student profile: Mr Kelvin Lee


Thesis work

Thesis title: Language and character identity: A Study of First-Person Pronouns in a Corpus of Science Fiction Anime Dialogue

Supervisors: Nerida JARKEY , Monika BEDNAREK

Thesis abstract:

Japanese animation, or anime, has grown considerably in popularity over the last decades. As an internationally popular cultural phenomenon, anime receives a substantial amount of scholarly interest in a number of areas. However, there are still limited examinations of the language use in the dialogue of anime and other Japanese telecinematic texts, such as television dramas or feature films. Additionally, corpus linguistic studies of telecinematic texts have so far been limited to English-language texts (e.g. Bednarek, 2015; Quaglio, 2009). In order to contribute to these emerging areas of linguistic research, this study draws on a newly-constructed corpus, the corpus of Science-Fiction Anime dialogue (SciFAn corpus), which is comprised of the dialogue from five popular and highly-rated science-fiction (sci-fi) anime television series.

This thesis examines how the meanings expressed by first-person pronouns (1PP) are recontextualised in the dialogue of sci-fi anime television series to construct and convey character identities and social relationships. Previous studies of 1PPs, particularly those examining anime dialogue, mainly discuss their usage in relation to construction of (cis)gender identity (e.g. Dahlberg-Dodd, 2018; Hiramoto, 2013). Drawing on the concept of indexicality (Silverstein, 1976, 1985), this study shows that the use of 1PPs can index other aspects of identity, such as social roles and personal traits, in addition to gender. More broadly, this study demonstrates that corpus linguistic analysis can be used effectively with a sociolinguistic framework to examine characterisation and contributes to the still under-represented areas of Japanese telecinematic discourse studies and Japanese corpus linguistic research.

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