While talking, the Japanese often suck air through their teeth or in between their tongue and the alveolar fridge/palate but are generally very reluctant to admit it. Contrary to their belief that only male adults suck air, it is found that in reality, many people, for example, some young female speakers, suck air, as exemplified in the following movie. Let us tentatively term this action as "air-supping."
An example of air-supping by a female student
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Male: yappa Shindai-ni kuru-no-ga Osaka-no hito-ga
Female: [sss] so-nan-ka-naa. demo nanka Osakaben-to Kobeben-no
chi nee, hanashi-te-ru-no kii-te-temo yoku waken-nai.
In many cases, Japanese air-supping is a meaningful communicative action; however, its meaning differs from those observed in English and Chinese. Japanese air-supping acts as a filler, politeness marker, and hedge.
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