Japanese-Language Education around the Globe - Vol.9 Summaries

Contributed Theses

Expanded Teaching of the Passive Voice

OGAWA Yoshimi (Associate Professor, International Student Center, Yokohama National University)
ANDO Setsuko (Japanese Language Instructor, International Center, Senshu University)

This paper examines the teaching of the passive voice as a useful tool in assuring that students of the Japanese Language become able to produce correct passive sentences in appropriate situations. Grammatical explanations of the passive voice are indispensable not only in the elementary level, but also in the intermediate and advanced levels, though until now it has not been taught past the basic levels.
We plan to apply the result of this grammatical analysis to the syllabus of the passive voice. In order to assure proper usage, we will, in the elementary level, present that the noun before case particle "ga" is animate and the receiver of influence. In the inter- mediate level, typical usage of NON-affective passive will be introduced, and in the advanced level, various alternative meanings and functions will be presented.
We propose to work from this prototype, in order to expand the syllabus.

Japanese Volunteers' Participation in Overseas Japanese Language Educational Activities: Issues and Roles of Teachers

Chihiro Kinoshita Thomson (Head, Department of Japanese and Korean Studies, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
Hiromi Masumi-So (Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)

Resources used in Japanese language education are no longer limited to traditional textbooks and dictionaries. Language education involves community resources including Japanese volunteers who support Japanese language educational activities in various manners. To distinguish this new and wider concept of Japanese language education from traditional classroom-based, teacher-led environments, this paper uses the expression, "Japanese language educational activities."
Japanese language volunteers' participation in Japanese language educational activities elevates learners' motivation as well as promotes learner autonomy, and is hoped to contribute to more efficient acquisition of the language by the learners. However, their participation does raise issues that have not been discussed in previous literature. Issues encompass learners expecting too much of volunteers, volunteers underestimating / overestimating learners' abilities, gaps between learner needs and what volunteers wish to teach them, and volunteers with inadequate motivation.
This paper discusses these issues and explores teacher roles that prevent or minimize problems associated with the issues. The paper suggests that teachers, as coordinators of learning, could devise syllabus which volunteers are a part of, could advocate learner autonomy through planned activities, could promote visibility of Japanese language learners to enhance volunteers' understanding of the learners, and could prepare learners with specific skills necessary for anticipated contact situations with volunteers.

What is Possible in the Peer Response Activity ? The Case of Intermediate Japanese-Second Language Students

IKEDA Reiko (Graduate School, Ochanomizu University)

The peer response is a students' face-to-face negotiation activity for revising an essay. It is said to encourage learner's critical and analytical skills and autonomous learning, and to improve learner's abilities of interaction, which require multiple linguistics competence.
This study analyzes the interaction of intermediate Japanese second-language students in their peer response and that of a student-teacher conference. The utterances in each session were categorized into topics discussed and the language functions, and compared with two type sessions.
The results show that the peer interaction provided more effective negotiations on lexical and grammatical features than in the conference. The analysis of language functions in utterances revealed two differences initiated by learners, which were not found in the conference with a teacher. One is that an utterance encourages the next step. The other is that the learners qualify their own utterances when they provide advice or a critical opinion to their peer.

Authentic Voices: Insights into a Japanese Education Practicum

David Chapman and Barbara Hartley (Lecturers in Japanese and Japanese Studies, Faculty of Education and Creative Arts, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia)

This paper examines how opportunities for Japanese second language students to engage in Japanese language events are socially constructed. The language events in this case occur within a primary school setting in Japan in which the students are engaged in a teaching practicum. Aspects of the social organization that assist or inhibit the participation of second language learners in a Japanese language community are also investigated. Particular attention is given to Norton Peirce's (1995) assertion that second language acquisition (SLA) researchers have a responsibility to challenge the artificial distinction, evident in the work of many SLA theorists, between the language learner and the language learning context.
Data reveals that students are undergoing a process of negotiating legitimacy and the right to speak in a Japanese second language context that is supported by their role as in-service teacher. Candid comments reveal processes that are significant in assisting, or are detrimental to, participation in the social arena. It is hoped that this paper will act as an impetus for further discussion of social dynamics and their effects on second language learners and, in addition, contribute to our understanding of the dynamics of study abroad programs.

Needs Analysis in Australian Universities

WAKABAYASHI Hideaki (Lecturer, School of Arts and Sciences, McAuley Campus, Australian Catholic University, Australia.)

In order to achieve more efficient learning for Japanese language learners, it is not sufficient for teachers to simply apply a new teaching method. This paper argues that instead it is necessary for teachers to change their awareness, and it demonstrates why needs analysis is necessary. Needs analysis is a useful tool for teachers to take a fresh look at their own teaching and to reconsider the students' learning environment. In reality, however, needs analysis is probably not conducted very much, because it is generally believed that different needs exist in different learning environments and so it is difficult to generalize. In this study, needs analysis was conducted on students studying Japanese at two different universities in Australia. The study focused on pinpointing differences and similarities and on examining the possible tendencies between the two universities and among different grades. Based on the result of the needs analysis, this paper also discusses how needs analysis could be utilized in the future and what is required in the role of Japanese teacher.

The Role of Kanji Knowledge Transfer in Acquisition of Japanese as a Foreign Language

MATSUNAGA Sachiko (Assistant Professor of Japanese, California State University, Los Angeles, U.S.A.)

While a large number of studies have investigated the role of first language (L1) transfer in processing the second language (L2) in the spoken form, only a small number of studies have done so in processing L2 in the written form. Those that did so investigated the role of kanji (Chinese characters) knowledge transfer, and reported its positive effects on the initial development of reading skills in Japanese as an L2. More specifically, these studies indicated that at least initially, those who have learned kanji in their L1s outperform those who have not, by transferring that knowledge to Japanese word recognition and reading comprehension. However, whether these positive effects also exist at later stages is not clear. Moreover, whether such transfer could have negative effects should also be investigated.
The purpose of this paper is therefore to clarify these two issues, by examining the reading performance (i.e., reading speed and comprehension of two Japanese texts) of 40 intermediate and advanced nonnative readers of Japanese with and without kanji background. The data from this study indicated that those who could transfer, but did not know the Japanese pronunciations of kanji words, do obtain high comprehension when reading Japanese texts which contain many kanji and Sino-Japanese words, but at the cost of their oral proficiency. Together with the additional finding of the high correlation between the participants' oral skills and their guessing skills regarding the meanings of unknown kanji words, this paper asserts that for the full development of Japanese reading skills, it is crucial to develop solid oral proficiency and to acquire the ability to decode kanji words via Japanese sounds.

Teaching Acts to Support Learning: Extracting Students' Positive Voluntary Utterances

NOHARA Miwako (Lecturer, Japanese Language and Culture Centre, Indonesia)

As students' needs diversify, the teacher's role as an assistant of learning has gained much attention (Nuibe 1991). To support learning, teachers must make an environment that contributes to language acquisition; however, there is only limited knowledge of the effective teaching acts that succeed in doing so. In this study, I report the factors that lead to students' voluntary utterances (pointed out to promote the language acquisition), and then discuss what teachers should do to support learning in their classes.
To begin with, I made clear the effects of students' voluntary utterances on language acquisition. Secondly, I tried to classify them. From the point of "positiveness," students' voluntary utterances can be classified into two types: positive voluntary utterance and non-positive voluntary utterance. In this study, I only treat the former, since it can be a direct means to solve the problems that students have. Through classroom analysis, I specified the contents and situations of positive voluntary utterances. Based on this research, I studied teaching acts that extract positive voluntary utterances from students.
In general, irrespective of the contents, the results show that an interactive situation, which is easy to negotiate, more effectively promotes positive voluntary utterances than a situation in which information is given in only one way, like a teacher's explanation. This suggests that teachers should pay attention to making interactive situations to support learning.

An Empirical Contrastive Study of the Passive in Japanese and Korean:Through an Analysis of the Usage Rate in TV Serial Dramas and Newspaper Columns

HEO Myeongja (Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Shigakukan University)

In this paper, I investigated how Japanese passive and Korean passive are used in spoken and written languages, using the TV serial dramas and newspaper columns as a sample, and obtained the following results.
First, for the usage rates of the passive in the spoken language, Japanese passive was 6.5% and Korean passive 2%, indicating that the rate of passive usage was low in spoken language.
Secondly, for the usage rate of passive in the written language, Japanese passive was 12.4% and Korean passive 20%, indicating that the rate of passive usage in the written language was much higher.
Thridly, for the usage rate of the direct passive and the indirect passive, the direct passive was overwhelming high. Specially, for the rate of the direct passive in newspapers, Japanese was 97.2% and Korean was 99%.
Fourth, for the usage of passive in spoken Japanese, the rate of the animate passive was 70.7% and the non-animate passive 16.4%. And for the usage of passive in written Japanese, the rate of the animate passive was 31.2% and the non-animate passive 66%.

The Changes in Passive Expression in Modern Japanese and Korean Languages: Centering on Novels

YOON Ho Sook (Doctoral Student, Hiroshima University)

Since the modern age, both the Japanese and Korean languages are said to have developed significantly under the infiuence of West European languages. In this paper, through demonstrative research of the early modern age and modern novels, observations are made on how passive expressions in Japanese and Korean have changed, following introduction of the West European passive expressions. As a result, it was found that regardless of the difference in level, both languages did show changes in passive expressions in the frequency of usage and in syntax.

The Selection of "Ga" and "Wa" in Japanese Texts

NAGAI Aiko (Graduate School DPh. (International Studies), Kobe City University of Foreign Studies)

In Japanese, proper use of the particles ga and wa, which mark the agent in verbal predicate sentences, partly depends on the relation of a sentence's propositional content to the preceding sentence. For example, compare the following two sets of consecutive sentences. In (1)b, wa is used; in 2(b), ga is used.

  1. (1) a. A disheveled man boarded the train. b. The mother with children in tow (wa) nonchalantly moved to another car.
  2. (2) a. A disheveled man boarded the train. b. The mother with children in tow (ga) had dozed off.

As these two sentences illustrate, wa marks the agent when a sentence's propositional content is related to the preceding sentence; ga marks the agent when this relation is tenuous.
Though previous research has focused on the agent's nature as new information or old information, sentence elements other than the agent are also relevant to the use of ga or wa. Specifically, in wa sentences, elements expressing relation to the preceding sentence tend to appear, while in ga sentences, elements not expressing relation to the preceding sentence tend to appear. Observation of this phenomenon with respect to three sentence constituents (complement, adverbial modifier, predicate) revealed the following tendencies.
Wa sentences tend to contain the anaporic so series, pronouns, adverbial modifiers that refer to or are based on the preceding sentence and predicates that refer to the preceding sentence. Ga sentences tend to contain elements that do not express a relation to the preceding sentence.

Particle "nagara" : Compared with "temo"

CHEN Fen Hui (Graduate School of Letters, Nagoya University)

There are a number of conjunctive particles in Japanese which are used to express paradoxical junction. Comparative studies have been conducted concerning keredomo and noni, noni and temo, temo and tatte. Although nagara and temo may also be used to express paradoxical meaning, to my knowledge there is no extant research concerning the semantic similarities and differences between the two. The meaning and the use of these particles are not completely identical; each has its own characteristics. One of the two purposes of this paper is to analyze and consider the meaning of nagara. The other purpose is to clarify in which cases nagara and temo are used properly and in which cases they can replace each other. This paper will also reveal subtle differences between these two particles.

A Study of naka and uchi

OSHIMA Hiroko (Assistant Professor, Applied Foreign Languages Department, University of Orleans, France)

This paper attempts to compare and analyze the use of naka and uchi, which both mean "interior of something," based on actual examples that are classified according to their grammatical structure (uchi/naka+particle). Based on the results of this study, this paper gives an insight to the essential difference of "interiority" of naka and uchi.

The Use of Back-channels by Advanced Learners of Japanese: Its Qualitative and Quantitative Aspects

MUKAI Chiharu (Postgraduate Student, Faculty of Asian Studies, The Australian National University, Australia)

The brief vocalizations produced by the listener while the speaker is talking are called back-channels (BCs). BCs are necessary for a smooth flow of conversation and contribute greatly to the development of the speaker's talk. BCs are a universal behaviour which can be observed in any language. However, their usage differs from cluture to culture. In the cross-cultural settings, communication misunderstandings can occur due to the differing BC usage between different cultures. In Japanese language teaching, the necessity of teaching proper BC usage to learners is often emphasized. For the further understanding of learners' BC usage, more empirical studies on BCs used by learners are necessary.
The current study has attempted to investigate learners' BC behaviour and to suggest implications for teaching Japanese BCs to learners. Face-to-face casual conversations between pairs of a native speaker and a learner of Japanese, and between native speakers are observed. BC usage by learners and native speakers are found to be different qualitatively rather than quantitatively. The analysis of the frequency, focusing on intervals between BCs rather than the number of BCs produced, demonstrate learners produce BCs as frequently as native speakers do. The analysis of the functional aspects of BC usage indicate that learners do not express what they feel about what the speaker said as much as do native speakers when producing BCs. This implies that learners participate in a conversation less actively when they are playing the role of the listener.
On the basis of our findings, two major suggestions are presented: (i) to raise learners' awareness to the difference in the qualitative aspects of Japanese BC usage from those of the learners' native language, and (ii) to encourage learners to produce more BCs which show their attitude of willingness to cooperate and empathize with what the speaker said.

A Study of the Relation between the Start of Narrative and Turn-taking

LEE Li-yen (Lecturer, Department of Japanese Language, The University of Mingchuan, Taiwan)

In this paper, I define casual narrative as one action of recounting events that occurred in the past. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relation between the start of narrative and turn-taking. Four types of circumstances were identified when one wants to start a narrative: accept the turn given by the others, in the middle of holding the turn, take the turn voluntarily, and compete with others in taking the turn. The survey results indicate people avoid the circumstances of competing with others in taking the turn, and in most cases, people start the narrative when he/she holds the turn or takes the turn voluntarily.

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