A study of Rubi/Furigana functions: Spectrum between a translation type and a pragmatic type

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International Japanese Language Education
This is part of an on-going project about the comprehensive understanding of uses of Rubi/Furigana taxonomy in the writing system of modern Japanese. Rubi/Furigana is a small typed script on the top of Chinese characters, the basic function of which is a supportive tool for readers about how to read Chinese characters in a text or sometimes is used as a gloss such as for telling what kind of meanings Chinese characters have. The paper will present different uses of Rubi/Furigana from the basic reading function and attempt to make a new taxonomy of Rubi/Furigana functions. For example, as a creative use, Rubi/Furigana sometimes has a different reading from its original reading of Chinese characters. In that case, we can observe borrowing sounds from English along with the Chinese characters or synonymous meaning sounds on the Chinese characters such as using dialects instead of standard readings or personal pronouns on Chinese characters of person names. The research is based on a cognitive semantic approach, which can describe those unconventional uses of Rubi/Furigana as construal alternatives different from the basic reading. Translation analysis is also utilized for the pragmatic categorizations of the gaps between an original meaning of Rubi/Furigana and creative uses of Rubi/Furigana. So far, in my research, I have identified five types of uses of Rubi/Furigana. Among them, this paper will focus on the difference between translation type of Rubi/Furigana and pragmatic type of Rubi/Furigana and describe it as a continuum of their categories. The main data will be taken from a translation of ‘The Great Gatsby’ by Murakami Haruki and the comic ‘Shingeki no Kyojin’ (Attack on Titian).
Japanese Linguistics
International Conference of Japanese Language Education (ICJLE) 2016 Proceedings, 2016, pp. 1 - 4 (4)