The pragmatic properties and sequential functions of the Japanese sentence-final particles ne, yo and yone
Sentence-final particles in Japanese have proved notoriously difficult to explain and are especially challenging for second language users. This thesis examines the role of the Japanese sentence-final particles, ne, yo and yone, in talk-in-interaction with the aim of providing a comprehensive understanding that accounts for their pragmatic properties and sequential functions and that provides a sound basis for second language pedagogy. Taking as a starting point the failure of existing studies to provide a clear account as to why the particles occur only in interaction, this thesis argues that the pragmatic properties of ne, yo and yone have an important sequential function - that of indicating how the next turn is to relate to the existing turn. Thus the sentence-final particles have a grounding function and provide speakers of Japanese with a means of realizing the figure/ground properties of tums in talk-in-interaction. The function of each particle proposed in this study is shown below: Ne occurs when the speaker proposes that the figure emerging in the talk should be treated as a ground for the next proposition without further ado, typically in the expectation that the figure is either already known to the addressee or readily acceptable (pragmatic property) and thus directs the addressee's acceptance (sequential function).Yo occurs when the speaker intends the figure emerging in the talk to be grounded, typically in the expectation that the figure is either new to the addressee or even controversial (pragmatic property) and thus directs an appropriate response by the addressee (sequential function). We call a response triggered by the force of yo an assumptive response since, as well as being sequentially appropriate, such a response also provides an inferentially related proposition as the next contribution. This next contribution may also be provided by the original speaker. In yone constructions, yo falls within the scope of ne so that the speaker proposes that the figure emerging in the talk satisfies the criterion for having yo attached to it (pragmatic property) and thus directs the addressee's acceptance of this property (sequential function). In the appropriate context, as well as responding obligatorily to the force of we, a good conversationalist may also respond to the force of yo. The study also considers cases where no particle occurs, and proposes the function of the non-use of any particle (i.e. zero) as follows: Zero occurs when the speaker gives no intention as to how the figure emerging in the talk is grounded (pragmatic property) and thus directs the addressee to regard zero marked contributions as potentially topic closing (sequential fiinction).Although the motivation of the present research is pedagogical, the investigator expects this thesis to make a contribution to the rationalistic/empirical debate in pragmatics (Kopytko 1995, 2001 and 2004). The present research clearly illustrates the importance of understanding instances of talk in their sequential context rather than focusing on individual utterances. The study sets out rationalistically in the sense that decontextualized examples are used to set up a Particle Function Hypothesis, and then moves to an empirical stage where naturally occurring talk data are used to test the validity of the hypothesis. The approach followed in this investigation could thus be viewed as an attempt to bring together rationalistic and empirical pragmatic methods.