Japanese-Language Education around the Globe - Vol.14 Summaries

Contributed Theses

A Study of Decision-making in Teacher Training: The Relationship of Program Structure and Decision-making

IKEDA Hiroko (Postgraduate Student, Graduate School of Ochanomizu University / Lecturer. Rikkyo University)

How supervisors design teacher training program is an important issue because teacher training facilitates teaching skills and teacher beliefs. However, according to Horiguchi (1992) there is no fundamental study on the teaching skills of Japanese teacher trainees. This paper focuses on the relationship of decision-making process and program structure because decision-making forms the core of a teacher’s cognitive action.
The purpose of this paper is to describe the relationship of the decision-making process and program structure. In order to describe the decision-making process, I was able to identify the following three processes (1. object, 2. cue, 3. interpretation of cue and how the cue leads to the decisionmaking process). I also made clear the relationship of the decision-making process and program structure. This survey used protocol data from the teacher-training program by stimulus recall method in teaching Japanese as a second-language course of a graduate school. This study compared with two different teacher training (1. teacher training 1999: Uchida and Shiraishi, 2000 and 2. teacher training 2001, 2002).
The results show that the process of decision-making is characterized by “content of activity” in object and “student reaction” in cue and substitute choice in interpretation of cue and how the cue leads to the decision-making process. This result is different from that of a Uchida and Shiraishi (2000) (teacher training 1999) in 1. object and 3. interpretation of cue and how the cue leads to the decision-making process, because it points out that different program structure leads to a different decision-making process.

Demonstrative Performance by First-generation Koreans in Japan

KIM Jee-young (Postgraduate Student, Osaka University Graduate School of Letters)

The purpose of this study is to describe the performance of Japanese by first-generation Koreans in Japan (heretofore, firstgeneration). Peculiar use is seen in the Japanese of the first-generation, that is lexical item, usage, etc. With their long and complicated historical / social background experience, they acquired Japanese naturally without receiving explicit education, and a peculiar use of Japanese was established as a means for leading daily life.
This paper aims at clarifying the use of the demonstrative by the first-generation. The informants are three first-generations, Y, P, and B. The following became clear as a result of analyzing their use of demonstratives. First, the use, which can be called fixed form expression, was checked. More-over, there is a possibility of a relationship between mental distance and an a-system demonstrative. Last, the boundary in the use domain of a so-system demonstrative and an a-system demonstrative is not clear. At the present stage, the possibility of being influenced by Korean, which is the mother tongue, is also being considered.

A Study of Distant Contact Situations Mediated by a Video-conferencing System

YOON Ji-hyun (Postgraduate Student, Japanese Applied Linguistics, Waseda University)

Research on contact situations between native and non-native speakers has mainly been examined in face-to-face communicative situations. More recently, with the development of the state-of-the-art technology, personal computers, and cyber network, it is now possible for learners to communicate in a “distant” contact situation. The present study compared the communication between native Japanese speakers (NSs) and nonnative Japanese speakers (NNSs) in a distant contact situation, which was mediated by a video-conferencing system, with a face-to- face communicative situation. It aimed to find out how NNS of Japanese interacted with NS in a video-conferencing-system-mediated communication.
The data was analyzed and investigated in terms of turn-takings and the usage of strategies to solve communicative breakdowns. The results of this study showed that there are some differences between distant contact situations and the face-to-face communicative situation in respect of turntakings and usage of strategies. This can be interpreted as the tendency of participants to avoid “an unnatural pause” and “simultaneous talk,” which may be considered an interruption and/or a hindrance to smooth communication.

Japanese Learners’ Oral Narratives: Linguistic Features Affecting Comprehensibility

KONDO Junko (Lecturer of Japanese, University of Michigan)

For language learners, the development of productive skills to narrate and describe in connected discourse is critical in order to advance language proficiency.
In Japanese discourse studies, the main focus has been on the cohesion between sentences and the overall structure in written discourse. Some recent studies (e.g. Izuhara and Dake 1991, Watanabe 1996) discuss possible causes of low comprehensibility, pointing out various features that appear in Japanese learners’ narratives, such as inappropriate viewpoint shift and sentence linkage. However, these studies deal with coherence solely from the point of view of the Japanese language teacher. It is thus imperative that we investigate whether these linguistic features indeed cause problems with native interlocutors’ understanding of learners’ speech.
The present study shows what kind of factors affect comprehensibility, and offers an analysis of low- and high-comprehensible narratives in order to locate the specific features that learners need to be aware of to make themselves more easily understood.
Seventy-nine judges listened to narratives of four learners (two superior and two advanced speakers, based on ACTFL Oral Proficiency Guidelines) and two native speakers and were then asked to assess the narratives in terms of flow of discourse and comprehensibility. Assessment of the narratives revealed that in addition to insufficient content, problems with pronunciation, sentence connections, and filler use may cause difficulty in understanding learners’ narratives. Also, close analysis of highand low-rated narratives revealed potential problematic factors associated with low comprehensibility in learners’ narratives: lack of stress in PPU (Pause-bounded Phrasal Units) boundaries, overuse of language production-based fillers, and ambiguous references to story characters. Though further research is needed to confirm the findings, the present study provides useful pedagogical insights into teaching Japanese language skills, especially story-telling narrative production.

A Proposal for Conversational Syllabuses on the Discourse Level: Lists of Discourse Skills from the Approach of Discourse/Conversation Analysis

NAKAI Yoko (Visiting Lecturer, Center for Japanese Language, Waseda)
OHBA Miwako (Graduate Student, Graduate School of Social Science and Humanities, Chiba University)
DOI Mami (Chief Lecturer, The Japan Foundation Japan Cultural Center, Kuala Lumpur)

It has been pointed out that language learners who have been instructed only through grammatical syllabuses have communication problems on the discourse level, even though they are able to produce grammatically accurate sentences. In order to avoid these problems, it is necessary to teach conversation on the discourse as well as grammatical level, starting from the elementary learning stages. Therefore, it is necessary for teachers to share their understanding of syllabuses needed for teaching conversation. However, this kind of syllabus has not been fully designed yet, due to individual differences in teachers’ understanding of the need to teach conversational items and in the ways of dealing with them.
In this study, we will review two types of previous research on teaching conversation on the discourse level: 1) syllabuses based on conversation strategies, and 2) syllabuses based on discourse/conversation analysis. We will then propose a conversational syllabus based on both conversation strategies and discourse/conversation analysis, which was designed for Japanese language learners to promote their discourse skills in conversation. The syllabus consists of four categories: A) Verbal category, B) Nonverbal category, C) Prosodic category, and D) Overall category. The items in the syllabus were extracted from the syllabuses used in the Japanese language courses, including visitor sessions and a drama project, which were designed based on discourse/conversation analysis. The goals of these courses were to promote learners’ discourse abilities. This syllabus will enable teachers to teach conversational items which are not found in grammatical syllabuses, starting from the elementary level. It will also help Japanese language teachers to reach a shared conunderstanding of the syllabuses necessary for conversational instruction.

Development of the Discourse Function of the Japanese Conjunctive Particle kara in Learners’ Language

KIYAMA Mika (Lecturer, Intensive Japanese Language Program for Overseas Students, Takushoku University)

This paper studies the developmental process of the discourse function of the Japanese conjunctive particle kara.
To do so, I present a new classification standard focusing on the positional order of the main clause and kara. That is 1) propositional [E1] (~ kara / main clause), 2) text 1 (main clause / ~ kara), 3) text 2 (~ kara / other clause /main clause; main clause / other clause / ~ kara), 4) discourse management 1 (main clause stated by another person just after ~ kara), 5) discourse management 2 (main clause stated by another person just before ~ kara), 6) expressive (no main clause).
A sample was collected twice from 18 learners of Japanese (just after arrival in Japan and after six months of living in Japan). For comparison purposes, a sample was also collected from 20 native Japanese.
As a result of comparison of the functional distribution of the Japanese conjunctive particle kara used in the samples from learners of Japanese and native Japanese, the development of the discourse function of kara was 1) simple sentence → complex sentence→text, 2) dependent upon conversational partner→ self-completion→ collaborative conversational style→ compound collaborative conversational style.

On the Use and Function of “Bare” Sentence-final Forms in Japanese Conversational Discourse

UEHARA Satoshi (Professor, Tohoku University International Student Center)
FUKUSHIMA Etsuko (Associate Professor, Tohoku University International Student Center)

It is often noted (e.g., Mizutani, 1985) that Japanese utterances are usually accompanied by some pragmatic elements, such as sentence-final particles, so that the “bare” sentence-final forms (those predicate forms without any other sentence-final elements) occur relatively less frequently. This impressionistic observation, however, seems to have led to overall neglect of research into the functions of bare sentence-final forms and the contexts in which they are used. One notable exception is Maynard (1993), which examines the data with bare sentence-final forms in plain/direct (nonpolite) style speech only.
This paper presents the results of a discourse analysis on the use of bare sentence- final forms in naturally occurring Japanese conversation (60 minutes in total, by four native speakers) and offers a systematic account of when to use and not use them and their pragmatic functions. This analysis contrasts its results with those of Maynard (1993), which argues that “bare” forms are used when the speaker, in expressing his/ her thoughts and experiences in conversation, cannot/need not pay attention to, and therefore cannot/need not modify his/her utterances for, the hearer. Our analysis has in its scope bare sentence-final forms in both plain and polite styles and demonstrates that part of Maynard’s finding holds for the polite-style bare forms as well, but that it needs to be modified to accommodate the date observed. Specifically, we argue that bare form functions can be distinguished from style factors, and that whether or not the goal of an utterance is only to express/convey its propositional content determines the occurrence and nonoccurrence of bare sentence-final forms in conversation.

Let Learners Talk with Native Speakers Outside the Classroom in Your Home Country: Community Involvement Project

IMURA Taeko (Associate Lecturer, Griffith University)

Study abroad is often promoted as one of the best ways to acquire the target language outside the classroom. However, only a small number of learners have such opportunities to visit the country of their target language and immerse themselves in the language and culture. In order to bridge the gap between formal classroom instruction and real language use, creative teachers have been seeking various kinds of resources outside the classroom in their surrounding community as well as, more recently, resources which can be accessed through technology. Besides the technology, one of the most highlighted resources discussed in the literature is the use of native speakers (NSs) in the community. Nonetheless, to present, few studies are available demonstrating the benefits to the learners when interaction with NSs is integrated as a part of the language course.
This paper reports findings of a Community Involvement (CI) project carried out at Griffith University in Australia over the last three years. All learners enrolled at an intermediate-low level had one-to-one interaction with their matched NS volunteers in Japanese. They met for a minimum of ten hours during one semester outside the classroom. Post-course questionnaires were collected from both learners (n = 92) and NSs (n = 60) to examine the benefits and effectiveness of the project. Results indicate that both the learners and NSs enjoyed the project immensely. Most learners and NSs agreed that learners’ speaking and listening skills and cultural understanding had improved as a result of the participation in the project. Some materials used in CI are presented and guidelines for implementing CI in the course are also suggested.

A Study of Shitsuzukeru

HUANG Wenpu (Lecturer, College of Foreign Language, Huadiao University)

This paper investigates the meaning of the complex verb shitsuzukeru in terms of its aspectual features. It points out some of the shitsuzukeru’s uses ignored by researchers, such as “the continuation of a permanent state resulting from a change,” “the continuation of a change,” and “the continuation of a property.” It can be concluded that the prototypical uses of shitsuzukeru have covered the former element shi- durative dynamic atelic as its aspectual features. The peripheral uses of shitsuzukeru involve that shi- is durative dynamic only or shi- is durative atelic only.
In relation to the aspectual features, the grammaticality of shitsuzukeru changes from typical examples, unnatural examples to ungrammatical examples by degree. The
mechanism of the shitsuzukeru’s uses come from the interaction of the aspectual features of shi- and the meaning of -tsuzukeru.

The Acquisition of Japanese Intransitive and Transitive Paired Verbs by English-Speaking Learners: Case Study at the Australian National University

MORITA Makiko (Postgraduate Student, The Australian National University)

This study examined how the acquisition of Japanese intransitive-transitive paired verbs by students of Japanese is affected by verb type (intransitive-transitive). The acquisition of the paired verbs across four levels of Japanese proficiency groups (Intermediate I, Intermediate II, Advanced I and Advanced II) was also explored. The study analysed the performance of native English speaking students of different Japanese proficiency levels enrolled at The Australian National University using a written test and a follow-up interview. A Generalised Linear Mixed Model (Schall, 1991) was used for the statistical analysis.
The study found:

  1. (1) transitive verbs were easier to acquire than intransitive verbs.
  2. (2) there was no significant difference in results between the test scores for Intermediate I and II group in spite of the higher general Japanese ability of members of Intermediate II.

Three contributory explanations for finding (1) are put forward: (i) the lexical differences between Japanese and English; (ii) the structural differences of the two languages; and, (iii) the differences in the frequency with which intransitive and transitive verbs occur in the instructions used by language teachers and in language textbooks.
The explanation for finding (2), is that it reflects ‘U-shaped behavioural development’ (Kellerman, 1985) which in this case was attributable to an instructional effect.

On the Usages of the Expression Dewanaika

ZHANG Xing (Lecturer, Luoyang University of Foreign Languages)

A large number of studies have been made concerning the expression dewanaika, but most of them focus on the usage of requiring confirmation. This paper makes a comprehensive and thorough study on dewanaika. Its usages can be divided into the following: discovery, presentation of estimate, presentation of judgment result, recall of information, and requiring confirmation of recognition. We especially describe the usages of non-requiring confirmation and analyze the relation between requiring confirmation of recognition and non-requiring confirmation of recognition.

Opinions on Teachers’ Use of the Mother Tongue in Japanese Conversation Classes in Universities in Taiwan

YEN Hsingyueh (Associate Professor, Department of Japanese Language and Literature, Shih Hsin University)

Using a questionnaire, the present study investigated the opinions of teachers and students towards the use of the mother tongue by teachers in Japanese conversation classes, using a questionnaire. The subjects included Taiwanese and Japanese teachers, and the learners in these classes.
The factor analysis of the research items gave the following results. The factors “interaction with the learners,” “explanation of the contents of study,” and “the exchanges conducted outside the contents of study” were related to the aspect “Necessity of the use of the mother tongue.” The factors “facilitation of understanding” and“ aid to the progress of the lecture” were related to the aspect “Credits of the use of the mother tongue.” The factors “decrease of Japanese input,” “decline of concentration and desire to lear,” and “hindrance of forming one’s own language usage” were related to the aspect “Deficits of the use of the mother tongue.”
Furthermore, the results of analysis of variance mainly showed the following two points.

  1. (1) The learners felt that the use of the mother tongue concerning “facilitation of understanding” and “aid to the progress of the lecture” is of use to the teaching of Japanese and the learning activity not only in the first two grades, but also in the third grade.
  2. (2) Taiwanese teachers felt that the learners in their classes have a greater need for the use of the mother tongue than the learners in the classes of Japanese teachers, valuing the merits over the demerits. Since Taiwanese and Japanese teachers consider their characteristics and role in the conversation classes, their opinions differ on the use of the mother tongue. Furthermore, it is also suggested that the learners are aware of the characteristics and the role of the native teachers and nonnative teachers, and the differences in what they demand.

Exploring Drama and Theatre in Teaching Japanese: Hirata Oriza’s Play, Tokyo Notes, in an Advanced Japanese Conversation Course

Denton HEWGILL (Associate Professor of Mathmatics, University of Victoria)
NORO Hiroko (Assistant Professor of Japanese, University of Victoria)
Cody POULTON (Associate Professor of Japanese, University of Victoria)

This paper attempts to shed light on drama as a potentially effective method for teaching Japanese, particularly communication skills. As eloquently summarized by FitzGibbons (1993), benefits of drama in the language teaching classroom are numerous: 1) “the acquisition of meaningful, fluent interaction in the target language; 2) the assimilation of phonetic and prosodic features in a contextualized and interactive manner; 3) the fully contextualized acquisition of new vocabulary and expression; 4) a sense of confidence in the learner’s ability to learn the target language. The purpose of this paper is three-fold: 1) to explore the potential benefits of using a Japanese-language play as a learning resource for communicative development for intermediate and advanced learners of Japanese; 2) to discuss the outcomes of the use of a Japanese- language play written by Hirata Oriza; 3) to discuss the technological implications of developing a CD-Rom based on the dramatization of the play by professional actors.

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