コンテンツへスキップ

学会誌11号-研究ノート5(Kamimoto)

You Can’t Just Hang Up
—Differences in Japanese Family Phone Conversations

Emiko Kamimoto

 
Abstract:   In studies of phone conversations (Schegloff and Sacks, 1973;Clark &French, 1981), where individuals are visually restricted and can only rely on audio signals, reaching closure is shown to be much harder than in a face-to-face conversation. Participants cannot simply hang up when they have nothing more to say. They must agree that they have no more topics to raise. In order to have a smooth conversation ending, we subconsciously devise ways of reaching proper closure. The purpose of this study is to show that, in comparison with existing analyses, including studies of English language phone conversation endings (Schegloff and Sacks, 1973), Japanese data seem to fall in a general gender pattern, in which men’s closures are more abrupt than women’s closures. Through analysis of mother-daughter and father-daughter phone conversation endings, which have not previously been examined in studies of Japanese phone conversations, this paper shows that while mother-daughter conversations (MDC) and father-daughter conversations (FDC) exhibited similar patterns in ending conversations, they were contrastively different in the way each conversation was closed. A mother and daughter, sharing the same gender value pattern, tended to co-construct conversation more easily, but took longer to reach a closing, as both the mother and her daughter seemed to experience difficulty in directly moving from “pre-closure” to “closure” in order to bring the conversation to an end. FDC’s, on the other hand, demonstrated differences in gender value patterns and were ended by moving from “pre-closure” to “closure” with little hesitation. 
 
Key Words:  Gender, Phone conversation, Conversation ending, Japanese,
1. Introduction
This study explores certain characteristics of Japanese family phone conversations with a particular focus on the closure. Specifically, it will compare mother-daughter and father-daughter conversations recorded on phone calls for approximately one month. The data indicate three points:(1) Japanese phone conversations are somewhat different from English conversations; (2) Father-child conversations tend to be shorter than those involving mother-child;(3) Closing sequential patterns are different for the male and female parent.
 
This study is only exploratory and tentative in its conclusions: it attempts to provide some natural data of phone conversations between native speakers of Japanese exhibiting differences in conversation ending patterns1 ; it observes several facts referring to analytical categories offered in recent studies; And finally, it proposes an interpretation that the gender of the participants is a major factor in phone conversations. Although this is a limited case study, I believe it is unique it closely observes Japanese family phone conversation endings and there are a limited number of Japanese phone conversation ending studies.
2. Review of Literature
2.1   Conversation ending
 
After Schegloff and Sacks (1973) conducted pioneering studies on telephone conversations, which examined English telephone conversation data and gave a sequential organization of talk-in-interaction patterns, much research has been done on phone conversations. A number of researchers have attempted to examine telephone conversations in other languages and cultural settings (Pavlidou, 1997, 1998; Luke & Pavlidou, 2002). However, closings of phone conversations are not as widely studied as conversation openings. 
 
Schegloff and Sacks (1973), Clark and French (1981), and Button (1987, 1990) have each developed the categorization of conversation closings. Schegloff and Sacks pointed out that participants cannot simply hang up even when they had nothing more to say. They must first agree that there are no more topics to discuss. Murata (1994) noted that the closing of conversations is “co-operative work” in that it needs both parties’ agreement (p.91). Indeed, participants in phone conversations typically construct endings to telephone talk—or, the “closing section” (Schegloff & Sacks, 1973)—by instantiating two sets of closing remarks: pre-closing statements (one for each interactant) and closing statements (one for each interactant; cf. Clark & French, 1981; Hashiuchi, 1999). Example 1 is a simple example of a typical telephone conversation closing section with pre-closing and closing statements.
 
Example 1:Closing section
A: Well (pre-closing statement)
B: OK (pre-closing agreement)
A: Bye (closing)
B: Bye-bye (closing)
 
As seen in example 1, the closing sequence proceeds as follows: One person (A) initiates the closing with a pre-closing statement (e.g., “We-ell,” “Okay,” “So-oo,” or “Well, I've got to run now”); the other person (B) responds to (A) with some signal of consent (e.g., “Okay”). If agreement is reached, the conversation will be closed. However, the pre-closing statement can be responded to with the opening of a new topic instead (Clark & French, 1981, p.3). Therefore it is necessary that the first turn (the first pre-closing statement) is also positioned as “closing down a topic” (Pavlidou, 2002) or “at the analyzable to participants end of a topic” (Schegloff & Sacks, 1973). In other words, it has to be a sequence in which one person offers to close down the topic and the other accepts the attempt. 
 
The process of conversation closing can be difficult, particularly for Japanese speakers. There is no specific research indicating typical differences of sequential closing statements between English and Japanese as far as I know. However, some researchers have indicated English and Japanese phone conversation endings are somewhat different. Tanaka (1982) found verbal and non-verbal differences between English and Japanese parting such as nodding, distance of speaker and expressions used in the closing section. Okamoto (1999) also claimed four differences between Japanese and English phone conversations: (1) Japanese speakers use punch lines, such as jokes and humor, as a start of closing sequence; (2) Japanese speakers often leave messages such as “please say hello to your family”; (3) English speakers express their joy of talking such as “It was pleasure to talk with you”; (4) Japanese speakers do not use “sayonara” or “good-bye” but English speakers often say “good-bye” as the terminal exchange. Moreover, Takagi (2002) mentioned that the Japanese often used “hai (yes)” in closure. “Hai” is typically used as a positive answer to a yes-no question, it has various pragmatic functions in conversational interactions. Murata (1986) reported inhibition in closing conversations in Japanese. In her study, half of the native Japanese speakers and Japanese learners experienced some difficulty in closing conversations. Eighty percent of native Japanese speakers were afraid to be rude by taking the initiative in ending a conversation, and sixty percent of Japanese learners mentioned their lack of knowledge of idiomatic expressions as preventing them from being able to end conversations. Differences in age and status between speakers were especially relevant to this inhibition. Other researchers have investigated Japanese phone conversation endings and have similarly found Japanese speakers to have certain difficulties (Murata, 1989; Takagi, 2002; Tanaka 1982 Okamoto, 1999). Takagi (2002) focused on three features of Japanese conversation endings, including leave-taking, pre-closing and terminal exchange. She suggested that closing a telephone conversation is a delicate and complicated process. Her participants were very careful to allow each other to save face when they were finishing their phone conversations, and most of them were not good at abrupt endings. It seemed the Japanese people in her study needed long leave-taking with repetitions of closing expressions to effectively show that they did not have topics to talk about and that they cared about their relationships. These studies show the difficulty in Japanese phone conversation closings due to Japanese social norms of interaction (Gumperz, 1972). My study will further demonstrate this unique difficulty through an examination of Japanese phone conversation closings from gender perspective.
 
2.2  Gender
 
2.2.1   Japanese gender differences in conversations
 
The Japanese language has been characterized as holding distinct male and female speech registers or “languages”. The gender differences in Japanese are usually deemed more extensive and more rigid than English. The gender differences are limited in formal Japanese, but there are many differences in casual Japanese (Maynard, 1997). The most prominent differences of female and male speech are the use of different interactional particles, uses of self-reference, honorifics, pitch ranges, and intonation. Japanese female speeches are more associated with polite, gentle, empathetic, and soft-speech while males’ are described as rougher, aggressive, direct, and blunt (Ide, Hori, Kawasaki, Ikuta and Haga, 1986; Ide, 1993; Reynolds, 1985). The data in this study is taken from family conversations, that is, casual or informal styles of communication. Therefore the gender differences are expected. 
 
2.2.2  Tannen’s gender differences
 
Tannen (1990) sheds light on gender differences in ways of speaking and conversational styles. For example, for men, conversation is often a way to negotiate their status in a group and to keep people from pushing them around. In other words, they use talk to preserve their independence. On the other hand, for females, conversations are a tool to negotiate closeness and intimacy. Further, men consider a complaint as a challenge that requires a solution, whereas women show understanding and offer emotional support. Men do not often talk about their innermost thoughts but speak in order to exchange information and get attention, whereas women express their feelings in words. Tannen uses the word “genderlect” to indicate men and women’s different speaking styles.
 
Tannen (1999) pointed out the linguistic differences in genderlect between men and women in English by observing daily conversations around her and in stories sent to her. For example, women tend to talk at length about one topic, but men tend to switch topics, which gives the impression that men do not listen. Another difference involves back channeling (e.g., “mhm,” “uhuh,” “yeah”), which is more frequent in women’s speech and used to show they are listening. By contrast, men more often give “silent attention.” Women who expect back channeling interpret the silence as their interlocutor not paying attention. Finally, another aspect of genderlect indentified by Tannen relates to “participatory listenership”: when women talk to each other, they often finish each other’s sentences and anticipate what the other is about to say. This practice is often considered by men as an intrusion and lack of attention (Tannen, 1999). Although Tannen bases her idea of genderlect on observations of English conversations, the Japanese data of this study, especially the FDC data, showed mis-communication caused by “participatory listenership” and “silent attention.” 
 
2.2.3  Mother-daughter conversation and father-daughter conversation ending
 
Some researchers claim mother-daughter conversations are more successful than father-daughter conversations. Often daughters talk with their mother more frequently and longer than their fathers (Kasuga, 2000; Tsuji, 2003). Mothers exhibit a high level of consideration in MDC, and do not interrupt or speak at the same time as their interlocutor (Barumont, 2000). In other words, mothers use high-considerateness speech with their children (Beaumont, Vasconcelos, & Ruggeri, 2001). The reason for that could be conversation style. According to Tannen (1984), successful conversations occur among speakers with the same conversation style. The speakers who share the same conversation style are able to share expectations for the pace of turn taking and the use of simultaneous speech. Japanese young adults often talk to their mothers as if they are speaking to their friends (Tsuji, 2003). The mother and daughter may share a more similar conversation style than the father and the daughter. Although the research referred to uses English data, it may apply to Japanese family as well.
3. Data Collection and Analysis
3.1  Participants
 
The participants of this study are a Japanese mother, father and daughter. It is a middle class family living in Tokyo, Japan. When the data was collected, the daughter was studying abroad and lived separately from her parents. The daughter is a graduate student (in her mid-20’s) temporarily living in the U.S. She is a native speaker of Japanese and speaks English fluently enough to live in the U.S. The mother (in her mid-60’s) is not a traditional Japanese stay-at-home housewife but is a very independent, successful woman. The father (in his mid-50’s) is also not a traditional Teisyukanpaku type of father (a husband who is at the top of the family structure and has the most power in the family, sometimes translated as “bossy husband” or “chauvinistic husband”). Both of them are native speakers of Japanese and cannot speak English. The family power structure is basically horizontal. The mother and the daughter are like friends who chat a lot, and go out together. While the daughter is away from her parents, the family has phone conversations and exchanges emails at least three times a week. On the other hand, phone conversations and emails are not exchanged between the daughter and the father as often as with the mother. The daughter calls him only when the call is necessary and for family occasions. However, they talk a lot, play tennis, and drive around the Tokyo area together when she is back home in Japan. 
 
In fact, I am simultaneously a participant and an observer of the conversation, the object of the study, and that may be viewed with criticism. Although my knowledge of philosophies of “science” is too limited to defend my position, in view of the difficulty inherent in gathering natural data (cf. “observer’s paradox,” Labov, 1972) refers to the difficulty of extracting natural speech from participants in order to analyze real world phenomena where the observation of an event or experiment is influenced by the presence of the observer/investigator), attempting to gather data this way should be worthwhile. My method can be considered to be a useful strategy for conversational analysis as well: I view it as a type of so-called “observer-participation,” which is widely used in many studies. The participant-observer is in an advantageous position to report what is happening in the deeper level of the discourse. 
 
3.2. Data
 
The data for this study were audio recorded phone-Skype Japanese conversations of MDCs and FDCs. The parents used a phone and the daughter used an Internet phone system through a Macintosh computer. Ten phone conversations (five phone conversations each with the mother and father) were recorded over a month using a Microsoft Word notebook layout recording system. This recording system was chosen because it could record the sound with better quality than regular digital recording devices. All conversations were done in Japanese and subsequently transcribed and coded.
 
4.  Findings: Lngth and Endings
4.1  Length of conversations
 
One important difference between Mother-Daughter conversations and Father-Daughter conversations was conversation length. I recorded five conversations each for FDC and MDC. The total length of MDCs was 1:43:51 (1 hour 43 minutes and 51seconds) while the total for FDCs was 34:42 (34 minutes and 42 seconds) (see Table 1.)
 
 

Table 1  Lengths of conversations (minutes)

Conversation 1 2 3 4 5 Mean Total
MDC 33:21* 19:19 13:12 18:29 19:30 21:17 103:51
FDC 7:50 2:10 2:26 4:01 8:15 7:34 34:42

Note: *Cells include length of time for a conversation

 
There was a large time difference between the mean of MDC (21:17) and that of FDC (7:34). The difference between the means was 13:43. Why are FDCs shorter than MDCs? 
 
4.1.1 General sequence of FDC and MDC
 
FDC often had pauses and topic changes, and utterances were rather short. These components made FDC shorter than MDC. Let’s see an example from FDC. (D in the extracts means “Daughter”, F means “Father”, and M means “Mother”. The numbers on the left are line numbers for reference.)
 
Extract 1 (FDC from conversation 1):
 
1. D: Hikihajime ni dounika shinai to.
  ‘I have to do something before it goes bad.’
2. (1.0)
3. F: Souda ne.
  ‘I agree.’
4. D: Ato ga deru. Dame ni naru.
  ‘It will get worse later.’
5. F: un. (1.0) ima wa nanji nano?
  ‘Yes. (1.0)What time is it now? ’
6. D: ima [wa jyuuni ji yonjyuppun.
  ‘Now [is 12:40.’
7. F:     [sottchi wa.
      ‘[how about you.’
8. F: ohiru?
  ‘Afternoon?’
9. D: iya, yoru.
  ‘No, night.’
10. (1.0)
11. F: yoru?[yoru ka.a::
  ‘Night? night (I see)’
12. D:      [un.
  ‘[yes.’
 
There were three pauses in this extract (in line 2, line 5, and line10), and topic change (from line 4 to line 5.) Utterances were rather short (in line 3, line 7, line 8, line 9, line 11, and line 12.) After a pause in line 2, the father said, “I agree” to keep the conversation going. “Dounika shinai to” in line 1 may sound incomplete, but the daughter was actually expressing her opinion expecting her father to respond according to either the “participatory listenership” rule or back channel. The same sequence was observed from line 10. These can be interpreted as examples of Tannen’s “silent attention.” Women who expect back channeling interpret silence as their interlocutor not paying attention.
 
Topic changes are often observed in FDC. After the father shows agreement in line 5, there is a pause. To get out of this awkward moment, her father initiates a new topic here instead of giving his opinion. As Tannen (1999) indicated, frequent topic changes by men give the impression that men do not listen. The same thing is happened in the FDC: the fathers topic changes make the daughter think he is not listening. These topic changes make FDCs shorter. In MDCs, the mother and the daughter make many comments and co-construct the conversation very easily, leading to longer conversations. Extract 2 is one of MDCs. They could kept talking about one topic (cold weather in Tokyo) for 1 minute and 23 seconds (17 lines in total), and smoothly move to next topic (how much cats likes their warm beds)
 
Extract 2 (MDC from conversation 2):
 
1. D: Samuindesyo? Kyo.
  ‘It’s cold isn’t it? Today.’
2. M: Sa::mukute [XXX.
  ‘Co::ld and [XXX.’
4. D:      [Yuki futtandesyo?
       ‘You had snow right?’
5. (1.0)
6. M: Kinou ne. un to. Kaki o hoshitetara sa, mizore futtekita yo. Yo[ru (0.2) a::mizore ka::..
  ‘Yesterday. Well. When I was hanging persimmons, it starts sleeting. Ni[ght (0.2) oh::sleet::.’
7. D:      [Fu:::n. e. teiuka kyou sa ima nyu:su miteta no.
       ‘[I see. oh. well today now I was watching news.’
 
4.2   Conversation ending
 
The most significant difference between MDCs and FDCs was the conversation endings. Japanese phone conversation closings are a unique and difficult speech acts, involving inhibition to keep face and Japanese social norms of interaction (Murata, 1989; Takagi, 2002). As previous studies have noted, long closing sections and repetitions of “hai” (“yes”) were also observed in my data. Two main features of family phone conversation endings were found: repetition phenomena of closing sections in MDC endings (extract 2), and the same pattern of confirmation and agreement to end conversations in both MDCs and FDCs. The next two extracts are typical conversation endings with my mother (Extract 2) and with my father (Extract 3). There are three closing sections from Extract 2 and one closing section from Extract 3 in the data.
 
Extract 3 (MDC from conversation 3):
 
Closing section 1
1. :D: Beru (name of energy drink) nonde neru no desu. 
‘You should drink BERU (name of the energy drink), and go to bed.’ 
2. M: Sooshimasu. Honjyaba.[ XXX
      ‘Yes, I will. Bye [XXX’ 
3. D: [hai. Baiba::i. 
  ‘[ OK Bye-bye’ 
4. M: Genki da ne. Emiko ne. nett. nett. Ii, dewa yoi syuumatsu o.
‘You sound good. Emiko right. right. Good then have a nice weekend.’ 
5. D: Genki dayo datte amarini tukarete kaettekitara neteta mon. kiduitara. 
‘I am good. Because I took a nap when I came back home because I was exhausted. I did not realize (that I fell a sleep.)’ 
6. M: (laugh) a::
‘(laugh) well::
 
This conversation continues and leads to the following section.
 
Closing section 2
34. M: ne:::honto dayo ne. honto.Osowaru to ii ne:::kaette kitara to 
‘yah right. You should learn once you come back.’ 
35 iuu kaiji de gozee masu dayo.Honjyaba ne. [Emiko. 
‘That’s all. All right then. [ Emiko.’ 
36. D: [Honjyaba ne.
‘[All right then.’ 
37. (1.0) 
38. M: ano. kaette kita battkari datta no. ugai suru kara.
‘Well. I just came back. I will gurgle so.’ 
39. D: nett. Nanka ne. [dekakeru tte itteta kedo tsunagattcyatta to omotte. 
‘Well.[ Although you said you would go out, you picked up the phone.’ 
40. M:      [un? 
      ‘[what?’ 
41. M: iya,ima kaette kita battkari datta no daka[ra kaette kite(.) 
‘No. I just came back so I came home and’ 
42. uwagi nuida tokoro datta no. dakara cyoudoyokatta. 
‘I just took off my jacket. It is good timing.’
 
This conversation continues and leads to the following section.
 
Closing section3
60. D: un. Ikanakute ii. Mata renraku ga atte kara ni shite. 
‘Yes. You do not have to go. (Could you do) after she contacts me.’ 
61. M: un. Sontoki renraku cyoudai. 
‘OK. Tell me once she contacts you.’ 
62. D: nnett. 
‘All right.’ 
63. (2.0) 
64. M: hai hai. Jyaane. 
‘Ok. uh huh. Bye.’ 
65. D: Hai hai. Odaijini. 
‘Ok.Ok. Take care.’ 
66. M: Hai mata ne. 
‘Yeah. See you.’ 
67. D: Baibai. 
‘Bye-bye.’
68. M: hai,baiba::i.
‘Ok. Bye-bye.’ 
69. (3.0)
 
Interestingly, the mother and daughter had more than one closing section in one phone conversation.  
 
Why did more than one closing section occur? In line 1, the daughter offered a statement that displayed concern for her mother’s health with a code switch from the casual to polite form. Wishing good health via ‘take care’ is often a constituent of a closing section (Okamoto, 1999; Takagi, 2002). The code switch is another key to move to a closing section. The daughter switched her casual speech to desu form (a polite form). Thus the mother took line 1 as a sign to close the conversation and she took pre-closing activity by saying “I will do” with an honorific expression as her daughter used in line1 and went back to a casual speech, “all right then (Bye)” with a casual and dialectic expression “Honjyaba” in line 2. “Honjyaba” is a yamagata (region in north west) dialect where the mother is originally from. The daughter followed with a pre-closing response and closing sentence in line 3; then her mother tried to end the conversation with “have a nice weekend.” In general, her closing response should have been given in line 5, but the daughter extended the conversation (by giving a reason why her voice sounded good) because she brought up a new topic and also repeated the discourse particle “ne” three times. A similar routine was observed from lines 34 to 42. Her mother initiated the agreement that “we have no topic to talk about,” and issued a pre-closing statement in line 35, “That’s all. All right then” by switching her code to a dialectic polite expression, “gozee masu dayo.” The daughter gave her pre-closing response in line 36 using the casual and dialectic expression “Honjyabane” as her mother did. Then her mother gave the reason why she wanted to hang up in line 38 as leave-taking. She might have expected a good-bye exchange here, but the daughter started a new topic in line 39— a key moment that made her mother keep talking. Beaumont, Vasconcelos, and Ruggeri (2001) found mothers use highly- considerate speech with their children, and the mother showed similar high-consideration for her daughter here. A large number of usages of the discourse particle “ne,” which is used to check the agreement of the listener, displayed the mother’s consideration. The daughter also knows her mother is concerned about her, living away from home in a foreign country. As a result, the mother’s consideration prevented her from ending the conversation. 
 
So how did they end the conversation? The daughter’s utterance in line 62 and a pause in line 63 played a significant role. Line 62, “All right,” was a sign that the previous line was the conclusion and the daughter was finished discussing the topic. A pause in line 63 also worked as an agreement to move to a closing activity. Therefore her mother understood that the conversation was really coming to an end and gave a pre-closing statement in line 64, which the daughter agreed with, so the conversation was not extended. They both accepted a move toward the end and successfully closed the conversation. 
 
Moreover, from line 64 to line 69 the conversation-closing pattern was very similar to the one observed in FDC (see extract 3).
 
Extract 4 (FDC from conversation 1):
 
1. F: Mou, kaze hiku to are da. (1.0) karada yowakute dameda. 
‘Oh. When I catch a cold umm. (1.0) my body gets weaker and not good.’ 
2. (4.0) 
3. D: Jyaa odaijini. 
‘Then take care of yourself’ 
4. (2.0) 
5. F: un. Hai.(1.5)jyaa kiotsukete. 
‘Yeah. Yes. (1.5) all right take care.’ 
6. D: hai. Watashi wa nemasu. 
‘Ok. I will go to bed.’ 
7. (1.0) 
8. F: Hai. 
‘Ok.’ 
9. (1.0) 
10. D: hai. 
‘all right.’ 
11. F: hai. Jyaa nee. 
‘ok. Bye.’ 
12. D: jyaa ne[:::.oyasumi::: 
‘Bye. [:::. Good night:::’ 
13. F: [hai. 
‘[ok.’ 
14. (1.0) 
15. F: hai.hai.oyasumi::  
‘ok. ok. Good night::’ 
16. (3.0)
 
In Extract 3, a long pause in line 2 made the daughter think that the conversation was no longer developing, so the daughter offered leave-taking through “then take care of yourself,” which also functioned as a pre-closing statement because her father responded in the same way with, “well, take care” in line 5 as a pre-closing response. In line 6, she clearly showed her intent to end the conversation by saying, “I will go to bed,” and switched her code from casual speech to a polite form. This code-switch created a distance. After the second pre-closing activity from line 6 to line 10, where they showed agreement with each other, they moved to the “closing section” and finished the conversation. An interesting point is in the repeated pre-ending activities that seem to demonstrate a pattern in closing sections. Similar to the pre-ending activities in closing section 3 in the previous MDC (extract 2), both the father and daughter said “hai (ok or all right),” “bye,” and “Good night” several times. This is a pattern found in all of the recorded family phone conversations.
 
From these results, it can be noted that FDC endings (extract 3) had a similar ending pattern to MDC endings (closing section 3 in extract 2). However, there was only one closing section observed in FDC (extract 3) whereas there were three closing sections in MDC (extract 2). 
5. Discussion
In the extracts above, there are some differences between MDCs and FDCs. First, FDCs were clearly shorter than MDCs. Second, there were more pauses, shorter utterances, less use of the particle “ne”, and frequent topic changes in FDCs compared to MDCs data. Third, closing sequential patterns were different. There were three closing sections in a mother-daughter phone conversation but there was one in a FDC. Similar conversation styles, high number of use of “ne,” for example, and friend-like conversation using dialect-like casual forms of speech were observed in MDCs. The mother and the daughter co-constructed conversation more easily, the conversation generally went more smoothly, and it took longer to end. The gender value pattern of the participants could be one of the factor that make the mother-daughter speech stiles similar. On the other hand, the father and his daughter applied a different conversation style in their talk. That made their talk very short and simple. This difference could explain why the daughter talks more with her mother than with her father. It may be possible to interpret the different conversation style as resulting from the male parent being considered dominant in two respects as the daughter’s parent and as a male member of the society, according to the traditional perspectives of Japanese culture. 
     This small-scale study also showed how hard it is to end a phone conversation, and shows how some points are different from English conversation endings. I observed repetition phenomena of closing sections in MDC endings (Extract 2), and the same pattern of confirmation and agreement to end conversations in both MDCs and FDCs. Switching codes to move to the closure of conversations, such as using formal style and repeating “hai” (“yes”) in the closing sections were unique in this Japanese data. 
 
Although this is just a limited case study which is limited both in variety and in quantity, it is hoped that the data may be useful as a starting point for more full-scale research. Again, I believe this study is unique because it closely observes Japanese family phone conversation endings, and pointed out the different sequential pattern between a male and female parents which none of the previous studies covered. For future research, I would like to investigate more Japanese phone conversation endings (e.g., phone conversations between a son and his parents) and apply these studies to Japanese language education.
Acknowledgment
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Professor Katsue Akiba Reynolds for her input and feedback, as well as classmates in my Japanese sociolinguistics class for their helpful comments on an early draft. I am particularly grateful to the Society for Gender Studies in Japanese for allowing me to present my paper in its annual convention (2010) in Tokyo and to the Graduate Student Organization of the University of Hawaii at Manoa for enabling me to travel to Japan to attend the convention with their grants and awards. Lastly but not least, I would like to thank my parents for letting me record our phone conversations, without which this study would not have been possible.
 
Note:
While conversing with my parents back in Japan every week, I became curious about the difference between phone conversations with my mother and those with my father (“Why is the conversation with my father always so much shorter than my conversation with my mother?”), and began to record the conversations. The study is a response to the question that arose from my initial curiosity.
 
References
  • Beaumont, S. L. (2000). Conversational styles of mothers and their preadolescent and middle adolescent daughters. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 46, 119-139.
  • Beaumont, S., Vasconcelos, C. V., & Ruggeri, M. (2001). Similarities and differences in mother-daughter and mother-son conversations during preadolescence. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 20, 419-444.
  • Clark, H., & French, J. (1981). Telephone goodbyes. Language in Society, 10, 1-19.
  • Gumperz, J. J. (1972). The speech community. In P. P. Giglioi (Eds.), Language and social context (pp. 219-231). Harmondsworth: Penguin.
  • Ide, S. (1993). Sekai no joseigo, Nihon no joseigo. Nihongogaku, 12, 4-12.
  • Ide, S., Hori, M., H., Kawasaki, A., Ikuta, S., &Haga, H.(1986). Sex difference and politeness in Japanese. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 58, 25-36.
  • Luke, K., &Pavlidou, T. (2002). Telephone calls: unity and diversity in conversational structure across languages and cultures. Amsterdam, PA: John Benjamins.
  • Maynard, S. K. (1997) Japanese communication: language and thought in context. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai'i Press.
  • Murata, K. (1986).An analysis of the difficulties of Japanese learners in conversational English and its implications for the design of a problem-solving methodology (Unpublished master’s thesis)University of London, London, England.
  • Murata, K. (1994).Cross-cultural approach to the analysis of conversation and its implications for language pedagogy. Tokyo, Japan: Liber Press.
  • Okamoto, N. (1999). Denwa niyoru Kaiwashuuketsu no kenkyu. [Astudy on the conversation on the telephone].Nihongo kyoiku, 72, 145-159.
  • Pavlidou, T. (2002). Moving towards closing Greek telephone calls between familiars. In Luke, K., &Pavlidou, T (Eds.), Telephone calls : unity and diversity in conversational structure across languages and cultures. Amsterdam, PA: John Benjamins.
  • Reynolds, A, K. (1985). Female speakers of Japanese.Feminist Issues, 5, 13-46.
  • Schegloff, E., &Sacks, H. (1973). Opening up Closings.Semiotica, 8, 291-327.
  • Takagi, T. (2002). A study on closing sections of Japanese telephone conversations. Working Papers in Educational Linguistics, 18(1), 67-85.
  • Tanaka, N. (1982). Wakare no gengokoudo yoshiki. Gengoseikatsu, 363, 38-46.
  • Tannen, D. (1984). Conversational style: Analyzing talk among friends. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. 
  • Tannen, D. (1990). You just don't understand: women and men in conversation. New York: William Morrow.
  • Tannen, D. (1999). Women and men in conversation. In Wheeler, R. S(Eds.), The working of language: from prescriptions to perspectives. Westport, CT: Praeger.
  • Tsuji, D. (2003). Summary report on a questionnaire survey of young people’s communications and relationships with friends and parents. Journal of Sociaology in Kansai University, 34 (3), 373-389.
Appendix
Transcription conventions
[         overlapping
(0.0)     length of pause
(.)      micro pause
?      rising intonation
XXX unsure words
:      sound stretch
 
(神元愛美子 MA Candidate, East Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Hawaii at Manoa)
 
 
 
Copyright © 2001 The Society for Gender Studies in Japanese
All Rights Reserved.