Negotiating identities First person pronominal use between Japanese university students

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines processes through which social personae are conveyed by male Japanese students at a public university in Yokohama. Focusing on the frame-setting function of first person pronominals (FPPs) in contexts where there is no intra/inter speaker variation in the choice of FPP, this paper analyzes how speakers manage identity-associated discursive alignments related to a shared Okinawa prefecture background. The common experience of being from Okinawa prefecture and attending university far from home is the primary reason that these speakers are close friends. However, analysis reveals speakers’ continual and active contention and reformulation of this shared ‘Okinawan-ness’ and the personae to which it is linked. In particular, FPPs are implicated in speakers’ discussion of heterogeneity and/or local differences with respect to their Okinawa prefecture background. Strategic use of FPPs thus emerges as a salient tactic for speakers’ active negotiation of conversation relevant personae categories even in interactional contexts without variation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-44
Number of pages23
JournalPragmatics and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 21 2022


  • Japanese
  • first person pronominals
  • local identity
  • social personae
  • stance
  • youth culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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