Japanese-Language Education around the Globe - Vol.17 Summaries

The academic papers section

The Usage of “-te naranai” , “-te tamaranai” and “-te shikataganai”:
A Comparison between Native Speakers of Japanese and Learners of Japanese

(Associate Professor, Graduate School of Languages and Cultures, Nagoya University)

The purpose of this paper is to clarify the usage of  “-te naranai” , “-te tamaranai” and “-te shikataganai. These three expressions are all used to express the strength of spontaneous psychological or physical feelings. To clarify the difference among these three expressions, a survey of native Japanese speakers was conducted. Survey results, made clear that native Japanese speakers consider the typical uses of these expressions to be as follows: “-te naranai” typically co-occurs with predicates such as “kigasuru” ((I) have a feeling that...) and “omoeru” (It seems (to me) that...), where the feelings occur spontaneously and the speaker cannot get them out of his or her mind; “-te tamaranai” typically co-occurs with predicates such as “sabishii” (lonely) and “urusai” (noisy), where the feelings are triggered by a psychological or physical stimulus and the speaker finds them intolerable; and lastly, “-te shikataganai” typically co-occurs with predicates such as “kininaru” (be bothered by) and  “hara ga tatsu” (lose one's temper), where the feelings occur spontaneously and the speaker cannot overcome them. Next, we investigated foreign learners' usage of these expressions. Foreign learners tend to use these three expressions with predicates such as “sabishii” (hot) or “itai”, “atsui” (painful), making it clear that foreign learners use these expressions in the way that native speaker use “-te tamaranai”. The results of this study may be useful when compiling dictionaries and grammar books as well as in Japanese language teaching.

Meaning and Usage of the Bound Morpheme ―sei in Modern Japanese

TANAN Ponsan (Lecturer, Prince of Songkla University Pattani Campus)

Modern Japanese has a bound morpheme ―sei, frequently observed in daily conversation, that expresses causality based on the subjective evaluation of the speaker. However, the ―sei is rarely described in detail in published dictionaries and references for Japanese learners, and it appears that few reseachers have shown an interest in this issue. As a result, the use of the ―sei , and the features it carries in an attached phrase or sentence regardless of its frequent emergence in texts are not widely known.
This paper attempts to analyze samples from published novels, and examines the meaning and use of ― sei in Modern Japanese. In this study, sei is analyzed after being categorizing into five groups; ―seide, ― seika, ―seida, ―seini and ―seimo, according to its appearance in the written works.
In conclusion, each form of ―sei is used mutually, and appears not only in cases of unfavorable results, but also in favorable result under conditions of certainty, or the existence of other causality.

A Contrastive Study of Topic Shifting in Chinese and Japanese Conversation
―Focusing on Topic Closing Process―

YANG Hong (Graduate Student, Ochanomizu University Lecturer, Tokyo Seitoku University)

This paper presents a comparison between the conversations of Chinese and Japanese native speakers (CNS and JNS) in their respective native languages. Previous studies on learners of the Japanese language (JSL/JFL) claim that their topic shifts may be too abrupt and troublesome for JNS. In order to pin down the problem for CNS topic shifts in Japanese contact situations, it seems necessary to consider not only the language proficiency but also the influences of the norms in the speaker' s native language, i.e. Chinese. In addition, although a topic shift is a dynamic process, most of the studies have focused on the linguistic expressions that appear in topic shifts. The present research examines the processes of topic closing observed in CNS and JNS conversations with a focus on the interaction between participants. The data consist of 20minute, audio-and video-taped dyadic conversations had by 11 CNS and 11 JNS pairs.
The results show that both CNS and JNS demonstrate 3 patterns of topic closing: the patterns include (i) collaborative closing, (ii) unilateral closing, (iii) sudden (without premonition) closing. A significant difference between CNS and JNS was found in the distribution of these patterns. In CNS conversation, the distribution of (i)-(iii) is 41%, 21% and 38% respectively. In JNS conversation, the distribution is 92%, 7% and 1%, respectively. That is, in CNS show little preference for a particular topic shift pattern, while JNS show an overwhelming preference for collaborative closing. In JNS conversation, the predominant and thus most common topic shifts are collaborative.
Through an analysis of the processes of topic closing, this paper suggests where the difference between CNS and JNS concerning topic shifts lies and provides a basis for further research on problems seen in JNS-CNS contact situations.

What do English Speakers Know about gera-gera and yota-yota?
A Cross-linguistic Investigation of Mimetic Words of Laughing and Walking

IWASAKI Noriko (Assistant Professor, University of California, Davis)
David P. VINSON (Research Fellow, University College London)
Gabriella VIGLIOCCO (Professor, University College London)

The relation between word form and meaning is considered arbitrary; however, Japanese mimetic words, giseigo and gitaigo, are exceptions. For giseigo (words mimicking voices), there is a direct resemblance (‘ico-nicity') between the sound of the word and the sound it refers to; for gitaigo (words that mimic manners/ states) there is a symbolic relationship (‘sound symbolism') between the sound and the manner/state to which the word refers. While native speakers intuitively recognize these relationships, it is questionable whether speakers of other languages are able to access the meaning of Japanese mimetic words from their sounds. In the current study, we asked native English speakers with no prior experience with the Japanese language to listen to Japanese mimetic words for laughing (giseigo) and for walking (gitaigo), and rate each word's meaning on semantic differential scales (e.g. “GRACEFUL-VULGAR” (laughing), “GRACEFUL-CLUMSY” (walking)). We compared English and Japanese speakers' ratings and found that English speakers construed many of the features of laughing in a similar manner as native Japanese speakers (e.g., words containing /a/ were rated as more amused, cheerful, nice and pleasant laughs). They differed only with regard to a few sound-meaning relationships of an evaluative nature (e.g., words for laughing containing /u/ were rated as more feminine and graceful, and those containing /e/ were rated as less graceful and unpleasant). In contrast, for the words referring to walking, English speakers' ratings differed greatly from native Japanese speakers'. Native Japanese speakers rated words beginning with voiced consonants as referring to a big person walking with big strides, and words beginning with voiceless consonants as more even-paced, feminine and formal walking. English speakers were sensitive only to the relation between voiced consonants and a big person walking. Hence, some sound-meaning associations were language-specific. This study also confirmed the more conventional and lexicalized nature of the mimetic words of manner.

Learning “~dasu ,” a Compound Verb Suffix, for Koreans Studying the Japanese Language
―Focusing on the Comparison of Semantic Domain with Native Japanese Speakers―

BAEK Yiyun (Doctoral Program, Ochanomizu University)

This paper investigates the meaning potential of ~dasu a Japanese compound verb suffix for Koreans studying the Japanese language. The suffix ~dasu was chosen because of its frequecy of use in the Japanese language and the availability of its counterpart in the Korean language. In this study subjects were asked to judge 22 sentences that included ~dasu. Of these 22 sentences, 11 were correct in Japanese while the other 11 were not. However, the 11 that were incorrect in Japanese were constructed so that when the sentences were understood by translation into Korean, the sentences seemed correct. The results showed that there was significant difference for 17 items between the subjects and the Japanese NSs. The NS group relied on their 1st language to understand the words. However, members of the learner group did not unconditionally refer to their 1st language. The acceptability of the learner group tended to be higher in prototypical and unmarked items in both the 1st and 2nd  languages than in unprototypical and marked meaning.
The experience of learning is also an important point in this type of judgment, of course.
It can be concluded from this study that the meaning potential of learners is formed by the selective application of their native language, an incomplete knowledge about proficiency in the 2nd language, and learning experience of the specific word. Thus, the ~dasu prefix has different meaning potential from the NSs'

Excuses Offered for Refusals in Japanese and English

NISHIMURA Fumiko (Lecturer, Department of Humanities (East Asian Studies), University of Waikato)

The refusal of invitations by Japanese and English speakers is studied. In addition to a focus on the excuses offered by decliners, we consider the subsequent responses of the inviters. A number of previous studies have considered this topic however relatively few deal with discourse data sets obtained under identical conditions.
The present study uses transcribed role-play data collected from 32 Japanese pairs and 30 New Zealand (, hereby NZ) pairs. These conversations average 48 and 67 seconds respectively. The scenario is as follows: Role A offers Role B an invitation to visit a tavern and Role B is required to decline it. The data showed that:

  1. 1)Japanese individuals were more likely to use physical problems as an excuse for their refusals.
  2. 2)Japanese inviters tended not to accept refusals at face value. NZers on the other hand, accepted excuses more readily. These findings seemed to be independent of the nature of the excuse.
  3. 3)Japanese inviters demanded, and were likely to get, explanations from their decliners.

These results can be interpreted by assuming that Japanese inviters focus on the refusal itself, regardless of the content of the excuse. In particular Japanese refusals often rely on a catalogue of fixed phrases to provide excuses, and only on repeated questioning is the nature of the excuse revealed. NZ inviters, on the other hand, pay more attentions to the content of the excuse. In addition, NZers seem more willing to negotiate an arrangement, which is acceptable to both parties, based on the nature of the invitee's excuse.

A Cognitive Linguistic Approach to Unified Analysis of the Dative (-ni) Case

SUGAI Kazumi (Associate Professor, Graduate School, Hyogo University of Teacher Education)

The present paper is devoted to characterizing the Japanese dative (-ni) case comprehensively from the cognitive linguistic point of view, thereon focusing itself upon its semantic roles [SOURCE] in benefactive constructions and [AGENT-LIKE] in the passive construction.
In the first section, the spatial semantic roles such as [CONVERGENCE], [COHERENCE], [GOAL], [DIRECTION] and [LOCATION], are unified to the extent that they unite more or less with either the nominative NP in the intransitive structure or the accusative NP in the transitive structure. In this vein, the second section shows that the nonspatial semantic roles such as [RESULT], [ELEMENT], [ADDRESSEE], [PURPOSE] and [EXPERIENCE] are unified on the same basis in the metaphorical sense. In the third section, when the dative is alternated with the ablative case to mark the [SOURCE]-phrase in benefactive constructions, the dative-marking of [SOURCE] is distinctive from the ablative-marking in that the former implies the nominative NP' approach to the dative NP, whereas the latter profiles the accusative NP away from the ablative NP. In the fourth section, the dative (-ni) case for [AGENT-LIKE] in the passive construction is differentiated from the compound form -niyotte morpho-syntactically and semantically in that the -niyotte marks the noun phrase that brings about the event predicated by the predicative verb. The fifth section also deals with case-marking in the passive construction to show that the dative (-ni) case differs from the ablative (-kara) in that the former marks the agent-like NP when the NP transmits energy to the nominative NP, whereas the latter marks the agent-like NP when the NP is profiled as away from the nominative NP.
Throughout the text it is maintained that all the semantic roles, including peripheral roles such as [SOURCE] and [AGENT-LIKE], are unified in the same way.

The practical / current-status reports section

Report on the “Tokimeki Japanese Level Test” in Argentina: Targeting Learners below Level 4 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)

TOYOTA Maki (Graduate student, Graduate school of Tottori University)
MORI Yuko (Lecturer, The Japanese Language and Culture Center in Argentina)

The Japanese Language and Culture Center in Argentina offers a “Tokimeki Japanese Level Test” for students who have not yet reached Level 4 of the Japan Foundation's JLPT. This article gives a general oversview of the test, describes the process of designing it, and reports on the results and analysis of test scores from the year 2005.
The test consists of two levels― Level 5 and Level 6. Each level consists of three parts: (1) letter recognition and vocabulary; (2) listening comprehension; and (3) grammar and reading comprehension. The test is designed for adult learners of Japanese over the age of about 13 who have studied the Japanese language for 100 hours (Level 5) and 50 hours (Level 6). Each item on the test is controlled and examined for upcoming test administrations, with at least six months devoted to preparation. The base materials for this process are test standards for vocabulary and grammar, and database of the test content from past years. In the latter part of the article, statistics are provided to highlight aspects of the 2005 test. These include the number and percentage of each level achieved, table of key statistics, correlation coefficients and an alpha factor table, histogram of the test scores and the number of people for each score.
Two additional set of statistics― the percentage of correct answers for each item and the discrimination coefficient― suggest possibilities for a structural modification of the vocabulary section of the test. Finally, some general suggestions are made to facilitate the efficient promotion of the test inside and outside the country.

Introducing Content-based Curriculum in Intensive Courses for International Co-op Program at the University of Cincinnati, USA

FUJIOKA-ITO Noriko (Assistant Professor, Japanese Program, University of Cincinnati)
NAKAKUBO Takako (Graduate Student, Ph D Program in Second Language Acquisition, University of Iowa)

This paper reports a Japanese language curriculum for the International Co-op Program (ICP, hereafter) offered by the University of Cincinnati in the United States.
The ICP includes a 6-week intensive summer language course and a 2-week intensive spring language course as well as a 5-month internship outside of the United States. The language courses for the ICP Japanese group are based on a proportional syllabus. The courses start from establishing basic grammatical skills and aim to eventually develop a degree of language proficiency that enables the learners to communicate in Japanese in both daily conversation and business situations. These courses adopt a content-based curriculum and involve language activities that integrate the contents of the learners' academic fields and the target language. This type of curriculum makes the language learning more meaningful, and in addition, in the case of ICP students, provides an advantage for employment after graduation by enabling students to broaden their global view through participation in an overseas internship program. A questionnaire survey revealed that students enrolled in the 2005 summer program were in favor of these practical activities.
As most of the ICP students major in engineering, knowledge of technical terms is necessary for a successful content-base curriculum. The authors of this paper have been involved in creating a dictionary of technical terms. This paper explains the procedure employed in developing materials based on feedback from the students who actually utilized the materials. Lastly, reading and listening materials are introduced, which were developed from the websites of a Japanese company, that enables students to continue studying Japanese individually while in training at Japanese companies. In the future, we will research the problems of self-studying and ways that students can continue self-study by connecting language learning and internships.

Designing a Learning Environment: Teacher Training Course as a Learner Community

Chihiro Kinoshita THOMSON (Associate Professor of Japanese Studies, School of Languages and Linguistics, University of New South Wales)

The paper reports and examines the design of a learning environment for a participatory Japanese teacher training course. The course aims to develop teachers with the ability to achieve Japanese language teaching underpinned by sociocultural theory. The design of the learning environment ensures the establishment of a learning community wherein learners are assisted by various resources, and, through participation in class, develop new understanding and develop learner autonomy. This paper first discusses sociocultural theory and learner autonomy, then describes the design of the learning environment. Then, employing the concept that learning is actualized through changes in the community in which it occurs, this paper analyses the learning environment in terms of subject, resources and artifact, objects, regulations, community and role distributions, as defined within the sociocultural theory. Finally this paper reports the outcome and expresses the author's hope that the participating teacher trainees will practice delivery of participatory teaching underpinned by sociocultural theory.

An Application of Standards: Japanese-Language Curriculum Development for Graduate Students of International Relations

USHIDA Eiko (Lecturer, Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego)

Standards-based instruction has become the common philosophy among language educators across the U.S. since the Standards for Foreign Language Learning was developed. It presents its role as a primary framework and identifies important elements for foreign language learning. The standards specify five goal areas (5C' s) and eleven standards with sample progress indicators for the end of Grade 4 (elementary school), 8 (middle school), 12 (high school) and 16 (college). The standards help teachers set learning goals for their classes, allowing enough room for teachers to choose appropriate teaching approaches and materials to meet their goals. It is also expected that the standards will gradually improve the overall quality of Japanese language education (Kataoka, Tohsaku, and Furuyama 2001: 146). This paper examines the possibility of applying the standards for post-college level (i.e., Grade 17, 18) at a Graduate School of International Relations. Content-based instruction, the effective use of available learning resources, and ACTFL' s proficiency guidelines are integrated to design a standards-based curriculum for post-college Japanese courses. In this paper, the unit on “Japan in the international society: Japan's role” is introduced, illustrating curriculum design processes as well as sample progress indicators, actual course contents and activities that are developed to meet all standards. Student evaluations of the courses show that stu­dents evaluate the standards-based Japanese courses highly while reporting some difficulties. Qualitative comments by the students have indicated that “enjoy-ment” “content quality,” and “the effective use of tech-nologies” are the primary factors which seem to satisfy graduate students. Results support the possibility of expanded application of the standards for K-18 (kinder-garten to post-college) education. The paper concludes by stating the significance of having such goals and standards, and proposes the use of the standards as a versatile framework.

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