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Yooda & Rashii : Pragmatic motivations and the perception of information


  • Simon Karlsson

Summary, in English

The Japanese evidentials yooda and rashii both express inference, but it is difficult to articulate their difference. This paper presents a new theory that can explain the practical use of said evidentials, including cases that are problematic for previous research. A secondary use where they adjectivize a noun or predicate has also been taken into consideration, to avoid cross-contamination between the two different uses. Examples of the practical use of yooda and rashii and counter-examples to previous theories have been analyzed and discussed with a native Japanese speaker. The findings indicate that Japanese is very listener sensitive, and that yooda and rashii reflect this. The distinction between them depends on how the speaker perceives the information in an utterance from not only his own, but also the listener’s perspective. Pragmatic strategies are also employed to manipulate how information is perceived in discourse. It is concluded that yooda is used to present information euphemistically, and rashii is used to distance the speaker from the information to avoid emotional conflict etc. As such, politeness seems to take precedency over their evidentiality.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Evidentiality
  • Japanese
  • politeness
  • pragmatics
  • rashii
  • territory of information
  • yooda


  • Lars Larm