Japanese-Language Education around the Globe - Vol.15 Summaries

Contributed Theses

The Application of Multimedia Instructional Materials by Students Learning Japanese as a Second Language: An Empirical Studyon Hunan University

LI Dali (Professor, College of Foreign Languages, Hunan University)

This paper reviews the literature on Japanese language education, focusing on the level of college students learning Japanese as second language in China. By analyzing the results of a questionnaire conducted to the users of A Comprehensive Japanese Courseware for Beginners (by Hunan University), we observed the application of multimedia instructional materials by students learning Japanese as a second language, the learners’ motivations, the learners’ perception regarding the multimedia instructional materials, and the effects on learners by using such materials. In light of the above observations, we tried to clarify both the advantages and disadvantages of using multimedia instructional materials. Furthermore, we also proposed steps to achieve a more informed and optimal application of such materials.

A Reexamination of the Research Methodology on Interlanguage Pragmatics: The Measurement of Interlanguage as a Dynamic System

ITO Emiko (Associate Professor, Shimonoseki city University)

In the field of second language acquisition research, it is common to compare how a learner’s language acquisition approaches his/ her target language. When the learner’s progress is slow, reasons are often sought in his/ her mother tongue. However learner’s language, in other words interlanguage, is a system in his/ her head and changes with time. The continuous changes of interlanguage cannot be identified in detail, even if an interlanguage is grasped statically and compared with the target language. Therefore, this paper aims to analyze interlanguage itself rather than comparing it with the target language or the learner’s mother tongue, and to reexamine the research method ology on interlanguage pragmatics (ILP). Databased on the Discourse Completion Test (DCT) were collected from 373 respondents: 115 learners at the National Colleges of Technology in their third year in Japan, 103 learners at the National Colleges of Technology in their second year in Japan, 75 learners at the National Colleges of Technology in their first year in Japan, and 80 learners at the University of Malaya in Malaysia. The research found that the length of stay in Japan correlated with the ability to express politeness in the target language, Japanese, at the following levels of significance: (1) learners in their second year in Japan, compared to those in their third year in Japan (n.s.), (2) learners in their first year in Japan, compared to those in their third year in Japan (p<0.05), (3) learners at the University of Malaya in Malaysia, compared to those in their third year in Japan (p<0.001). This provides evidence that the length of stay in Japan influences the pragmatic competence of learners. Therefore, this study was able to prove that comparison of an interlanguage at a single point in time with that at the next stage offers greater insight than comparison with the target language.

The Backchannels Appeared at the Beginning of a New Turnin Japanese, Mandarin and Taiwanese.

CHEN Tzuching (Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Japan Research, Chang Jung Christian University)

In this study, the results of Chen 2001, 2003 were used to compare with the back channels that appeared at the beginning of a new turn when the listener turned into the next speaker in Japanese, Mandarin and Taiwanese. It was found that the occasion when the next speaker starts to a new turn without introduction, occupies about 31.1percent in Japanese and 25.2 percent in Mandarin, and Taiwanese. Looking at the forms of introduction, Japanese prefer discourse markers to back channels. In comparison, Mandarin and Taiwanese prefer backchannels to discourse markers. Examining the forms of back channels, although the “β (soo group etc.)” was more used than the “α (hai group)”, both of them were used equally in Japanese. On the other hand, the “β (due group, hen ah group etc.)” form appeared mostly overwhelmingly in the conversation of Mandarin and Taiwanese.

On the Closing of Learner- initiated Sequences in a Japanese Language Class

BUNNO Mineko (Professor, University of Human Environments)

Interaction in lessons is not initiated exclusively by the teacher. Learners as well as the teacher elicit information, give directives and provide information during the lessons. In a classroom aiming at language acquisition, it is thought that a learner’s spontaneous language production might help them cultivate language ability. On the other hand, since a learner’s spontaneous utterance is factor that disrupts the course of the lesson, a prompt closure is be considered necessary.
This paper examines the closing processes of some learner- initiated sequences in a Japanese language class to see how they would be brought to closing in linguistic restrictions.
Consequently, it was suggested that it is not a result of the one-way command from the teacher that makes the sequences end, but the result attained collaboratively by a teacher and learners when a teacher’s utterance was accepted by all learners as the closing marker of the sequence. In a normal closing, if a teacher takes the next turn of the learner’s utterance and repeats it with falling intonation, it will be understood as a marker of the sequence closure.
The analysis also demonstrates that various strategies were used by a teacher in order to accomplish a successful closing. The following strategies to facilitate closings were indentified from the data:

  1. 1.Eliciting the final set of the conversation with complimentary phrases or expressions of gratitude.
  2. 2.Initiating a new sequence by getting the attention of the class by writing or pointing to keywords on the blackboard.

How Does a Learner Leave a Pause When Reading Japanese Aloud?: A Comparison of English, French, Chinese and Korean Learners of Japanese and Native Japanese Speakers

ISHIZAKI Akiko (Part-time Lecturer, College of Arts and Sciences, the University of Tokyo)

This paper examines whether there are any differences in the pause patterns of learners of Japanese as opposed to native Japanese speakers, according to data on the voices of learners who speak English, French, Chinese and Korean as their native languages reading compositions aloud, and on the voices of native speakers reading aloud. The results show that no differences based on native languages were observed among the learners. The following characteristics were observed to be common for learners when compared to native speakers.

  1. (1) The articulated sequences of learners are shorter than those of native speakers.
  2. (2) Learners pause more in left-branching boundaries than native speakers.
  3. (3) Although native speakers do not insert pauses into clauses, learners sometimes insert pauses into their clauses.
  4. (4) Although native speakers place pauses at the end of a sentence, learners sometimes do not place such pauses.
  5. (5) At the end of sentences, learners leave shorter pauses than native speakers.

Frame Analysis of a Group Discussion Involving Taiwaneseand Japanese Participants

CHEN Ming-jan (Graduate School of Humanities and Sciences, Ochanomizu University)

A lot of research has been carried out into the problems that arise during cross cultural communication. The frame has been shown to be one of the origins of miscommunication. This paper examines group discussion, the purpose of which is to consider the frame of a group discussion involving Taiwanese and Japanese participants.
Chen’s (2002) research contrasted the native language frames of Taiwan and Japan. Chen presented the distinctive characteristics of each language from the six standpoints of “the beginning phases of group discussion”, “shift phases between themes”, “pauses”, “turn-taking and the role of the chairman”, “topic shift”, and “the ending phases of group discussion”. In the present paper, an attempt is made to extend the range of cross-cultural communication studied, focusing on “the beginning phases of group discussion”, “shift phases between themes”, and “the ending phases of group discussion”. The following three conclusions were drawn:
(1) The influence of the target language (Japanese) frame is comparatively stronger than that of the frame of the Taiwanese student’s native language.
(2) The Japanese frame was used positively not only by the Japanese, but also by the Taiwanese participants.
(3) Some applications of the frame of the mother tongue of the Taiwanese participants were accepted by the Japanese, but others were not.

“kao” and “лицо”:Japanese-Russian Contrastive Studyof the “face” Conception

TANAKA Satoko (Part-time teacher, Nagoya University of Foreign Studies)
KEKIDZE Tatiana (Research assistant, Nagoya University)

This paper describes the conceptual networks of Japanese “kao” and Russian “лицо ”— the two words that designate the same part of the body— the face. We try to throw light on the difference between the conceptual worlds that are respectively the background of each of these two words.
Languages are inevitably affected by the way of their speakers to construe the world, but to the native speaker everything in his language seems to be absolutely natural and it is difficult if not impossible for him to identify what is special about his language and what should be emphasized. We attempt to resolve this problem through cooperation of the native speakers of two different languages.
“Kao” and “лицо ” have many uses in common: ‘representative part of a person or a thing’, ‘individuality of a person or a thing’, ‘one aspect of a person or a thing’,‘honor’. On the other hand, Japanese word “kao” has the meaning ‘connections’, that the Russian word “лицо ” does not have, and “лицо ” sometimes means ‘a person’ a meaning that “kao” does not have.
These two words, despite the above-mentioned commonality, reflect the difference between their backgrounds. Japanese “kao”specially focuses on the conception of ‘honor’of the ‘tachiba’, reflecting the tendency of Japanese people to respect the ‘tachiba’. And Russian “лицо ” specially focuses on ‘individuality’, reflecting the tendency of the Russian people to respect the personality. The meanings, ‘connections’ peculiar to the former and ‘a person’ peculiar to the latter, are results of this different tendencies.

The Summary of the Meanings and Functions of the Japanese Particles “nazo” and “nanzo

CHEN Liandong (Ph D Candidate, Osaka University)

There are two main usages, i.e. “reiji [illustration]” and “hiteiteki-hyoka [negative evaluation]” in the modern Japanese language particles “nazo” and “nanzo” as in “nado”. The former, the “nazo” or “nanzo” is preceded by more than one subject, mainly expressed by a noun, and followed by an affirmative predicate to illustrate that there is something else similar to the preceding subject or noun, and the latter, they are preceded by only one subject, and followed by a negative predicate, to illustrate the speaker’s evaluations. Development from the objective expression of relations among the subjects in the real world to the subjective expressions of the speaker is also introduced.
However, comparing the two time periods (Meiji-era and the Present (1980-2000)), there are many examples of both in “nazo”and “nanzo” in the Meiji-era, but almost none in the Present. The paper concludes the reasons for the disappearance (from us-age) of “nazo” and “nanzo” was not only a result of being purged by similar meanings and functions of “nado” in the written language, but also a similar word “nanka” in the spoken language.

The Change of Features of Participation in a Conversation between a Japanese Language Learner and a Japanese Native Speaker: From Asymmetrical Participation to Symmetrical Participation

IWATA Natsuho (Graduate School of Humanities and Sciences, Ochanomizu University)

The purpose of this study is to explore how symmetrical and asymmetrical features of participation in a native — non-native conversation are jointly constructed. The data is derived from a free conversation in Japanese between a native speaker of Japanese (NS) and a non — native speaker (NNS). The dynamic of change during the processes of participation was quantitatively analyzed using a coding system based on the local turn sequence. For the qualitative investigation, the concept of “identity — category” used in conversation analysis was applied to determine why the change occurred.
The results show that the features of participation were strikingly a symmetrical in the first half of the data because of an NS — question and an NNS — answer format. In the second half, however, both NS and NNS actively acted as speakers rather than being selected by their partner through the question — answer format. The exchange of these spontaneously produced comments and information is manifested in the feature of symmetrical participation. It also becomes evident that, whereas the participants’ identity — category was at the beginning a diametrical opposing “foreign student/ Japanese student” category, it gradually changed to a “sports — lovers” and “participants of the same excursion” category of unifying character. The study suggests that the participants flexibly negotiated their category through their interaction, which led to symmetry of conversational participation. Concerning the negotiation of identity — category, the following three points should be noted: (1) the NS always tried to introduce new information into the conversation to share, (2) the NNS showed his interest toward the NS through questions, back channels and continuers in proper timing, (3) both tried to find and construct a common — ground they could share. This revealed that their actions had a considerable influence to the negotiation of their identity — category.

Survey on the Use of Computers and the Internet in Japanese Classes in the United States

Yasuhiro Omoto (University of California, Barkeley Lecture)
Miyuki Fukai (Columbia University Lecture)
Keiko K. Schneider (Saboten Web Design Owner)

Technology, especially the Internet, has advanced significantly in the last decade. Consequently, the wide spread use of the Internet in schools has been documented: In the United States, 87% of public schools have access to the Internet as of 2001. This advancement of and high accessibility to technology has encouraged technology use in foreign language education in the United States. The Japanese teaching field is assumed to be no exception, but in reality how much do Japanese teachers use computers for instructional purposes? To understand the current situation, a survey study was conducted involving practicing Japanese teachers in the United States.
The survey questions addressed three areas: 1) the teacher’s environment for computing and Japanese capability, including technical support, 2) the availability of computers at school for class use, and 3) technology-related projects completed in class. The questionnaire was distributed in April 2002 to 500 teachers who were randomly selected from two national organizations of Japanese teachers in the United States. 243 responses were analyzed and compared among three different groups according to the school levels that the participants teach: elementary, middle/ high, and post-secondary.
The results revealed that most teachers have exclusive access to computers with atendency for post-secondary school teachers to use newer operating systems than elementary and middle/ high school teachers. It was also found that many participating Japanese teachers lack technical support for Japanese software at their institutions. Nevertheless, the findings show that many teachers actively utilize the Internet in teaching. To further support Japanese teachers in their endeavor to take advantage of technology, more attention should be paid to the pedagogically sound implementation of it, as recent advances in multilingual computing have made Japanese capability less problematic than before.

Publication of Japanese Language Textbook in Hungary in Early Twentieth Century and Its Historical Background

KONDO Masanori (Visiting Lecturer, Institute of East Asian Studies, Faculty of Philosophy and Arts, Charles University in progue)

While Central and Eastern Europe is becoming an increasingly popular area for Japanese people and tourism alike, it is widely recognized that little is known about Japanese language education before World War II in this area. However, a publication at the beginning of the 20th century signalled a landmark in this field. This paper examines this landmark publication, which is the first Japanese textbook written in the Hungarian language. It aims to clarify the knowledge about Japanese in this book and the social and historical background that motivated its publication.
The first Japanese language textbook in Hungary was published in 1905. This book was written by a Hungarian speaker who had stayed in Japan for a long period. The author fully utilized his experience and knowledge in his writing. From today’s viewpoint, the textbook seems a little crude and involves many mistakes or misunderstandings. Nevertheless, the publication of this textbook in the readers’ mother tongue should be highly regarded because it allowed greater understanding of Japanese study in Hungary.
Besides its worth as a textbook, the publication itself indicates the rise of Hungarian people’s interest toward Japan at that time. I believe that the Russo-Japanese War (1904–05) stimulated Hungarian nationalism and their anti-Russian attitude, and that this historical situation prompted the publication of the textbook.
To look back upon the history of the Japanese language education is to look at the history of the local people’s recognition of Japan and the Japanese people. As far as Japanese language education is carried out in non-Japanese society, it is especially important for Japanese teachers in foreign countries to get to know the history of the Japanese language education in the places where they teach.

Japanese Individualized Instruction Program: Goals and Practice

YUASA Etsuyo (Associate Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, The Ohio State University)

In 1998, the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at The Ohio State University started a Japanese individualized instruction program. As Dale Lange (1972) claims, the importance of individuation of instruction in foreign language teaching cannot be overemphasized. Strasheim (1972) also recommends individualized instruction as learner-centered instruction. For the teachers and learners of Japanese, individualized instruction can provide new and promising instructional possibilities: 1) it provides new opportunities to start and continue the study of Japanese; 2) learners can study Japanese at their own pace; 3) it meets diverse needs of learners; 4) it enables students to be engaged in a natural mode of communication in Japanese. This paper discusses the outline of the Individualized Instruction Program at The Ohio State University, its objectives, and issues.

Problems Resolved in Writing by a Chinese Junior High School Student through Helper Collaboration

ODA Tamaki (Graduate School, Ochanonizu University)

Cummins (1984) distinguishes between language abilities for daily life and for intellectual/ academic activities, stating that the latter takes more time to acquire, but one question is still under investigation: “What types of support can be provided to foreign students who are fluent in daily conversation, but who cannot yet express themselves in tests or in writing? ” This paper describes and analyzes a support class conducted for a Chinese student who had came to Japan after acquiring an understanding of the cognitive and abstract concepts in their native language, and who demonstrated basic reading and writing abilities in Chinese. Specifically, we examined the types of problems that were resolved when the student wrote in Japanese through collaboration with two helpers (one Japanese and one Chinese). The classes were student-centered, so that the student could receive support in Chinese at any time, and were always free to choose when and how to use their native language. Three features became clear: (1) The learner’s awareness tended toward the resolution of “low- levelproblems” such as grammar and vocabulary; (2) Half of the questions posed by the students were cognitively oriented (What/ How questions); and (3) In half of the cases, interactions were initiated by the helpers. One possible reason that the problems resolved tended to be “low- level problems” was that the Chinese helper rarely spoke, and that most support was provided in Japanese. These results demonstrate that “allowing students to receive support in their native language at any time” does not by itself ensure that the native language is used sufficiently. Issues to be investigated in future include methods for teaching writing skills using the student’s native language, and for collaboration with active participation by native language helpers.

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