First Advisor

Suwako Watanabe

Term of Graduation

Spring 2021

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Japanese


World Languages and Literatures




Politeness (Linguistics), Japanese language -- Discourse analysis, Pragmatics, Interlanguage (Language learning)



Physical Description

1 online resource (x, 143 pages)


This study explored how Japanese as Foreign Language (JFL) utilize politeness strategies compared to native speakers of Japanese (J1) in invitation discourses within the framework of Interlanguage Pragmatics (ILP). Invitation is one of the speech acts that requires careful consideration when conveying speakers' intentions through speech. It is assumed that JFL will struggle with appropriately inviting friends in different cultures while utilizing the politeness strategies in their invitation discourse in Japanese. Szatrowski (1993) revealed that there are thoughtful utterances to each other, the discernment utterance by the inviter and considerate utterance by the invitee, in the Japanese invitation discourse. Native Japanese speakers create the invitation discourse mutually unlike English turn-taking discourse.

In order to analyze JFL and J1's discourse, data were collected from a roleplay conversation with four different scenarios. The participants invited the researcher to act as their friends, both close and distant, for two types of events, a group event and a one-on-one event. In all variations, the invitee showed slight hesitation and said she had an exam the next day. The discourse was analyzed in terms of the invitation discourse and the follow-up discourse after the invitee's hesitation.

The data showed that (1) intermediate level of JFL used the polite speech styles with the close friend and the distant friend carefully for the invitation, although J1 utilized a casual style and a mixed style tactfully to their friends, (2) JFL differentiated the invitation structures between the negative and affirmative forms depending on the level of intimacy, while J1 used mainly a negative style and various indirect ways in their invitation, (3) the negative politeness strategy used the most by JFL gave deference in the invitation utterance, while J1 minimized the imposition of the invitee the most, (4) JFL used less than half the amount of the politeness strategies of J1 for the follow-up utterances, (5) for the one-on-one invitation, more than half of JFL gave up their invitation after the invitee's hesitation in the follow-up utterance, and (6) J1 used more politeness strategies with the close friend than the distant friend in the follow-up utterances both for the group event and the one-on-one event. From the results of these findings, I suggest four steps that instructors can use to teach Japanese invitation discourse.


© 2021 Natsuko Llewellyn

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