Language usage in Kyōgen

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Language usage in Kyōgen

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Title: Language usage in Kyōgen
Author: Sitasuwan, Kanlayanee
Abstract: Kyogen is a traditional form of Japanese comic drama closely associated with the No, a tragic, symbolic and aristocratic form, which developed in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries. Kyogen is part of the classic No program, but, unlike No, Kyogen is humorous, simple, and down to earth.With its history of about six hundred years, Kyogen is the oldest fully developed form of comedy in Japan. It is also the oldest drama using colloquial language of the medieval period.The main purpose of this study is to examine different aspects of language usage in Kyogen which contributes to the genre's of Kyogen as a dramatic form distinguishable from other forms of drama. These aspects are keigo (honorific language), giseigo (onomatopoeia) and gitaigo (mimesis), and plays on words. The study will focus on functional and dramatic effects of these aspects in Kyogen.Since Kyogen is oriented toward dialogue, typically involving two to three characters, keigo or honorific language can be fully observed. A careful examination of the levels of politeness or formal-ity will provide important clues to the shifts in the nature, quality and texture of relationships between characters which in many Kyogen represent crucial elements in the unfolding of the plays.Giseigo and gitaigo are abundant in Kyogen. Because Kyogen lacks sound effects and uses hardly any props, the actors are responsible for creating whatever effects are required on stage. This characteristic is unique to Kyogen among Japanese theatres. Giseigo and gitaigo help give reality, color, vividness and rhythmical effect to enhance the performance of Kyogen.The last aspect is plays on words. Part of the humor in Kyogen emerges from the language used. Wordplays, puns, homonyms, shuku (witty double-entendre riddles) and renga (linked verse) including haikai no renga (comic linked verse) which are abundant in Kyogen is examined for dramatic purpose as to how language plays a key role in Kyogen.The study is based on Kyogen plays in two volumes of Kyogenshu edited by Koyama Hiroshi in Nihon Koten Bungaku Taikei (Iwanami Shoten, 1960-61), which are easily accessible and widely used.
Description: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Washington, 1986

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