Japanese-Language Education around the Globe - Vol.12 Summaries

Contributed Theses

Gendered Language in Japanese: Learner Perceptions in Australia

Chihiro Kinoshita Thomson (Head, Department of Japanese and Korean Studies, University of New South Wales, Australia)
IIDA Sumiko (Lecturer, Department of Japanese and Korean Studies, University of New South Wales, Australia)

This paper examines learners' perceptions of gendered language in Japanese based on the survey data of 704 students of Japanese in 6 Australian universities, in relation to the findings of earlier survey data of teachers of Japanese in Australian universities (Iida and Thomson 1999). The findings from this survey reveal that: 1) the learners have varied understandings of what gendered language is in Japanese; 2) their recognition improves on the whole when their level of study advances and when they have had longer in-country experiences; 3) they have, in general, positive attitudes toward gendered language in Japanese; 4) the majority want to learn to recognize and use gendered language in Japanese.
Further analysis shows that one area of recognition that does not improve with the level of study or in-country experiences is the usage of Kanji vocabulary. In this area, conscientious, rather than natural acquisition appears to be necessary. Analysis then shows that more Chinese and Korean background learners, especially female learners, in comparison to other groups, perceive gendered language in Japanese as discrimination. Those who have been discriminated against could be more sensitive to the issue. The analysis also reveals that Australian background learners expressed the most willingness to learn gendered language in Japanese. This could be explained by the fact that the Australian group had the longest in-country experiences on average among all the respondents.
These findings differ somewhat from the findings of the earlier teacher survey. There was variation between and among teachers' and learners' understandings of gendered language in Japanese, and the teachers' concerns for teaching gendered language to Australian students of equal upbringing proved to be unfounded.


The Relationship between Production and Perception of the Stop Voicing Contrast by Korean Learners of Japanese


UEMURA Yoshiko (Part-Time Lecturer, JET Academy and Tokyo International University, Japan Studies Program)

This study examined the relationship between production and perception of Japanese word-initial stops by Korean adult learners. Their perception of a native speaker's speech, as well as that of their own speech, were examined. Eighteen Korean learners produced the word-initial stop voicing contrast, and the accuracy of their production was judged by ten native speakers of Japanese. Those same learners then completed identification tests that judged their perceptual accuracy of their own pre-recorded production (internal perception), as well as their perception of a native Japanese speaker's production (external perception). The results of the comparison among their production, external perception, and internal perception showed that: 1) external perception was more accurate than internal perception; 2) perception precedes production; and 3) there was a correlation between internal perception and production. These findings indicated the importance of examining internal perception to investigate L2 learner's phonetic categorization and the relationship between perception and production. The correlation between production and internal perception that was found in this study suggests that without an accurate internal perceptual categorization to guide the sensorimotor learning of L2 sounds, the production of the L2 sounds will remain inaccurate. This study also provided pedagogical implications such as the importance of self-monitoring for phonetic acquisition.


Lexical Acquisition of the V1 + komu by Highly Advanced Learners of Japanese

MATSUDA Fumiko (Graduate School, Ochanomizu University)

This study focused on V + komu form in Japanese and investigated what semantic areas of the form tend to remain problematic even among highly advanced learners of Japanese. Here, the diverse usages of the suffix -komu were grouped into four semantic categories: (1) the sense of "entering into" (e.g., puuru ni tobi-komu [jump into the pool]), (2) the sense of emphasizing thoroughness (e.g., niwa ni hana wo ue-komu [plant flowers in the garden]), (3) the sense of emphasizing a change of state and the adherence to it. (e.g., damari-komu [fall into silence and remain silent]), and (4) the sense of emphasizing the attainment of the target state though the repetition of the action (e.g., juubun ni hashiri-komu [do the running exercise to one's satisfaction]). These semantic categories are a result of the V and the -komu form.
Procedurally, 54 compound verbs in the form of V + komu were systematically selected, and highly advanced learners of Japanese (5 Chinese and 5 Koreans) were asked to produce simple sentences using those verbs. The overall results show that even though learners know the polysemous usages of the -komu form, they fail to use the form fully. This, in turn, suggests that the semantics of the -komu form cannot be fully acquired through incidental learning, and that some pedagogical devices should be given to learners to acquire semantic intuitions about the form.


Interrelationship between the First- and Second-Language Proficiency in Written Compositions by Young Brazilian Learners of Japanese as a Second Language

IKUTA Yuko (Part-Time Lecturer, Japanese Language Study Course, Chubu University)

This study investigates the interrelationship between first-language (L1) proficiency and second-language (L2) proficiency in the compositions written by Brazilian learners of Japanese as a second language.
In relation to bilingual proficiency of children, Cummins proposed the "interdependence hypothesis," which assumed that there is a Common Underlying Proficiency that operates in two languages. Many researchers have supported Cummins' hypothesis, especially in the decontextualized use of language.
The purpose of this study is to examine which aspect of L1 interrelates and transfers to L2 in written compositions. Subjects consist of 55 Brazilian students attending Japanese public junior high schools whose length of residence is from 1 to 11 years.
The results show the correlation between L1 and L2 in fluency, lexical variety, and quality of discourse organization, which would represent writing skills. There is no correlation, however, in the complexity of sentences and accuracy. Furthermore, the negative transfer is observed from one language to another on the syntactic and lexical level. These results indicate that the maintenance of writing skills in L1 could be effective in the development of those in L2.


Self-Analysis through a Japanese Teaching Diary

OKAWARA Hisashi (Lecturer, Japanese-Language Program for International Students, Daito-Bunka University)

This paper attempted to analyze by both quantitative and qualitative approaches whether and how self-analysis took place through a teaching dairy that was written for a period of one year and eight months by myself as a novice teacher of Japanese as second language in Japan.
In the quantitative analysis (elaborateness of each entry, degree of reflective process, and levels of reflection), entries were gradually elaborated through the whole period. And although the proceeding reflective processes were less apparent, deeper reflective comments were written more frequently in the later period.
In the qualitative analysis, three characteristics of the changing of the reflection in the 9 topics were found. Firstly, some comments on the same topics changed through the time with patterns of a "reflective cycle" model (mapping-informing-contesting-appraising-acting) proposed by Bartlett (1990). Secondly, the reflection changed with more flexible and concrete comments referring the actual classroom teaching. Finally, the reflection came to have wider perspectives.


Teacher's Performance Assessment to Facilitate the Teacher Training Reflective Process

IKEDA Reiko (Visiting Instructor, Faculty of Literature and Education, Ochanomizu University)
OGASA Emiko (Visiting Instructor, Faculty of Japanese Language and Literature, Denen Chofu University)
SUGIURA Masomiko (Graduate School, Ochanomizu University)

The aim of teacher training is to help the teacher trainees develop and improve their teaching practice by themselves. Okazaki, H. & Okazaki, T. (1997) says that teachers' development takes place through the following four-stage cycle: classroom planning, classroom activities, evaluation, and reformation. In the evaluation stage during the training course, however, the teacher trainees usually get passive evaluation from their supervisor. To complete the cycle for development, it is necessary that the teacher trainees get evaluation as they think it really helpful. They should welcome opinions from different point of views for more objective evaluation of their own practice.
We planned and executed a project with the purpose of making teacher trainees conscious of the evaluation system and to help their development by themselves. The point of the project is the positive involvement of the teacher trainees in the evaluation activity. In this project, they were asked to participate in the evaluation sheet-making to evaluate their own practice in the classroom. The questions that asked for grading and comments were changed depending on the activity for the day. Moreover, four kinds of evaluation sheets were made for each classroom for the evaluators from four different positions: supervisors, teaching assistants, observers, and language learners.
As for the result of the project, the changes of questions with time during the course were observed. The questions have become more concrete and have more adjusted to the respondents from four different positions during the seven-day training term. As questions were changed, the responses have become more concrete and comments have been more detailed. This activity involves the teacher trainees to participate more actively in the evaluation so that they can fully accept the responses from the evaluation sheet and stand at multiple viewpoints. This brings further development for the teacher trainees.


Misrepresentation of Homographs Found in Japanese-Chinese Dictionaries

LIN Yu Hui (Graduate School of Letters (Japanese Literature and Linguistics Division), Nagoya University)

Japanese includes Chinese characters (or "kanji") , and studies on the same word forms were found mostly on the similarity and difference in meanings between Japanese and Chinese rather than on the practical use. This study is to investigate the misrepresentation of homographs found in Japanese-Chinese dictionaries, especially those published in Taiwan. Based on its meaning, a homograph can be classified into three categories: "with another meaning in Japanese," "with another meaning in Chinese," and "with another meaning in both Japanese and Chinese." The focus of this research is mainly in the first category, with characters for such words as "affection," "accounting," "active," "sacrifice," "serious," "suitability," "reverse," "requirement," "expression," or "call." The result shows that it is clear that there are problems of semantic items, (Chinese) equivalents, mistranslations, and unsuitable explanations. Moreover, there are also problems of illustrations and typical pattern presentations, as well as inappropriate part of speech classifications. There are three reasons that probably cause the problems mentioned above. First, there would have been misquoting from references. Second, the editorial staff would not have been seriously concerned with the homographs due to the lack of effort and time. Third, the editorial staff would have translated the Japanese-language dictionary into Chinese. Therefore, this study is also intended to present a precise description of homographs for the better compilation of Japanese-Chinese dictionaries.


"Responsible" Japanese vs. "Intentional" Indic: A Cognitive Contrast of Non-intentional Events

Prashant PARDESHI (Post-Doctoral Fellow, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science /Kobe University)

The goal of this paper is to: 1) provide a comprehensive descriptive account of transitively encoded non-intentional events in Japanese and 2) offer a principled explanation for the fundamental issue: Why a predominantly BECOME-language like Japanese freely permits transitive encoding of such events, through a contrastive study with their counterparts in Indic languages. The raison d'être for such a comparison is that such events can be rendered using a transitive verb only sporadically in Indic languages. This will thus offer a unique opportunity to see a clear-cut contrast pertaining to linguistic encoding of non-intentional events.
We claim that the similarities and differences between Japanese and Indic languages with regard to non-intentional events follow from the ways these situations are conceptualized. We propose that the differences in conceptualization of the same external reality are guided by socio-cultural factors that shape our cognition. The cognitive account proposed here suggests that Japanese is more sensitive to the notion of "responsibility" than its Indic counterparts, while Indic languages are more sensitive to the notion of "intentionality" than Japanese —not in absolute terms but in a relative sense. Crossing the threshold of grammar, a non-native learner of a language needs to master such cognitive parameters in order to sound "natural" in that language. The notions of a DO- vs. a BECOME-language or a PERSON-FOCUS vs. a SITUATION-FOCUS-language are not a matter of all or nothing (i.e., dichotomy) but a matter of degree (i.e., continuum).


Offering Expressions in Burmese and Japanese

KYI Thida (Graduate School, Takushoku University)

In order to compare the offering expressions in Burmese and Japanese, the results of 3 surveys are analyzed and presented. Survey 1 is based on the literature, and surveys 2 and 3 are based on the results of questionnaires. In survey 1, various forms of giving an offer expressions are selected and it was found that whereas in Burmese, willingness to help the other is straight away spoken, Japanese tend to convey their will indirectly by asking or verifying the situation of the other without making the offering expression itself. In survey 2, Burmese uses some decisive expressions and makes the offering expression directly, with the will to positively help the other with a high level of considerateness. On the other hand, Japanese, even though the level of considerateness might be high, will decide whether to make an offer or not by giving, priority to the situation and the feelings of the other. Survey 3 is a survey of Myanmarese studying Japanese in Japan and Myanmar. The problematic points of the expressions of making an offer by the Myanmarese students are quite apparent, and these are concerned with: the considerateness of making an offer, the usage of indefinite expressions, speaking out openly their will to help, understanding of due consideration for the Japanese listener, usage of "~te ageru," an awareness of the responsibility associated with the will to make an offer, and problems with regard to grammar (usage of give and take verbs, honorifics, humble words, ending of the making of an offer). It is concluded that attention should be paid to such problems when teaching.


Rhythm and Accentuation of 'Long' Nominal Compounds: An Approach Based on Metrical Phonology

INABA Seiichiro (Assistant Professor, San Jos·EState University, U.S.A.)

Previous studies (McCawley 1977, Higurashi 1983, Tsujimura and Davis 1987, Sato 1989, Akinaga 2001) divide Japanese noun-noun compounds (N1*N2) into two types —'short' (N2≦2 morae) and 'long' (N2≧3 morae) nominal compounds. It is agreed in the literature that a generalized prediction of the accent pattern of 'short' nominal compounds is difficult, but the accent pattern of 'long' nominal compounds can be predicted to a certain extent by finding the position of the accented mora in N2.
This paper will focus on 'long' nominal compounds and examine their accent patterns based on a metrical approach. To do this, a series of 'long' nominal compounds are extracted from the NHK Dictionary of Pronunciation and Accents (1998) and examined according to the rules of metrical phonology (Hayes 1995).
It has then become clear that there exists a difference (dividing line) in the rhythm construction process for N2's composed of 3 or 4 morae and N2's with 5 or greater than 5 morae. Furthermore, these findings make the prediction of the accent pattern for 'long' nominal compounds possible in a principled way regardless of the position of the accented mora in N2 (which previously was held to be unpredictable). That is to say, the memory burden on the learner of the language could be alleviated significantly.


A Schema-Based Analysis of the Nominative Case and Non-Canonical Sentences

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

The aim of this paper is to explain the apparent polysemy of the nominative (ga) case in Japanese by means of the constructional schemata, and thereby to categorize some basic sentences in the extensional way.
The nominative (ga) case is known for implying two different functions, the agentive and the objective in the broadest sense, both of which are distinctly opposite in meaning to each other. Considering, however, that the distinction of the two functions is against the principle of one-to-one correspondence between form and meaning, the present paper shows that the ga case has only one schematic function of "the most salience within a predication" at the highly abstract level. The two semantic functions are thus substantiated through the two types of Constructional Schemata in the top-down way.
It is also shown that, of the two types of the ga-marked complements, the objective one is used in existential sentences (in a broad sense), which include the nine kinds of sentences, such as the dative-subject sentence, the adjective sentence, the subjective expression (after Kaburaki's terminology), and some related expressions. These nine kinds of expressions are of course not fully homogeneous, but radially categorized, in such a way that the existential sentence is treated as the prototypical member, according to whether or not the ni-marked complement is realized for an existential location.


The Temporal Relation and Aspect of Subordinate Clauses in Japanese

HUANG Wenpu (Lecturer, College of Foreign Language, Huaqiao University, China)

This present article intends to point out the following facts:

  1. (1) In mae (ni) clauses referring to precedence and in ato (de) clauses and (shite) kara clauses referring to subsequence, the meanings of the perfective and other aspectual features of both are different.
  2. (2)When the perfective of mae (ni) clauses and made clauses does not refer to the action as a whole, but only to its end point, atelic verbs are restricted in use, and the perfective of ato (de) clauses and (shite) kara clauses does not refer to the action as a whole, but only to its initial phase, and many verbs are restricted in use.
  3. (3)Such restrictions can be found in other complex sentences referring to sequential temporal relation.

A Study of the Japanese Conjunction "chinami ni"

LIU Yiling (Candidate for Ph.D., Graduate Department of Language and Literature, Nagoya University)

The purpose of this paper is to describe the meaning and the use of the Japanese conjunction "chinami ni," which has normally been explained as a conjunction that is used by speakers to add a following proposition concerned with the preceding proposition. However, little is known about the conditions of use that restrict the speaker to use "chinami ni."
In this paper, I point out that there are three uses of "chinami ni". The first one is used to help the hearer realize more about the people or the event mentioned by the speaker in the preceding proposition. The second is used to help the speaker achieve the communicative purpose of his or her preceding utterance. And the third is used to help the conversational participants to exchange their opinions or information.
 From these three uses, I derive the essential meaning of "chinami ni" as follows: "chinami ni" is used to adjust the differences of the cognitive environment between conversational participants so that the speaker could have the hearer participate more in the conversation.


A Study of -nda-kedo in Japanese Conversation

LEE Duck-Young (Lecturer, Japan Centre, Faculty of Asian Studies, Australian National University)
YOSHIDA Akiko (Graduate School of Asian Studies, Japan Centre, Australian National University)

The connective particle kedo is one of the most frequently used linguistic items in Japanese conversation. It is further observed that the particle frequently co-occurs with -nda in the form of -nda-kedo: 58% of all the kedo clauses in our data. The frequent use of -nda-kedo implies that their combination produces a certain effect that has an important role in conversation. The aim of this article is to discuss the role and function of -nda and kedo, and address the mechanism of their combination.
The findings of the study are summarized as follows. Kedo clauses have the function of marking prefatory remarks or supplementary remarks when the clauses appear with their main clauses. In this case, the combination of -nda-kedo has the effect of drawing the attention of the listener. When kedo clauses are used without accompanying the main clauses, the combination has dual aspects: on the one hand, it reinforces the feeling of the speaker, and on the other hand, it softens the feeling. By these dual aspects, the combination, as a whole, functions to express the speaker's feeling in such a way that the feeling is well expressed but not overwhelmingly exposed. The functions of drawing the attention of the listener and of expressing the speaker's feeling in an appropriate manner are deemed to be significant strategies adopted for effective communication, which is thought to be the motivation for the frequent use of the combination in Japanese conversation.

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