Pragmatic Factors Influencing Word Choice: An Examination Based on Corpus and the IR Method
Yu Wang*, Wenzhen Shi**, and Tetsuhisa Oda**
*Nagoya University, Senri Hights 201, Motoyama Chou, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, Aichi 464-0036, Japan
**Aichi Institute of Technology, 2-49-2 Jiyugaoka, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, Aichi 464-0807, Japan
This study argues the pragmatic factors that influence the choice of the four reflexive pronouns jibun, jisin, mizukara, and jiko. Since the differences in these words are subtle and the subjects’ attitudes are complex, we introduce an Improved Rating (IR) method that is developed from Oda’s Fuzzy-set Concurrent Rating (FCR) method. The analysis consists of two parts. First, a corpus-based investigation suggests that the choice of these words may be influenced by a range of factors including anticipants, conversation style, and contents, all of which can be related to “psychological distance.” Second, in order to reconfirm the psychological distance hypothesis, we employ a questionnaire involving the IR method. Consequently, the “psychological distance” is found to be an effective factor influencing the subjects’ attitudes and word choices.
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