Japanese-Language Education around the Globe - Vol.5 Summaries

Contributed Theses

Attitudes toward Bilingual and Multicultural Aspects of Japanese-Language Policy and Teaching to Non-Native Children in Japan

NOYAMA Hiroshi (Graduate Student, Department of Japanese Studies, Monash University, Australia)

This study reports on attitudes toward bilingual/multicultural aspects of Japanese-language policy and teaching to non-native children in Japan in terms of Australian language policy, which is based on multiculturalism. The data was gathered by questionnaire and a follow-up interview after I observed language classes. The questionnaire method of gathering data was used and involved eighteen foreign students who need to learn Japanese as a second language from years 1 and 9 at Ômiya city and twenty-six teachers who work at the following three teaching places: elementary or junior-high school at Ômiya city in Saitama, Kokusai Kyûen Sentâ at Shinagawa in Tokyo, and Chûgoku Kikoku Koji Teichaku Sokushin Sentâ at Tokorozawa in Saitama.
The results of analysis show that parents of most students feel that they would like to have their children become bilingual. Moreover, most teachers welcomed the opportunity to offer a JSL (Japanese as a Second Language) class that is based on bilingualism or multiculturalism for non-native children. Most of the teachers strongly agreed with the idea of maintaining or facilitating contact with people of different nationalities even though there is an adequate language policy within the educational system to enable non-native children to live in an environment that is conducive to acquiring sociolinguistic and cultural competence.
In addition, I will examine this kind of survey of both language learners and teachers using questionnaires and follow-up interviews, which play a significant role in identifying intercultural problems that happen among non-native children. Furthermore, the results of this survey strongly support developing a Japanese language policy based on bilingualism and multiculturalism.
In the discussion and recommendation section, recommendations are made for changing the language education policy, which includes supporting economic budgets and fostering progress in non-native Children's Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) as soon as possible.
In the conclusion section, it is recommended that it would be desirable for some further study to be undertaken on other elements of the language life of non-native children and the significance of such a study is highlighted.


How Should the Japanese Language Be Taught in European Universities? Invitation to an' Irregular Immersion' Program

(TAKESHITA Toshiaki Associate Professor, University of Bologna, Italy)

First I describe the circumstances, as I see them, of Japanese and other modern foreign language teaching at the Faculties of Humanities in European universities, then I argue that if we hope to see foreign language instruction promoted from its present secondary rank of importance to an equal footing with that of any other subject, it should not be based totally and exclusively on corrent approaches to language teaching, but must essentially be 'content-oriented' because of the academic tradition in these Faculties. A program like that of French immersion in Canada may have these requisites, but since the Japanese language program at the University of Bologna is far too small for an immersion as it should be, I have developed something like it, which I call 'irregular immersion' ; unlike a regular one, it is characterized by not making students acquire knowledge directly through a foreign language (in our case, Japanese).
Our 'irregular immersion' program requires a pair of texts strictly correlated with each other. One is in learners' mother tongue. It aims to inform students, and to give Japanese terminology in kanji, in some field of Japanese studies. The other is a summary in concise Japanese of the contents of the above material. This immersion has the advantage of allowing us to deal with contents at a relatively early stage of language education without resorting to translation. At the University of Bologna, for example, the 'irregular immersion' phase is implemented after about 160 hours of language training strictly aimed at acquiring basic proficiency.


A Case Study of the Effectiveness of the "Audio-Tape Correspondence" An Example: A "Japanese for Business" Course in Hong Kong

UEDA Kazuko (Lecturer, Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics,
City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
)

The "Audio-Tape Correspondence" is an approach aiming at improving the oral proficiency of students of Japanese in learning through the means of an interactive audio record of exchanges between them and the teacher. This paper will report on the results observed through the use of "Audio-Tape Correspondence" in a "Japanese for Business" course in Hong Kong.
Methodology
In order to provide interactive stimuli, the teacher gives each student various tasks through the use of audio-tape recordings. Recording topics are then given according to each student's individual language level and interests. The teacher then responds to students on the tape as if in audio correspondence. The student next continues to record on the tape following the teacher's instructions.
Following the audio-tape correspondence, the student next gives classroom oral presentations, not only on everyday topics, but on academic issues.
Through observation, the author has found that "Audio-Tape Correspondence" has been effective in enhancing students' speech levels, especially in developing their oral skills for rendering extensive texts. These results may be attributed to more qualitatively-based learning activities provided through this approach. This paper will also examine the importance of the active student's role as a sender of information to an audience.


Communication Strategies: Are They Worth Teaching?

OHASHI Jun (Teaching Fellow, Department of Japanese, University of Stirling, Scotland, U.K.)

This paper attempts to verify the significance of communication strategies in language classes, the most neglected component of communicative competence, and account for their teaching implications based on data collected at Stirling University. Tasks were assigned to learners of Japanese and native speakers of Japanese to see their strategy types. Based on the data obtained from the tasks, the following comparisons are made:

  1. 1.Communication strategies by the learners immediately after being taught through the audio-lingual approach and by the same learners six months later, after having been encouraged to use communication strategies in class.
  2. 2.Communication strategies by the L1 speakers and by the L2 learners.
    And the following noteworthy points are drawn from the analysis of the data.
    • The choice of the strategy types is as important as grammatical accuracy.
    • What determines the learner's choice of strategies is not his preference, but is more likely to be his linguistic constraints.
    • Variability between the learner's choice of strategy types and those of L1 speakers narrowed after conscious teaching of communication strategies in class.
  3. 3.EE In addition, conscious teaching of communication strategies changed the learners' attitudes toward their language learning. It suggests the necessity of further research focusing on the correlation between communication strategies and learning strategies.

The Effectiveness of Journal Writing in Learning Japanese in a University Setting

SAKAMOTO Emi (Instructor, Centre for Applied Language Studies, Carleton University, Canada)

Numerous case studies have reported on the effectiveness or journal writing in various fields since the late 1960s. Journal writing has been used not only in language arts subjects but also in non-language fields in order to develop learners' knowledge in respective subject areas. In particular, many studies have concentrated on the use of journals in various levels of ESL(English as a Second Language) classes. However, although there are many studies showing that journal writing is an excellent tool to improve students' language acquisition, little has been reported on the use of the journal in foreign-language learning. This paper explores a new area of journal writing research in a foreign-language setting and shows evidence of effectiveness of journal writing at an early stage of learning Japanese as a foreign language.
The paper examines the effectiveness of journal writing in an introductory Japanese-language course conducted at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, from 1991 to 1993. Students were encouraged to try to use the language they had learned in order to communicate with native speakers. Students were instructed that the focus on the journal writing was on its content and not on the accuracy of their language use. They were given freedom to choose any topic of their interest and write about it.
This paper provides evidence indicating that journal writing is an effective tool in developing language skills even at an early stage of foreign-language learning. I believe that this student-centered quality of journal writing is one of the key elements of its growing use over more traditional teacher-centered approach.


Against Marking Accent Locations in Japanese Textbooks

HASEGAWA Yoko (Assistant Professor, Department of East Asian Languages, University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A.)

Most textbooks of introductory Japanese mention that Japanese is a pitch-accent language, Where every syllable in a word is either high- or low-pitched, and accent location is signaled by the last high-pitched syllable ; e.g., tosho'kan 'library' has the L-H-L-L pitch configuration. They also mention that high vowels are devoiced in certain phonological environments; e.g., kusa 'grass' is pronounced as [kwsa]. These two characterizations result in pronunciations which are unattainable, namely high-pitched devoiced vowels; e.g., shi'ki 'four seasons' has the H-L pattern. The fact that native listeners do hear an accent on a devoiced syllable indicates that associating an accent invariably with a high pitch cannot be an accurate description of the language. This paper discusses how Japanese accent is actually realized and argues that marking accent locations in textbooks without a detailed explanation about accent is merely an extra complication that introductory textbooks should avoid.


Kanji Learning Strategies and Student Beliefs on Kanji Learning

OKITA Yoko (Doctoral Student, Department of East Asian Language and Literature,
University of Hawaii at Manoa, U.S.A.
)

This study investigated kanji learning strategies used by students of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and their beliefs on kanji learning. In general the students used strategies for learning shapes of kanji more frequently than strategies for learning readings of kanji. The students utilized the rich environment of the Japanese language in Hawaii. "On" and "kun" readings were studied separately. The first-year students used flash cards significantly more frequently. The second-year students remembered the pages or places where they saw kanji significantly more frequently. The third-year students used a dictionary and tried to understand Japanese without translation significantly more frequently. Significantly more students agreed that Japanese scripts shouId be introduced at the beginning of instruction. Significantly more students disagreed about learning Japanese scripts after acquiring spoken Japanese. Significantly more students worried about not knowing the reading of a kanji even if they understood the meaning of that kanji. Significantly more students agreed that knowledge of radicals enhances kanji learning. Student beliefs on kanji learning did not agree with those of some researchers and teachers. These results suggest the importance of: l) developing kanji-teaching methods based on kanji shapes, 2) introducing Japanese scripts from the very beginning of instruction, 3) creating a rich kanji environment in and out of class, and 4) taking account of student beliefs on language learning in classroom instruction.


Study or Kanji Pattern Recognition and Kanji Acquisition among Non-Kanji Area Students

TAKAGI Hiroko
(Associate Professor, Department of Liberal Arts, Yamagata University, Japan)

Past studies of the comprehension of kanji among non-kanji-area students reached the conclusion that the ability to recognize kanji shape patterns played a role in kanji acquisition. Nevertheless, issues such as the manner in which pattern recognition affected the learning progress and how such pattern recognition could be enhanced remained outstanding questions.
The objective of this study was to clarify the connection between pattern recognition and the learning process itself. It was carried out by testing the capacity of non-kanji area students to recognize kanji Patterns under an experimental format and by trying out instructional approaches that incorporated modes that were expected to boost kanji-pattern recognition. The experiment rated the efficacy of the instructional methodology for kanji-pattern recognition as a factor in kanji acquisition on the basis of pre- and post-instructional test scores.
It can be concluded from this study that increasing the kanji pattern recognition among non-kanji area students will boost their acquisition and comprehension of kanji. These findings underscore the need for the introduction of methodologies aimed to boost the the pattern-recognition capacity of such students in the course of their studies of kanji.


A Comparison of Phonemes and Prosody in the Evaluation of Spoken Japanese

SATO Tomonori (Doctoral Candidate, Tohoku University Graduate School, Japan)

This study sets out to clarify whether phonemes or prosody has the greater impact on the native Japanese speakers' evaluation of the spoken Japanese of foreigners. I have conducted the following experiment for the purposes of teaching Japanese phonetics to foreign learners of Japanese. The experiment takes the following form:
l) the preparation of the text to be read by native Chinese, Korean, and Japanese (Tokyo) informants; 2) the analysis of the text concerning the three prosodic elements: pitch, length, and intensity; 3) the creation of synthesized sounds in which the various prosodic elements used by the foreigners and the Japanese informants were mixed; 4) using these synthesized sounds in order to clarify which prosodic elements have a larger influence in the evaluation of natural Japanese, for which I employed Japanese and intermediate Korean learners of Japanese as subjects for experiment 1; and 5) in order to compare whether phonemes or prosody has a larger influence in this evaluation, I conducted experiment 2 using the same synthesized sounds with Japanese speakers as subjects. In experiment 1, of the three prosodic elements, Japanese speakers evaluated pitch as having the largest influence. From the result of experiment 2, it is clear that the influence of prosody exceeds that of Phone.


Rethinking Kanji: A Comparative Approach

Stefan Kaiser (Professor, University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan)

In comparison with the Chinese writing system, the Japanese system as a whole has hitherto received only comparatively scant attention among the writing systems of the world. Instead, the interest has focused on the kana syllabaries that were developed from it.
This article first takes a brief look at the typology of writing, proceeds to a comparison between the way the Chinese and the other three great "logographic" systems (Egyptian, Sumerian, and Mayan) work, and establishes a number of important differences when compared to the Chinese system, notably the lack of phoneticism in the graphs themselves, and the concomitant early development of their use as auxiliary signs, the so-called phonetic complements. The enormous difference in the number of graphs between Chinese and the other systems is explained by their inherent phoneticism, which also partly explains why a purely phonetic use never developed in the way it did in the other three systems. As a number of writers have proposed previously, the most appropriate term for the Chinese system is morphosyllabic, to be understood as assigning a graph to a syllable in the first instance, and matching this with a morpheme for disambiguation in the second. The validity of this way of thinking is confirmed through evidence from experiments carried out by various authors on Chinese and Sino-Japanese, showing that homophonic errors are noticed significantly less frequently than non-homophonic errors.
An examination of the Japanese system shows that unlike in the Chinese systems, the use of kanji is essentially polyphonous, i.e. one graph can represent more than one sound. Like the Egyptian, Sumerian, and Mayan systems, the Japanese system therefore makes use of disambiguation devices that go beyond mere reliance on context to assist the reader in the decoding process, even if these may obscure morpheme boundaries. The Japanese system has retained the use of logographic kanji in the same way that the Egyptian, Sumerian, and Mayan systems never opted for a purely alphabetic or syllabic system. If we call the Egyptian, Sumerian, and Mayan systems logographic (the term is used to include morphographic), then the Japanese system may be said to be essentially the same. Thus an examination of the nature of the Chinese and Japanese writing systems against the other major systems shows that, despite the fact that both use kanji, they are essentially different systems.


"To" and "Ya"

CHIN Boi (Professor, Beijing University of Foreign Studies, China)

Both the particle "to" and "ya" are used to join words of the same type in Japanese. The former lists things exhaustively, whereas the latter suggests there are other similar things. However, in real usage, a more detailed examination is required.
"To" has two usages. One is when a set of items is not always necessary in order to complete the sentence. The other is the case when a set of items is essential in order to express the meaning.
On the other hand, "ya" has several usages:

  1. (1) to list possibilities ;
  2. (2) to express a different nuance from "to" ;
  3. (3) to express an idea by linking two similar words; and
  4. (4) to replace "to" in order to avoid ambiguity.

A Study of the Particle "Bakari"

CHEN Lian Dong (Lecturer, Department of Japanese Studies, National University of Singapore, Singapore)

In this paper, I have divided the Japanese particle ばかり expressing the meaning "only" or "just" into two parts. The first is called ばかり1 and the second is ばかり2. ばかり1 can be replaced by だけ sometimes, but If ばかり2 can not.
I have proved my argument from the following points. First, there is a different requirement between the two groups of adverbs, namely ただ and いつも ; second, ばかり2 requires the verb to be something special, but ばかり1 may not have this feature. Third, the object that is modified by ばかり1 has the character of SPECIALIZATION (特定化), while that modified by ばかり2 does not necessarily have this SPECIALIZATION.


Two Types of Adversative Connectives in Japanese: Tokoroga and Shikashi

HAMADA Mari (Associate Professor, Osaka University, Japan)

Two different types of adversative connectives in Japanese, tokoroga and shikashi, are analyzed in terms of their semantic source. Findings are as follows: (1) Tokoroga indicates that P and Q are put up contrastively by a speaker with the intention of creating a dramatic effect; (2) Shikashi signals that P and Q show two different aspects, which fall into two contradictive semantic categories and are yet concerned with a single event or subject (P and Q stand for an antecedent and postcendent, respectively.)
In the course of analysis, it is also shown that tokoroga appears only in a certain type of discourse.


A Classification of the "TE-sentences" in Relation to the Degree of Subordination

KATO Yoko (Assistant, International University of Japan, Niigata, Japan)

"TE" is the inflected part of predicates; it connects two predicates but doesn't have any meaning on its own.
Many studies have been done previously, arguing for the classification of complex sentences that have the conjunctive part "TE" (hereinafter referred to as the "TE-sentence" ), focusing on the semantic aspect and explaining the various usages of TE-sentences in detail.
This study, however, argues for cIassifying TE-sentences, not only in terms of the semantic relations that both predicates in each clause realize, but also of the degree of subordination between the subordinate clause and the main clause. This study also discusses the elements that determine the degree.
TE-sentences are divided into five groups, according to their degree of subordination and semantic relations. These groups are: TE1 (which is labeled semantically as "additional conditions"), TE2 (actions that occur in series), TE3 (causes), TE4 (juxtaposed actions or conditions), and TE5 (modal adverbs), The degree ranges from the highest in TE1 to the lowest in TE5.
TE-sentences look the same morphologically. However, the degree of subordination is reflected in the grammatical behavior of the sentences, such as the scope of the following grammatical elements, which are placed at the end of the sentences:

  1. 1.modal auxiliaries, such as "DAROO," "KUDASAI," and "NASAI,"
  2. 2.the modal auxiliary "NA" which involves negation in meaning,
  3. 3.negative morpheme "NAI."

EE This study also refers to the relations between the clauses as follows:

  1. 1.whether the subordinate clause retains its status of clause or is regarded as a modality in a sentence,
  2. 2.logical sequence,
  3. 3.temporal order,
  4. 4.subjects.

These relations concern the degree of subordination of TE-sentences and determine their grouping.


Contact Situation between Brazilian Workers and Japanese: A Case Study

Ellen NAKAMIZU (Graduate Student, Osaka University, Japan)

The sudden increase of Brazilian workers in the Japanese society has caused a lot of consequences that are also remarkable from the sociolinguistic point-of-view. Japanese and Brazilians have been interacting in many situations of daily life. Although the majority of those Brazilians are of Japanese ancestry, they experience serious cultural and language problems. The aim of this research, in its first stage, is to find out how both parts cope with these problems at the discourse level.
It is said that in interactions between native speakers and non-native speakers of a language, the non-native speaker has a tendency to take a passive attitude. This paper analyses a conversation between Brazilians and Japanese, in which a Brazilian with low language skills actively participates in the dialogue through the introduction and development of topics related to Brazil. Furthermore, adopting the concept of "adjustment strategies" (Neustupny), I observe that the adjustment strategies used by the Brazilians to solve communication problems vary according to one main factor: the presence or not of a speaker of Portuguese who acts as an intermediate.
It is important to mention that the study of communication between Japanese and Brazilians must be pursued within the broader scope of multicultural and multilanguage research in Japan.


Comparison of Attitudes toward Back-Channel Behaviors between Koreans and Japanese

YIM Young Cheoul
(Department of Japanese Language and Literature, Chung-Ang University, Korea)
LEE Sun Min
(Department Of Japanese Language, Shin-Il Christian College, Korea))

This thesis examines the practices of back-channel behavior from the sociolinguistic viewpoint. Through interviews and questionnaires on the frequency of back-channel behavior, the images of back-channel behavior and anticipatory expressions among Koreans and Japanese have been studied. Some of the examples clarified in this research are as follows:
First, back-channel behavior of Koreans is very similar to that of Japanese; however, its frequency is higher on the part of Japanese. Both Koreans and Japanese tend to use back-channel behavior more frequently in intimate conversations or informal situations than in other situations.
Next, Koreans tend to judge those who frequently use back-channel behavior negatively, while the Japanese view them positively. Conversely, those who make little use of back-channel behavior Koreans tend to judge positively while the Japanese negatively. Here lies a great difference between Koreans and Japanese.
Finally, what deserves note is that Koreans tend to use anticipatory expressions or speaking-in-other-words more frequently than Japanese do. Also, a sense of incongruity toward anticipatory expressions is higher on the part of the Japanese ; however, among both Koreans and Japanese, the probability of using anticipatory expressions tends to increase in intimate conversations or informal situations when a common ownership of information exists between the speaker and the listener.

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