Personal pronouns in cross-cultural contact: the case of Natsume Soseki 1905-1916

Emiko Okayama

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The aim of this paper is to investigate the changing use of Japanese personal pronouns in a contact situation, especially in relation to translation and modern Japanese novels, at the turn of the 20th century. The use of personal pronouns is a very good indicator of the linguistic changes that occurred in this contact situation, because this was the time when previously invisible (infrequently used) pronouns became visible. By using Natsume Soseki's entire body of novels as a case study, my research attempts to explain results in three important findings: firstly, that the synchronic variations in terms of reference at the time were, in fact, the results of ongoing diachronic shift; secondly, that the coexistence of a variety of forms illustrated the transitional process; and finally, that the major influencing factor in the change was cross-cultural contact.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcross boundaries
Subtitle of host publicationinternational perspectives on translation studies
EditorsDorothy Kenny, Kyoungjoo Ryou
Place of PublicationNewcastle, England
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
ISBN (Print)9781847182425
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • personal pronouns
  • language contact
  • translation
  • Natsume Soseki
  • modern colloquial novels
  • corpus-based historical analysis


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