Print ISSN: 1481-5168 Online ISSN: 1929-3135
The mora-based theory (Higurashi 1983, Tsujimura and Davis 1987, Sato 1989, Poser 1990, Uwano 1997, and Akinaga 2001) divides Japanese compound nouns (N1・N2) into two types—‘short’ compound nouns (N2 ≦ 2 morae) and ‘long’ compound nouns (N2 ≧ 3 morae). It is agreed in the literature that predicting the accent pattern of ‘short’ compound nouns is difficult, but the accent pattern of ‘long’ compound nouns can be predicted to a certain extent by finding the position of the N2’s accented mora. Inaba (2002) focuses on ‘long’ compound nouns and examines their accent patterns based on a metrical approach. He extracts a series of ‘long’ compound nouns from the NHK Dictionary of Pronunciation and Accents (1998) and examines 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. In this paper, I will attempt to demonstrate a practical application of Inaba (2002) to teaching the rhythmic patterns of Japanese compound nouns.
This case study explores Chinese native speakers’ use of dictionaries in the process of reading Japanese text. Three Chinese students who were studying intermediate-level Japanese at a university in Canada participated in this study. Contrary to general assumptions that Chinese native speakers could read Japanese text relatively easy due to their kanji knowledge, detailed analyses from the participants’ think-aloud protocols, interviews, and observation notes revealed that they had problems in understanding Japanese text even though they used two kinds of dictionaries (Japanese-English and kanji dictionaries). Japanese sentences are written without space between words and many Japanese words consist of kanji and hiragana. Because the participants’ knowledge in Japanese vocabulary and syntax was still limited, they often cut words and phrases written in hiragana inappropriately. This hindered their checking words in the dictionary. Comparing the present participants to the English native speakers (advanced-level Japanese-language learners) in Uzawa’s study (2000), the Chinese students’ knowledge of kanji was not an advantage for understanding Japanese text. Knowledge of Japanese syntax, vocabulary, and kanji in Japanese pronunciation is the key for using dictionaries efficiently for reading Japanese text.
This study investigated whether level of achievement and difficulty of task influenced the students’ choice and preferences for feedback options when doing computerized closed-exercises of Japanese particles. Forty-seven college students were divided into three groups: high-achievers (HA), middle achievers (MA), and low-achievers (LA) based on their achievement level of Japanese. Four feedback options were provided: 1) right answer, 2) correct/incorrect information, 3) English translation, and 4) grammatical information. Analyses were conducted for two difficulty levels of task. Types of strategies used by HA and LA were also obtained by follow-up interviews. The study found that the level of student achievement and difficulty level of the task affects the students’ choice of feedback options on the computerized closed-exercises of Japanese particles. HA used more types of feedback options when the task was more difficult, and they also chose grammatical information option more often than LA, while LA chose English translation option more often as a clue. The study suggests an innovative design of feedback options for language grammar exercises, which induces students to use grammatical information option more often.
The present study investigated the influence of biographical history on a native speaker teacher of Japanese. A teaching assistant of a large public university in the Midwest, who grew up and went through the educational system in Japan, was chosen as a participant for a 16-week long case study. Through data sources such as formal and informal interviews, classroom observations and teacher journal, three major themes associated with the participant’s biographical history were found: being Japanese, career and status change, and teaching philosophy. The discussion includes the importance of identifying native teachers’ backgrounds and beliefs to prepare them for cross-cultural conflicts that they might encounter in the foreign language classroom.
Along with the dramatic increase in numbers of students of Japanese in the early 1990s, proficiency levels also increased considerably. Consequently, many students now aim to attain a proficiency level high enough to communicate in work situations, which characterizes the functional aspect of the ACTFL Advanced-level proficiency rating. Unfortunately, fluency, another key attribute to the ACTFL-OPI Advanced level, has been considered difficult to teach in the classroom. For example, skills such as aizuchi and fillers play a significant role in facilitating smoothness in oral communication, yet few textbooks teach them. While more teaching materials in recent years have begun incorporating aizuchi in order to create more natural sample dialogues, students are rarely taught about fillers beyond “etto”, nor are they given opportunities to practice varieties of them. Such inattention and the lack of practice have unfortunately lead to the myth that the only way to attain the ACTFL Advanced-level of fluency is to live in Japan. There is a definite need for materials and strategies to teach fillers. The present paper examines the acquisition of fillers by the participants of an eight-week summer study-abroad program and makes recommendations for classroom instruction based on the results.
In the first part of this study, students’ motivation for learning in Japanese was analyzed separately from their preferences for interacting with Japanese speaking communities, by comparing the mean scores of the questionnaires among three groups of students—(a) sojourners, (b) sojourners who do not know the length of their stay in the U.S., and (c) immigrants or students who had lived in the U.S. since pre-school age. The second part of this study reported average scores of each achievement test in the curriculum of Saturday Japanese Language Supplementary School (SJLSS). Three conclusions were drawn from the results of this study. Primarily, it was found that the average scores of questionnaires and tests were highest among sojourners, next-highest among sojourners who do not know the length of their stay, and lowest among immigrants or students who had lived in the U.S. before school age. Second, it was revealed that the immigrant group students preferred learning Japanese culture and interacting with Japanese speaking community. Third, the tenth graders, who were beyond compulsory education, showed more positive attitudes toward learning than the ninth graders. The results of this study indicate that it is important for SJLSS to provide positive learning environments for students who have lived in the U.S. for a long time, by supplying cultural background information that the students might otherwise miss. SJLSS should contribute to maintaining interest in Japanese affairs and fostering a new generation that will continue to build bridges of understanding between Japan and the U.S.
The purpose of this study was to investigate how Japanese-English bilinguals process the particles wa and ga to comprehend a Japanese story. The focus of this investigation was to determine how the readers use these particles as clues to comprehend a story. I collected and analyzed data of readers’ eye movement and miscues. Using eye movement and miscue analysis, the findings of this study showed different fixation times on the particles of wa and ga during reading. The fixation times were related to the readers’ comprehension of the text. The miscue data showed how the readers processed the text. When the readers tried to make sense of the text, the readers did several miscues such as repetition, correction, substitution, and omission of words based on their prediction and confirmation processes. The results of the research indicated that as the readers acquired more Japanese language, they needed less time to process wa than ga. However, the readers also tended to pay greater attention to the contrastive wa.
As the socio-pragmatic aspect of L2 competence has attracted Japanese teachers’ attention, communicative approach has acquired more popularity in Japanese language education. However, many classroom activities which are designed and conducted based on communicative approach are indeed not very effective in fostering learner’s true communicative competence due to teachers’ insufficient understanding of communication process and their confusion of “means” with the “goal” as in what it is to be communicative. In this paper, starting with a brief analysis on the characteristics of communicative approach, I will point out some major problems which are common among communicative approach-based activities in Japanese language classroom. I will, then, discuss communicative competence and its learnability under classroom condition, and present a suggestion of classroom activities and materials, which enable teachers to provide their students with appropriate socio-pragmatic inputs. These socio-pragmatic inputs are especially important in language classroom in foreign language setting, where this type of information is seldom available to L2 learners.
Although Japanese is considered to be a verb-oriented language, while western languages are considered to be noun-oriented, there are a number of phenomena which suggests that Japanese is noun-oriented. The purpose of this paper is to explore whether Japanese is verb-oriented or noun-oriented by examining functions of Japanese nouns, especially those of nominal predicate. In Chapter 1, after several remarks which claim that Japanese is verb-oriented are shown, an example of Japanese sentences in which a lot of nouns are used is introduced. Chapter 2 examines functions of Japanese nouns. In Chapter 3, the way how Japanese nouns work as predicate or in sentence final position is explored. Sentences which have a noun as predicate or in sentence final position are as follows.
1. typical nominal sentence
2. adjectival-like nominal sentence
3. verbal-like nominal sentence
4. pseudo-cleft sentence
5. unagi sentence
6. sentence which has no subject
7. sentence which has a sentence final noun
8. sentence which has a pseudo-noun in sentence final position
Chapter 4 examines frequency in use of a predicate noun. Finally, in Chapter 5, it is claimed that Japanese is noun-oriented in a sense that situation is seized and expressed as a noun, while western languages are noun-oriented in a sense that situation is seized and expressed with a noun as the central figure.
“WAKEDA” is one of the sentence-final modal expressions. Sugie (1996) proposed five classifications of“WAKEDA”as follows, reconsidering the analyses of Teramura (1984) and Morita & Matsuki (1989), and adopting the analysis of Kitagawa (1995).
Type 1: Logical consequence
Type 2: Natural understanding
Type 3: Suggesting other meaning, Paraphrase
Type 4: Reinforcing of certainty
Type 5: Discourse modality indicator
Because“WAKE”in“WAKEDA”has the meaning of“the course of cause and effect”, these 5 “WAKEDA”can be diagramed as“P→Q”consistently. However, Type 1- Type 4 are diagramed as“P→Q”at proposition level, and Type 5, at speech act level. This paper argues that“the reasoning process of P→Q”always existing in“WAKEDA”is the key to explaining the difference between“WAKEDA”and other sentence-final modal expressions, through comparison with“NODA”.
The aim of this paper is to present how modal adverbs change their semantic features and come to carry similarities or multiplicities of meaning in sentence. In this paper, the adverbs –“sasuga”, ”yahari”, ”shosen”, “kekkyoku”, “sukunakutomo”, and ”semete” – are analyzed in relation to features in other elements in sentences such as nouns and other modal expressions. Those features, as well as the features of modal adverbs, are analyzed by using semantic distinctive features. This paper argues that when two different modal adverbs carry a similar meaning in different sentences, a feature of another element may function as a key to indicate a difference. For instance, when adverbs “sukunakutomo” and ”semete” appear to have a similar meaning, say, the feature of modal meaning “WISH”, which “sukunakutomo” does not usually have but ”semete” always does, it is interpretable on the basis of other element in a sentence with “sukunakutomo”. Similarly, the multiplicity of meaning is correctly interpretable by the combination of the features of adverbs and other elements in a sentence. When the adverb “sasuga” carries the modal meaning of “HIGH EVALUATION” in one sentence and “LOW EVALUATION” on the other, each modal meaning is translated on the basis of other elements in the sentence, respectively.