Japanese-Language Education around the Globe - Vol.11 Summaries

Contributed Theses

A Study on Improving Communication Ability in Conversation Classes: An Approach through a Discussion Program

ARAI Yoshiko (Lecturer, Soochow University, Taiwan)

This paper deals with improving communication ability through a discussion program for Japanese major students at Soochow University, Taiwan. There are four phases in communication ability: reading and understanding, transmission, comprehension, and discussion. In this paper, a discussion program requires students to present a briefing on a specified topic, discuss the contents in the class, and finally reach a conclusion. In order to examine the final results, four propositions were made:

  1. (1)Training for comprehension and briefing abilities is needed to improve communication ability.
  2. (2)Comprehension and transmission abilities are needed to improve communication ability.
  3. (3)Improving communication ability starts with listening to others' talking. Therefore,training for listening and comprehension is needed.
  4. (4)Communication is a way to reach mutual understanding.

After conducting discussions 40 times, the above propositions proved to be valid. It required careful and advance preparation students working in pairs. In general, Taiwanese use less aizuchi than Japanese during conversations. But when conversing in a foreign language (in Japanese), the listener's aizuchi, nod, or smile can ease the speaker's nervousness. This is particularly noticeable for students without confidence.


Basic Research on the Use of the Mother Tongue by TaiwaneseTeachers of Japanese: An Analysis of Conversation Classes

YEN Hsingyueh (Graduate Student, Graduate School of Education, Hiroshima University)

This basic research inverstigates probabilities and limitations in the use of the mother tongue for teaching Japanese. Specifically, it identifies the actual extent of the use of the mother tongue by Taiwanese teachers of Japanese and "categorizes the use of mother tongue" through overall analysis of actual teaching activities. For this purpose, classroom observations and an analysis were conducted in conversation classes in universities in Taiwan,especially,in the sophomore Japanese courses.
As a result, the six teaching activities in which the mother tongue was most frequently used are (a) comparison of language structures between Japanese and Chinese, (b) translation of teacher's explanation and instructions, (c) creating a relaxed classroom environment,(d) explanation of Japanese culture, (e) explanation of grammar, and (f) questions to confirm student's understanding. It is especially interesting that translation activities of teacher's explanation and instructions observed in point (b) were not only about contents of the lessons. This is because this type of mother tongue usage has not been observed in previous research and needs further investigation to determine whether or not it is desirable for learners. In addition, there is a small difference between my results that conclude that teachers frequently use their mother tongue and the results by Gan (1999) where the teachers sometimes use their mother tongue to create a relaxed classroom environment. One of the reasons for this might be that Taiwanese teachers are not conscious of their use of their mother tongue. Teachers should also be extremely careful in how they use the learner's mother tongue to achieve a relaxed environment where the learners are able to participate in the classroom activities.


An Attempt to Construct a Japanese Pronunciation Anxiety Scale: The Case of University Students in Thailand

OGAWARA Yoshiro (The National Institute for Japanese Language Department of Teaching Japanese as a Second Language)

The purpose of this study is to devise a scale that can measure the anxiety of students when pronouncing Japanese and that can be used as a diagnostic test at the beginning of a Japanese class.
Three hundred fifty-seven students learning Japanese language at universities in Thailand who have never visited Japan were asked to answer a questionnaire that contained 58 items of Japanese pronunciation anxiety.
With factor analysis, the following five types of anxiety were extracted from those items: (1) lack of skills for learning pronunciation, (2) evaluation by peers in a class evironment in Japan, (3) lack of skills in pronunciation in a class environment in Japan, (4) evaluation by a peer, and (5) comparison with peers. In the questionnaire, two different learning environments were set up for the items: one is to learn Japanese in Thailand and the other in Japan. These environmental settings were not identified as a factor that affects the student's anxiety but the analysis suggested that the lack of skills for learning pronunciation, evaluation by peers, and comparison with peers were crucial factors that raised anxiety.
Using the obtained data, two scales of Japanese Pronunciation Anxiety were constructed: (1) 3 subscales that contain 18 items designed for students in Thailand and (2) 2 subscales that contain 12 items for students in Japan. The detailed examinations of the appropriateness of the proposed items,the correlation between the subscales, and the relationship among the score of subscales, length of time spent of learning Japanese, amount of Japanese spoken and self-evaluation score of the students on their pronunciation ability showed that the scales are valid for measuring the student's anxiety.


Fossilization of Interlanguage and Mechanism of SLA

MORIYAMA Shin (Lecturer, Department of Japanse Language & Literature, Sejong Universtiy)

The purpose of this study is to investigate the SLA mechanism through the analysis of fossilization (stabilization) of interlanguage. I examined how native Korean speakers who studied Japanese acquired the usage of case particle -ga when used with possible verbs "jozu (be good at) / heta (be poor at)," "suki (like) / kirai (dislike)," and -tai (want to) form of verbs. According to my research, in the case of possible verbs and -tai form of verbs, incorrect usage of -wo continued for a longer time and fossilization occurred earlier. On the other hand, in the case of "jozu / heta" and "suki / kirai," the transformation,which is the correct usage of -ga particle,took place easily and smoothly because fossilization did not occur very often nor remain long.
One possible cause of fossilization is a cognitive factor that learners use in the process of acquisition. This factor comes from the acquisitive schema difference, especially, the difference between intransitive and transitive verbs, which makes schema transformation and language learning more difficult and slower. The identifying similarities between the first language and the second language might be useful for a successful schema change.


Discourse Development Structure of Letters of Apology: Contrastive Analysis between Letters by Intermediate-Level Japanese Language Students and Japanese Native Writers

NISHIMURA Fumiko (Lecturer, Department of East Asian Studies, The University of Waikato)
KASHIMA Megumi (Lecturer, Mie University, Center for International Students)

This paper contrasts the way intermediate-level Japanese language student (JS hereafter) and Japanse native writers (JN hereafter) construct letters of apology. The data,based on 58 of JS and 51 of JN, were analysed in terms of discourse development structure. The greeting parts were excluded. Each writer was given the following situation. A book, borrowed from a teacher in Tokyo, has not been promptly returned by the writer; it will now be returned in person since the writer plans to visit Tokyo. The following three differences between the data were found.

  1. 1) JS translate the situation in a way which mimics the original presentation whereas JN shuffle the order of the information they receive in constructing their letters. As a result, there are more variations among JN.
  2. 2) Various usages of coherence markers (e.g.,sate) were observed in JN, but not in JS, when the new information comes up in the letter.
  3. 3) In apologizing for not returning the book promptly, JS gave simple explanations whereas JN gave detailed excuses. The excuse comes after an apology in JS,and it comes before an apology in JN.

Various interpretations of these results are given. Firstly, JS do not try to interpret the situation, but JN do and inject their own interpretation into the letter's construction. Secondly, the absence of markers in JS may be due to insufficient awareness of coherence or grammar or cultural custom. A further point is that JS may lack the sociolinguistic knowledge to apologize and excuse themselves in Japanese. Finally, JS may derive an influence from their mother tongue, English.


Discourse Analysis of Utterance by Advanced- and Superior-Level Japanese Non-native Speakers and Japanese Native Speakers Based on ACTFL-OPI Criteria

OGIWARA Chikako (Lecturer, Waseda University International Education Center)
SAITO Mariko (Professor, Bunka Women's University)
MASUDA Masako (Lecturer, Chuo University International Center)
YONEDA Yukiyo (Lecturer, Osaka University, International Student Center)
ITO Tokumi (Education Manager, Iwatani College of Business)

This research was conducted by a group of Japanese-language Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) testers certified by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). The purpose of the research is to clarify major characteristics of advanced- and superior-level non-native speakers.
This research began by selecting tapes that represent typical lower advanced, middle advanced, upper advanced, and superior speech for detailed analysis. Tapes of Japanese native speakers were also selected and included for comparison.
This article first categorizes the topics or themes of conversation into three fields: (1) predictable, familiar topics; (2) topics of personal general interest; and (3) wide range of general-interest topics. Second, in relation to these categorized content fields, this research explains the discourse structure, the rate of success in structuring an extended discourse and a paragraph, the variety of conjunctions, kango, and wago used,idiomatic expressions and onomatopoeic words used, and the number and the types of self-corrections.
The result of this research shows a clear picture of major characteristics of advanced and superior-level speakers. It also suggests the feature of the progress from advanced to superior levels. Distinct difference was observed between advanced and superior level speakers in discourse structure, usage of abstract expressions, self-corrections, usage of conjunctions, and grammatical mistakes. In case of accomplishments of the tasks and the text types in treating the second field theme, clear difference was observed between advanced-low and advanced-mid speakers. Whereas in case of the text types in treating the third field theme, there was a clear distinction between advanced-mid and advanced-high speakers.
The above results suggest the existence of some other levels than the one described in OPI criteria.


The Use of Information from Background Reading Texts in the Writing of Korean Learners of Japanese: A Comparison of Proficient and Less-Proficient Readers

HACHIWAKA Sumiko (Lecturer,Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University,College of Asia Pacific Management)

This study examines how proficient and less-proficient readers use information from multiple background sources in their respective writing in Japanese.
Thirty-nine Korean students of intermediate-level Japanese read three source texts and then wrote reports based on these texts. The two groups were compared for differences in quantity of information drawn from the sources and types of transformation of the text (quotations, original explanations, paraphrasing,almost copying, exact copying).
The results demonstrate the following differences between the groups.

  1. 1.Proficient readers included significantly more information from the sources than less-proficient readers.
  2. 2. Less-proficient readers copied significantly more but "paraphrased" less than proficient readrers.
  3. 3.Proficient readers used information from the sources more appropriately.

Test Anxiety in Japanese-Language Class Oral Examinations

MACHIDA Sayuki (Coordinator of Japanese Language Program,University of Melbourne, Mials,Australia)

The current research investigates situation specific oral examination anxiety in a foreign-language learning situation and how a particular type of language anxiety --- anxiety in oral communication --- impacts on learners' oral performance. The subjects are first-year Japanese-language course students at tertiary level in Australia. Questionnaire surveys were conducted to obtain: a) the learners' background and motivation, b) their anxiety in foreing-language classes, c) their anxiety toward oral examinations, and d) the anxiety they actually felt in an oral examination. The objectives of the study are to investigate relationships 1) between these learner affective factors and the scores of the oral examinations and 2) among these affective factors in the oral examinations. The results indicated that state anxiety felt in the examination had a significant negative correlation to the learners' examination results, and furthermore state anxiety can be a strong predictor of learners' performance in an examination. Examinations of subgroups according to gender, nationality, first language, prior foreign-language experience, and oral examination scores revealed that anxiety affected performance in the oral examination in combination with motivation levels.


Aizuchi Used in Discussions: Differences between Native Japanese and Korean Learners of Japanese

LEE Sun-a (Graduate Student, Nagoya University))

In this paper, I investigate two kinds of aizuchi, i.e., "concordant aizuchi" and "emphatic aizuchi." I examine the differences between native speakers of Japanese and Korean learners of Japanese in the frequency of use of these two kinds of aizuchi in discussions. The results can be summarized as follows.

  1. 1. The native Japanese listener uses concordant aizuchi to show agreement with facts and examples given by the speaker to support the speaker's opinion even when the listener disagrees with the content of the opinion itself.The Japanese listener also uses emphatic aizuchi to show that he/she is really interested in the speaker's opinion. This kind of listener behavior helps create a comfortable environment in which the speaker can state his/her opinion.
  2. 2. In contrast, Korean learners of Japanese use the two kinds of aizuchi more when the speaker gives facts and examples that support the listener's opinion to confirm the validity of his/her position.

The above differences in the decision mechanism for the use of aizuchi can cause some trouble in communication between native Japanese and Korean learners of Japanese.


A Study of the Difference between Japanese and Korean Adversative Clauses "Nagara" and "Myonso" in Japanese Education as a Second Language

JUNG Hyeseon and SAKAGUCHI Masako (Doctoral Course Students, Osaka Prefecture University)

In this paper, we will compare the Korean adversative clause "myonso" and the Japanese "nagara." Korean learners of Japanese make mistakes in sentences including "nagara" due, we believe, to the difference between "nagara" and three pattern dependent clauses in Korean, "myonso" "myo" and "go." This paper is especially concerned with two main styles of adversative clauses: Korean "myonso" and Japanese "nagara."
Also, we will seek to make a clear distinction between the different usages of the two styles by the following two points of view:
1. Special usage in Korean,
2. The verb's durative aspect.
The results of the study are as follows:

  Starting point Adjunction Simultaneous
Adjunc-
tion
Incommensurate
conjunction
Main clause Dependence clause
Reverse
conjunc-
tion
Incom-
menserate
conjunc-
tion
Continu-
ance
Moment Continu-
ance
Moment Back
ground
Nagara - - + - + - + - -
Myonso + + + + + + + + +

A Contrastive Study of the Grammaticalization of Receptive Verbs: The Bekommen-Passive in German and the Morau-Causative in Japanese

NISHINA Yoko (Japanese Lecturer, University of Erfurt, Germany)

A Contrastive Study of the Grammaticalization of Receptive Verbs --- The bekommen-passive in German and the morau-causative in Japanese.
Both in German and in Japanese, receptive verbs are commonly used with a non-finite verb to express a benefactive relation.However, such a benefactive construction developed in different and contrastive ways in the two languages.
In German, we find a subcategory that is part of the passive category but without a notion of benefactivity. In Japanese, however, the outcome of the development, a causative construction, retains its benefactive meaning. Furthermore, the exclusive benefactive meaning raises the agentivity of the recipient, changing its semantic role to that of a causative agent (causer). In contrast, the established bekommen-passive in German is syntactically conditioned and differs in distribution to the canonical werden-passive in that it transforms other syntactic functions. In both cases, polysemy remains, as do restrictions in the subcategories, which is a property of synchronic grammaticalization.
This paper shows how auxiliarization establishes a grammatical subcategory and explains which factors promote grammaticalization. This is done by defining the role of the recipient in subject position, which behaves differently in accordance with the different functions of the auxiliary constructions.


A Semantic Analysis of Adverbs and Adverbial-Expressions: "Omowazu," "Muishikini," "Wareshirazu,"
"Shirazushirazu," "Itsunomanika,"and "Itsushika"

LEE Tackung (Graduate Student, Nagoya University Graduate School of Language and Cultures)

The purpose of this paper is to describe the individual meanings of the adverbs and adverbial-expressions, omowazu, muishikini, wareshirazu, shirazushirazu, itsunomanika, and itsushika and semantic relations among these expressions. To summarize the results:

  1. 1.Muishikini can indicate various levels of unconsciousness.
  2. 2.Omowazu is used to show the instantaneity of the speaker's reaction to a stimulus.
  3. 3. Shirazushirazu requires the passage of time while a situation has changed into another.
  4. 4.For wareshirazu,the restriction of its uses is looser than those of omowazu and shirazushirazu.
  5. 5.Itsunomanika is used when the speaker focuses on the result of the conceived situational change, whereas itsushika focuses on the starting-point of the change.

Expressions of Anger: A Semantic Analysis of "Hara ga tatsu," "Atama ni kuru," and "Mukatsuku"

BABA Noriko (Graduate Student, Nagoya University Graduate School of Language and Cultures)

The three expressions of anger "hara ga tatsu," "atama ni kuru," and "mukatsuku" have the following two common features:

  1. (1)Among other expressions of anger, only these can be used in the dictionary form to express a state of mind, with or without a complement.
  2. (2) Unlike other expressions of anger, these can hardly be used to describe a third person's state of mind,even if these are put in the "-teiru" form, which, according to Machida (1989), adds a descriptive meaning to emotive expressions.

Based on Yanagisawa's theory of the descriptive meaning of "-teiru" form and on Kamio's theory of "territory of information," we can characterize the nature of these three expressions as continuous to stative verbs on the one hand, and as continuous to emotive adjectives on the other hand.
These synonymous expressions, nevertheless,have such differences.

  1. (1) Only "Hara ga tatsu" takes "self" as an object of emotion and thereby expresses self-reflective anger.
  2. (2)"Atama ni kuru" focuses on the moment of occurrence of anger.
  3. (3)"Mukatsuku" originally expresses nausea,and then metaphorically disgust. So, it focuses on the similarity of anger to physical illness.

On Subjectivity of Sentence-Final Elements in Modern Japanese: "Yooda," "Sooda," "Bekida," "Tsumorida," "Kamoshirenai," and "Nichigainai"

SUGIMURA Yasushi (Graduate School of Languages and Cultures, Nagoya University)

This paper investigates of sentence-final elements in modern Japanese "yooda," "sooda," "bekida," "tsumorida," "kamoshirenai," and "nichigainai" from the viewpoint of subjectivity. In preceding studies, these words were all classified as modality that express the speaker's attitude toward the proposition.
This paper, however, has worked from a slightly different angle. The point I wish to make is that "yooda" (conjecture) and "nichigainai" function as modality, but "yoo-da" (mode), "soo-da," "beki-da," "tsumori-da," and "kamoshirenai-(ph)" classify as propositions if "-(ph)" or "-da" is removed. There is good evidence to show the differences among them. To take "yooda" (conjecture) and "bekida" for example, "yooda" (conjecture) is not an object of the speaker's attitude, while "bekida" is.

  1. (1)a.* [Seifu ga keikitaisaku wo suru yoo] dewanai.
    b. [Seifu ga keikitaisaku wo suru beki] dewanai.
  2. (2)a.* Kokumin wa [seifu ga keikitaisaku wo suru yoo] ka dooka wo kangaeta.
    b. Kokumin wa [seifu ga keikitaisaku wo suru beki] ka dooka wo kangaeta.

For these reasons, I conclude that "yoo" (mode), "soo," "beki," "tsumori," and "kamoshirenai-" should be classified as proposition.


Foreign Students' Japanese and Cultural Acquisition: A Study in Cultural Influence on Images and Language

YAMAGUCHI Kazuyo (Assistant Professor, Faculty of Policy Studies, Nanzan University)

The objective of this paper is to investigate the influence of cultural factors on speech through two related studies: (1) a study of Japanese expressions used by foreign students from China and Taiwan, and (2) an analysis of the images these two groups of students have of Japanese people of each other.
Subjects evaluated included: graduate students from China and Taiwan,Japanese graduate students, and Japanese office workers. The subjects were asked to describe their images of each other and of themselves in five words and then to complete the Discourse Completion Test. Some subjects from each group were also interviewed. First, I analyze the results of the image evaluations, and then I analyze the results of the expression test and interviews.
The findings derived from the study on images show that the Chinese and Taiwanese students tested have some stereotypical images of Japanese people. In addition, the results show that Chinese and Taiwanese students have different images of each other --- contrary to the commonly held belief that they are all of one "Chinese culture." Similar to the image study, the results of the expression test and interviews also demonstrated that cultural backgrounds and priorities influence the expressions used in Japanese. The subjects often unconsciously chose expressions in Japanese that were determined by the rules and value systems that prevail in their own cultures. Thus, a stereotypical or one-sided image of other cultures was sometimes presented.
In a similar way, even teaching staff, administrative staff, and clerical workers who assist foreign students on a daily basis are often unaware of their own cultural bias in evaluating foreign students. To help make academic and daily life a positive experience for foreign students, university staff must become more aware of these issues. We all should be sensitive to the fact that most people act unconsciously according to their own set of cultural values, and that the priorities of one's own culture are most likely different from those of other cultures.

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