ビジネス英語における understatement について
Understatement in Business English
Mitsuo Nakamura（Kansai University）
Previous literature on understatement differs in a certain important aspect: some researchers maintain that understatement is typically observed in British English, but others point out that it is commonly observed in American English, too. These different views lead to the following research question: “Is understatement typically observed more in British English than in American English?” In order to answer this question, the author conducted corpus-based research on 16 understatement expressions, which have been regarded as such in previous literature. The research, which utilizes GloWbE, a general English corpus comprised of 1.9 billion words, indicated that most of the understatement expressions examined are used in British English rather than in American English. It is hoped that the research will shed some light on understatement, a linguistic or rhetorical device that may help Japanese business people to write more polite messages when needed.