Contrastive Analysis of Using Japanese Fillers and the Relationship between Fillers and Politeness:Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese

  • 1 Sanyo Gakuen Junior College, Okayama, Japan


Japanese has various kinds of fillers. Their functions include not only hesitation but also marking the softening of utterances and indicating breaks between utterances. This study analyzes native Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese speaker brain’s cerebral blood flow related to fillers by using fNIRS (functional near-infrared spectroscopy). Additionally, we seek to explore the relationship between fillers and politeness of utterances by analyzing the sounds of fillers. We conclude fillers are connected to the increase of cerebral blood flow and filler’s kinds, pitch, length and strength are influenced to politeness.



  1. Joo, H. An introduction of experimental phonetics, Tokyo: Sun Educational (2008)
  2. Sakatani, K. (General Ed.). NIRS‐ foundations and clinics‐ , Tokyo: Shinkoh Igaku Shuppan Co., Ltd (2012)
  3. Yamane, C. Fillers in Japanese discourse, Tokyo: Kuroshio Publishers (2002)
  4. Yamane, C. Para language and politeness, Ed. Ogino, T. Encyclopedia of honorific language, Tokyo: Asakura Publishing Co. Ltd. pp.147-154 (2022)
  5. Yamane, C., & Takamura R. The influence of fillers to brains: the comparison between Japanese native speakers and Korean native speakers, The proceedings of The Japan Experimental Linguistics Society 16th conference, pp.1-6 (2023)

Article full text

Download PDF