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Japanese TV Drama “14 Sai no Haha” Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Aug 12th, 2019


The Data

The data collected for the current research is taken from the first four episodes of the Japanese TV drama 14 Sai no Haha or 14 Year Old Mother. The analysis is conducted on the basis of the expressions, language use, tone, emotions and other specific language characteristics used by the characters in the movie.

Much attention is paid to the main characters, the level of their education, their politeness and the ability to conduct conversations. The choice of words and expressions is analyzed as well. To be specific, the language of the four main characters is analyzed with the remarks to the use of words and expressions. Moreover, the issues which impact language and the choice of the patterns mentioned above are also considered in this research paper.

Miki, the main character of the drama, Tadohiko, her father, Satoshi, Miki’s boyfriend and Shisuka, Miki’s mother are the central subjects whose language is analyzed in this work. Moreover, some specific expressions and intonations of other students are going to be considered to stress the universality of language use by teenagers.

The data is collected with the stress on subjects’ age, their intelligence and education as these factors are considered to be the main in the choice of the words. The data collected for Miki’s language use and that of other students is important as it helps us check the impact of surrounding world on teenagers.

Using the data of Miki’s expressions and those of other students in the drama helps us make conclusions that teenagers are impacted by similar factors (Fong, 2010). Thus, the data gathered from the first four episodes is going to be practically supported.

The Method

The research is based on observation and data analysis. Four first episodes of the Japanese drama 14 Sai no Haha are going to be watched. While watching those episodes, we are going to check the intonations, tones, expressions, used words and word combinations of the main characters.

Having identified four main subjects, we are going to follow their communication through all the episodes, consider their impact on each other and their language use in different situations. Thus, much attention is paid to specific cases when Miki is involved in communication and to people she talks to. The same concerns others subjects of the research. The research participants use words and expressions while talking to classmates, teachers, parents, colleagues, etc.

These are considered to be the central issues for research while watching a drama. Intonation and pronunciation also play important role as these characterises of language are considered to impact the choice of words and are affected by the situation. We are going to watch the four first episodes and write down colloquial phrases used by the subjects chosen for data analysis.

Then, we plan to analyze the observed results with the identification of the number of used interjections, colloquial words, or, vice versa, highly intelligent words. All specific language is going to be gathered in particular groups and organized in a table with stating the intensity and frequency of being used by specific characters. This may help us understand the use of language by different social and age groups.

The Framework

The research methodology and especially the choice of the characteristics used for the analysis are gathered on the basis of the discussion conducted by Berns (2000). He pays attention to age, social groups, gender, education, and occupation. Making a sociolinguistic analysis of the language used by four identified subjects, the attention should be paid to sounds and pronunciation. Using the experience shared by Berns (2000), we have understood that people use their language.

Thus, they do not communicate in the same way all the time. Berns (2000) states that people constantly change their manner and styles in communication depending on situation and the main purposes they pursue; he is sure that people use different language style and expressions when they talk to “co-workers, neighbours and friends, interacting with clients, students or car mechanics, buying or selling a commodity, scolding or soothing a child; asking for help or giving an order; extending or declining an invitation; excluding someone from a conversation; or seeking identity with a speech community” (p. 556).

Therefore, using the mentioned framework, we want to prove that some people change their communication style while communicating in different situations. We also check the idea that depending on human social status, age, and the place of work, they use different language. Therefore, some conclusions drawn by Berns (2000) helped us state the research questions and identify the principles of the research.



According to the plot, Miki is a student who runs a school radio program. Considering Miki’s intonation, it may be noticed that she is very emotional. Her reaction to the situations and the words is burst and impressive. Her tone is sharp even when she talks to her teachers and parents. She does not express her direct dissatisfaction or does not sound rude, but the tome she uses, the intonation she applies and the pronunciation of words she implements points at her age.

Her emotiveness is expressed via a number of phrases which are repeated consequentially, such as “I did it” (when Miki leaves school when classes are on), “Come” (when she wants to secure a puppy), “It’s okay” and “That’s me” (when a puppy is saved). Turning to the language she uses, it should be stated that short phrases, colloquial expressions and standard word-combinations dominate in her language.

The most common phrases she uses are as follows, “It’s fine”, “O-ouch”, “Yeah”, “It’s okay”, and “Kind of” are the phrases which support Miki’s communication during all the episodes. Moreover, she uses reduced forms of the words, like “coz’” in her speech. Moreover, Miki uses such colloquial expressions as “It’s stupid” or “It’s a big deal” (Ken, Chizu, Toya, & Noriyoshi, 2006). Looking at the situations and the use of language, Miki answers with short statements when she is nervous and when she talks to her parents or teachers. At the same time, she tries to remain speechless talking to authorities, which seems to be a cultural sign.


Satoshi is also a high-school student. He is one of those characters who prefer to remain silent. However, the phrases he uses are informative and always to the point. However, it is impossible to say that he is too intelligent and sincere. His phrases are often grammatically incorrect. The way Satoshi communicates can be considered via the following dialog he leads with Miki over the telephone:

Miki (M): Kiki-chan? It’s me.

Satoshi (S): You want something?

M: Kind of.

S: What is it?

M: Un, “What”, you say, nothing, really, but…

S: Sorry, my home tutor is coming

M: Ah, I see… (Ken, Chizu, Toya, & Noriyoshi, 2006)

This small phone conversation helps draw a number of conclusions. First of all, the age and the scope of knowledge the participants of the conversation possess are on the low level. Moreover, it is obvious that students lead the conversation as the specific vocabulary is used. Moreover, all the phrases used by Satoshi are monosyllabic. He talks interruptedly, without using long sentences. It shows that a person does not have wide vocabulary and the scope of his knowledge is too little.


Tadohiko is Miki’s father. According to the plot he is a respected man who occupies a good position. However, his manner of communicating with clients and family differs greatly. Using such exclamations as “Hey” or “Eh” (Ken, Chizu, Toya, & Noriyoshi, 2006) he shows lack of intelligence.

His intonation in the family differs depending on the situation; he can be strict and funny, severe and kind. At the same time, talking to the clients, he is kind and even greasy, which is expressed in his way of talking. Even though that Tadohiko talks not that intelligent in the family circle, his grammar is perfect.


Shisuka is Miki’s mother. She uses long sentences which are full of sense. She rarely uses short statements and remark. Her manner of speaking reminds that of a lecture who wants to put as much sense in one sentence as she can. No matter who she is turning to, her phrases cannot be called meaningless. Shisuka’s speech is sometimes filled out with negations. It says about her hidden desire to avoid some specific situation, to refuse from understanding something important.

Returning to Shisuka’s way of speech, several sentences are going to be offered as the examples. Being informative, Shisuka’s sentences are grammatically correct. Here is a dialog between Miki’s father, Tadohiko, and Miki’s mother, Shisuka, to show the difference in their communication styles, even though their age and education is similar.

The situation is as follows, the mother is called to school. Parents do not know for sure what is going to be there, but they know that it is connected with the pregnancy of their daughter. This dialog perfectly discloses the characters of the participants of the communication, their reaction to stressful situations. Much information can be considered from the language itself, as well as the intonations the participants use.

F (Father): if the school’s found out, after all… it might be a simple course consultation, or a request for help with bazaar.

M (Mother): I guess not. Eh? There’s no other reason to be called in.

F: How can you… say with such a calm expression?

M: Panicking won’t change the situation, right (Ken, Chizu, Toya, & Noriyoshi, 2006)?

The monolog in the hospital, where Shisuka talks to her daughter about responsibility also deserves attention, “When raising a baby, there is no break. Look… There’s days off from schools or companies, right? But… with a baby there is none. Coz’ if you’re absent-minded for even a moment, it might die. It’s such a small, weak life. Can you raise one? As you are now, can you raise one?” (Ken, Chizu, Toya, & Noriyoshi, 2006).

Considering the information in this monologue from stylistic points of view, it is possible to notice many words with negative meaning (e.g. die, weak, absent-minded) and negations. Using those words and forms, mother wanted to impact her daughter mentally, on the consciousness level. This shows us that mother is a clever woman, apart from the father who cried on his daughter thinking that such behaviour would give any results.


Dwelling upon the results of our research, we are going to rely on the information and results obtained in other specific research. To begin with, it should be mentioned that considering the use of language, intonation, and pronunciation, tone and vocabulary used in the conversations in the first four episodes from the series 14 Sai no Haha much information may be obtained.

Even without looking at people, only listening to their conversations, it is possible to say the age and social position, the level of education and the literacy of those who take part in communication.

The similarity in language used by father and daughter is observed. Both of them use too many exclamations, both of them apply the same words in the same situations, and similarly react to the events. This conclusion may be applied to the research conducted by Mancilla-Martinez and Lesaux (2011) who have proved that the vocabulary of children is formulated at home at the age of 4 years.

Three of four subjects used short phrases in their communication. Watt (2010) explains this by the impact of innovative technologies. Using the Internet as the means for communication, people get used to use short phrases which are easier for typing. Therefore, people do not notice how such way of communication comes into their lives.

Thus, being high school students, Miki and Satoshi use online communication like all students do it. Miki’s father uses the Internet for communicating as the part of his job. Working as a waiter, Miki’s mother got used to live conversations and short meaningless phrases are not met in her talk.

Gender also plays much in the conversations and the choice of the words. Considering the dialog between Miki and Satoshi presented in the results section, and other conversations, especially those which were held between Miki’s mother and a school director, it may be seen that women are more polite, their language is more affective, wile men prefer to operate with facts and strictly express their opinion.

The same conclusions are drawn in the research based on Chinese personal letters written by men and women (Cao, 2007). At the same time, individual, microsocial and macrosocial environment also impacts the choice of words (de Luna & Suberbiola, 2008). Language used at school before the whole class differs from that Miki uses when she quarrels with her friend, the quarrel also takes place at school.

Thus, when the whole class looks at Miki, she speaks in a polite matter, choosing the words which suits the situation and do not sound sharp. However, while quarrel because of a disk, girl used another language. The words were stronger and their negative meaning was directed at each other.

One of the main outcomes of this research is the possibility to draw a conclusion that home communication impacts students’ choice of words in classroom. Having a mother who expresses her thoughts strictly, with sentences full of meaning, Miki also tries to use this pattern in her communication.

This is seen during her radio program. At the same time, school influence is also noticed (Brown, Hammond, & Onlkama, 1997; Changying, 2010). Lovelace (2006) is sure that the differences in cultural patterns at school and at home may bring a number of problems in the choice of language and communication in general. However, watching the series, no specific differences were connoted. Vice versa, the similarity in attitude in the respect to many issues is observed.


In conclusion, it should be stated that the research conducted on the basis of the Japanese television series 14 Sai no Haha or 14 Year Old Mother has shown that human choice of language depends on many factors. First of all, the situation plays much role. Appearing in various circumstances, people think differently, and the use of their language becomes purposeful.

Thus, to reach specific goals people use different constructions, intonations, and even grammatical forms. Moreover, the language depends from the gender. Women tend to express their feelings and ideas more emotionally, more polite, while men prefer to use factual language, without stylistic devices, etc. The language of teenagers is shorter and more impressive. The influence of innovative technologies is seen.

Therefore, the use of language in communication helps consider much about a person, his/her social status, education, etc. Further research should be conducted with the reference to the impact of human language by globalization, innovative technologies and media referring to the real-life situations. Much attention should be paid to the differences in the age groups of the subjects.

Reference List

Berns, M. (2000). Sociolinguistics. In Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching & Learning (pp. 555-560). New York: Taylor & Francis Ltd / Books.

Brown, Z. A., Hammond, O. W., & Onlkama, D. L. (1997). Language use at home and school: A synthesis of research for pacific educators. Pacific Resources for Education and Learning, pp. 1-26.

Cao, X. (2007). The effect of age and gender on the choice of address forms in Chinese personal letters. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 11(3), 392-407.

Changying, L. (2010). Home Language: A Stigma or a Vehicle to Literacy? Literacy Learning: The Middle Years, 18(1), 26-40.

de Luna, I., & Suberbiola, P. (2008). Measuring student language use in the school context. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 21(1), 59-68.

Fong, E. (2010). Changing intergroup relations with Mainland Chinese: An analysis of changes in Hong Kong movies as a popular cultural discourse. Multilingua, 29(1), 29-53.

Ken, M., & Chizu, A. (Producers), & Toya, S. & Noriyoshi, S. (Directors). (2006). 14 Sai no Haha. [Television series]. Tokyo: NTV.

Lovelace, S. R. (2006). Cultural discontinuity between home and school language socialization patterns: Implications for teachers. Education, 127(2), 303-309.

Mancilla-Martinez, J., & Lesaux, N. K. (2011). Early home language use and later vocabulary development. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103(3), 535-546.

Watt, H. (2010). How Does the Use of Modern Communication Technology Influence Language and Literacy Development? A Review. Contemporary Issues in Communication Science & Disorders, 38, 141-148.

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