Consecutive n desu Structures in Japanese: Communicative Effects Resulting from n ja nai n desu in Discourse

Hironori Nishi


The n desu structure is recognized as one of the most frequently used sentence final expressions in Japanese. Various linguistic studies have examined the structure’s communicative properties in interactional situations, however; most of these studies focus solely on sentence-final expressions that include a single case of the n desu structure, and consecutive occurrences of the n desu structure such as taberu n ja nai n desu ‘(it is that it is not that) I am going to eat’ have not been explored in depth. By using a linguistic corpus as a database, the present study has explored the usage of consecutive n desu structures, and examined in which kinds of contextual situations consecutive n desu is likely to be used. The findings of the present study suggest that there are two main types of usages of consecutive n desu. The two types are consecutive n desu used when the speaker denies a generally held idea that is expected to be true, and consecutive n desu used in assertive rhetorical questions formulated based on an idea that is generally expected to be true.



Japanese, linguistics, discourse analysis, pragmatics, negation, n desu, ja nai

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