Exploring the Self, Subjectivity, and Character across Japanese and Translation Texts


From the perspective of philosophical contrastive pragmatics, this study investigates our multiple selves as manifested in how we use language. Based on analyses of original and translation texts of Japanese and English literary works, the Japanese self is proposed as being fundamentally empty and yet richly populated with multiple subjective aspects, characters, and characteristics. Incorporating the concept of emptiness drawn from Japanese philosophical traditions and postmodernism primarily developed in the West, selves evidenced in grammar, style, and variation are investigated applying interpretive resources of linguistic subjectivity, character, and character-speak. Expressive gaps found in source and target texts across two languages lead us toward different ontological views, and guide us to engage in the rethinking of the concept of self.

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Senko K. Maynard, native of Japan, holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University, USA. She taught at Princeton, and is currently Distinguished Professor at Rutgers. Author of nearly 30 books in Japanese and English, she specializes in Japanese discourse analysis and pragmatics.

Part 1 Introduction and Framework

1 Introduction: Exploring the Self
 1 Overview: Toward a Philosophical Contrastive Pragmatics
 2 The Self and Context in Pragmatics
 3 Language, Thought, and the Self
 4 Data
 5 Organization of the Book

2 From Traditional to Postmodern Concepts of Self in the West
 1 The Cartesian View and Vico’s Opposition
 2 The Self Approached from Psychology and Philosophy
 3 Deconstruction of the Self
 4 Socially Constructed and Experienced Self
 5 Language and Social Identities

3 Framework: Subjectivity and Character
 1 Subjectivity
 2 Character

4 Perspectives from Translation Studies and Contrastive Pragmatics
 1 Discourse of Translation and Translation Studies
 2 Contrastive Pragmatics and Translation

Part 2 Background

5 Empty Self and Empty Place in Japanese Studies
 1 Centrality of Emptiness in Japanese Thought
 2 Nishida’s Philosophy: Empty Self in the Place of Nothingness
 3 Miyazawa’s Poetics: Transitory Self as a Flickering Light

6 Concept of Self in Japanese Language and Discourse
 1 Self in Traditional Language Studies
 2 Watsuji’s Approach: Interdependent Self in Social Space
 3 The Multiplicity of Self in Japanese Discourse

Part 3 Analysis: Across Japanese and Translation Texts

7 Presenting Aspects of Self Through Person Expressions
 1 Variability in First-Person Expressions
 2 Creativity in Person Expressions
 3 Reflections

8 Perceptive and Receptive Self in Grammar
 1 Unmentioned Perceptive Self
 2 Receptive Emotive Self and Subjective Passives
 3 Experiencing Others’ Actions and Verbs of Giving
 4 Reflections

9 Hidden but Expressive Self in the Topic-Comment Dynamism
 1 Hidden Self and the Topic-Comment Dynamism
 2 Hidden Self and the Staging Effect
 3 Hidden Self and Nominal Predicates
 4 Reflections

10 Transferred Self in Quotation and Inserted Speech
 1 Quoting and Self
 2 Transferring Self in Quotation and Inserted Speech
 3 Floating Self in Internal Monologue and Conversation
 4 Transferred Self and Inserted Speech
 5 Reflections

11 Populated Self and Variation
 1 Character and Character-Speak in Japanese and English
 2 Populating the Self through Dialect and Effeminate onee Language
 3 Narrating Self, Variation, and Style
 4 Reflections

12 Empty and Populated Self in Japanese as Translation Text
 1 Aspects of Self and of Self’s Onlooker in The Eye
 2 Expressivity in Two Translations of Auggie Wren’s Christmas Story
 3 Reflections

Part 4 Reflections

13 Exploring the Self in Philosophical Pragmatics
 1 Empty and Populated Self: Summary
 2 Translation and Expressive Gaps
 3 Overcoming the Ideologies of Metalanguage
 4 Beyond the Nihonjinron Debate
 5 Toward an Embracing View of Self across Languages

Appendix: Synopses of the Works Selected for Data
Author Index
Subject Index
Undergraduate and graduate college students, scholars, and specialists interested in Japanese language and culture, translation studies, discourse analysis, pragmatics, literary text analysis, and contrastive analysis of language and philosophy.
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