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Washi, Momo: Nontraditional Pronoun Usage by a Kansai Japanese Vlogger

  • Author(s): Tsai, Karen
  • Advisor(s): Gordon, Matthew
  • et al.
Abstract

Previous literature on Japanese first-person singular (1SG) pronouns deals primarily with encoding of social information such as the speaker’s gender, age, and politeness or formality in Standard Japanese speakers. However, this study investigates the nontradi- tional 1SG pronoun usage of Momona, a 21-year-old Kansai Japanese YouTube vlogger. This study also expands the research on variation of 1SG pronoun usage in conversational speech and casual registers, which are underrepresented in the literature. I argue that Momona’s usage of washi, wai, and washa convey her quirky personality and her identity as a young woman from the Kansai region of Japan, and that her use of atashi, watashi, and watakushi challenge traditional interpretations of Standard Japanese pronoun us- age. I also review previous research on nontraditional use of 1SG pronouns, indexicality, and enregisterment, and provide an in-depth analysis of Momona’s pronoun usage in her YouTube videos and Twitter account.

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