Teaching English through movies : ATEM journal
Online ISSN : 2433-1929
Print ISSN : 1342-9914
Studying Vocatives through Casablanca
Yuji Hayahsi
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2010 Volume 15 Pages 57-68


This paper investigates functions of vocatives by analyzing the movie Casablanca. Vocatives are optional. They can help an addresser single out an addressee from others when heard. Participants in conversation define and maintain social relationships by choosing the proper vocatives or not using them at all. In the case of using vocatives with strangers, one can use titles or honorifics. When one feels like expressing favorable feelings, then one can choose endearments. In Casablanca, the vocatives uttered by Sam show that there was once a time when African Americans were supposed to use a type of vocative such as "Mr. Richard" in the States. The most tactful person is Renault, who is the most productive and skillful user of vocatives. A main character, Rick is the most frequently addressed and always gets people's attention. This also proves that he is the main character. He is, in most cases, on first-name terms with his acquaintances. A seemingly exceptional use of "you crazy Russian" reveals Rick's sympathetic recognition of a refugee from Russia.

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© 2010 The Association for Teaching English through Movies
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