2018 年 2018 巻 69 号 p. 32-43
This paper examines the semantics of Japanese generic sentences that involve reference to gender stereotypes and considers how they possibly contribute to the presence and perpetuation of sexual harassment. The main strategy of the paper is, first, to uncover the possible ways in which sentences that contain the explicit deontic modal expression in Japanese beki (roughly corresponding to ought) contribute to the cases of hostile environment sexual harassment, and second, to compare the explicitly modal sentences and generic sentences that contain no explicit modal in order to show that the latter also express modal, normatively laden contents. As a standard theory of deontic modality, I apply Angelika Kratzer’s analysis of ought to Japanese sentences containing beki. For the sake of concrete illustration, I also introduce Asher and Morreau’s (1995) analysis of generics and extend it to Japanese examples. The comparison shows that, insofar as the uses of explicitly normative sentences such as “All women ought to wear a skirt” contribute to hostile environment harassment, implicitly normative sentences such as “Women wear a skirt” make a similar, if not equal, contribution to the legitimization of gender-specific norms. The paper concludes with the suggestion that we pay more attention to generic sentences with gender-specific terms, and that we use explicit quantifiers and singular terms more often than not to avoid ambiguity and possible inadvertent consequences.