Role Language and Character Language


  • Satoshi KINSUI Osaka University
  • Hiroko YAMAKIDO Fuji Women's University



role language, character, stereotype, fiction, dialect


Since Kinsui's (2000, 2003) initial proposal, research on role language has progressed with the topics growing more diverse. In this paper we propose that a peculiar speech style assigned to a certain character in fiction should be treated as character language rather than role language. Role language, which is based on social and cultural stereotypes, is a subset of character language. Given that role language is also a linguistic stereotype, its knowledge should be widely shared by members of the speech community, and its patterns within limits. Character language, on the other hand, allows for various types, being far from being a closed class. We examine and give examples of four types of character language: speech styles that could become actual role language, once shared widely in the speech community; speech styles that are effectively adopted by characters outside of their expected speaker's social and cultural groups; speech styles employed to represent something other than their stereotypes; and uniquely created speech styles.


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Author Biographies

  • Satoshi KINSUI, Osaka University
    Graduate School of Letters, Professor
  • Hiroko YAMAKIDO, Fuji Women's University
    Faculty of Humanities

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29. 12. 2015



Research articles

How to Cite

KINSUI, S., & YAMAKIDO, H. (2015). Role Language and Character Language. Acta Linguistica Asiatica, 5(2), 29-42.