanings of Honorifics

Full Title: Indexicality and Social Meanings of Honorifics

Date: 26-Jul-2015 - 31-Jul-2015
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Contact Person: Kiri Lee
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics

Call Deadline: 15-Oct-2014

Meeting Description:

How we humans situate ourselves in relation to others, how we address
others, speak of them, and interact with them is linguistically transparent
in any language, though not always superficially obvious. Linguistic forms
across all human languages provide resources for such ways of speaking and
interacting, e.g., (im)politely, with or without deference, signaling
distance or solidarity or power, affiliation or disaffiliation and so
forth. This panel focuses on the use of honorifics in relation to their
intended meanings and the honorifics systems in a number of the world's
languages. It is widely accepted that the use of honorifics, especially in
languages which have a grammatically encoded system, is generally dictated
by macro social factors such as age, socioeconomic status, gender and so
forth (Brown and Gilman 1960, Sohn 1999, Kim-Renaud 2009, Kuno 1987,
Shibatani 1990). Recently, however, researchers have seriously questioned
whether the use of honorifics is wholly dependent on the relative status,
or some other factors (social, psychological, register- and
genre-dependent, etc.) play a crucial role in the selection process (Cook
1996, Strauss and Eun 2005, Dunn 2005, Brown 2011, Lee and Cho 2013). These
studies are mostly based on the framework of ''indexicality'' proposed by
Silverstein (1976), where he claims that there are various
''indexical-orders'' that work either at ''Micro'' level or at ''Macro''
level. While some studies, especially in Japanese honorifics, have
dismissed the distinction between ''Micro'' and ''Macro'' levels and claim
that functions of honorifics such as 'formal', 'public', and 'polite' are
one of meanings the honorific form indexes directly (Cook 1999), other
studies argue that ''Macro'' Indexing is clearly at work, based on the
observation that Korean adheres more rigidly to socially prescribed
honorific forms both in terms of address as well as in honorific language
than Japanese (e.g., Lee and Cho 2013). These studies, however, have tended
to look at Japanese honorifics and Korean honorifics in isolation. To
further investigate how ''indexical-orders'' actually operate and what
various social meanings of honorifics are, this panel calls for a
cross-linguistic perspective where, not only Japanese and Korean, but also
languages such as French, Spanish, and Persian (Aliakbari 2008) are
systematically compared to uncover ''social meanings'' such as the
speaker's social characteristics, stance, attributes, and identities.

The aim of this panel is three-folds:

i) To identify social meanings indexed by honorifics in both public and
private discourse data from several languages
ii) To investigate if the distinction between ''Macro'' and ''Micro''
Indexicality is universally relevant to the use of honorifics, and
iii) To reveal hitherto unknown interactions between different honorific
systems within a language (e.g., subject honorification vs. addressee
honorification as these constructs apply in Korean, Japanese, Spanish,
French, and Persian.)

Call for Papers:

Please find the information about how to submit your abstract in

Deadline is October 15, 2014


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