Accuracy in reported speech: Evidence from masculine and feminine Japanese language

Hiroko Itakura*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper addresses the notion of accuracy in reported content in direct and indirect speech by focusing on the use of masculine and feminine forms in Japanese. By analyzing naturally-occurring examples of direct reports, the paper suggests that direct speech is similar to indirect speech in that the reported content is transformed and thus “inaccurate” in similar ways to indirect speech. The analysis also shows that reporters use contextual clues to signal to the hearer that the direct reports are not to be taken literally. These clues include incongruous indexical expressions used in the reporting and reported contexts as well as mitigation expressions that approximate the accuracy of the reported content used with reporting verbs. The study provides supportive evidence that distinctions between direct and indirect speech are less clearcut than traditionally believed and that these distinctions may be based on the functions and contexts in which each form is used rather than verbatim report for direct report and inclusion of the reporter’s voice in indirect report.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIndirect Reports and Pragmatics in the World Languages
EditorsAlessandro Capone, Manuel García-Carpintero, Alessandra Falzone
PublisherSpringer Cham
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783319787718
ISBN (Print)9783319787701, 9783030087814
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2019

Publication series

NamePerspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy and Psychology
ISSN (Print)2214-3807
ISSN (Electronic)2214-3815

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language

User-Defined Keywords

  • Contextual cues
  • Deixis
  • Direct report
  • Feminine speech
  • Gender
  • Indexical expressions
  • Indirect report
  • Japanese
  • Masculine speech
  • Reported speech


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