ERIC Number: ED024026
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1968-Apr
Reference Count: 0
A Study of Second Language Learning: The Influence of First Language on Perception, Cognition and Second Language Learning--a Test of the Whorfian Hypothesis. Final Report.
Niyekawa, Agnes M.
The use of the "traditional passive" form of the Japanese verb indicates to a native speaker that the subject of the verb was involuntarily subjected to something unpleasant. When combined with the causative form (passive causative), it is felt that the subject of the sentence was "caused to" take an action and is therefore not responsible for the act nor its outcome. These meanings must be expressed in English by adding whole clauses or phrases. It was hypothesized that the availability of these constructions in Japanese would cause native speakers to interpret interpersonal events by using these passive verb forms while speakers of English would not. In a translation study, the original and the translated versions of 20 Japanese and 21 English short stories were compared. It was found that the English-speaking translators tended to disregard the connotative meaning of the traditional passive while Japanese translators tended to read such meanings into the English original. A perception study was based on cartoons of interpersonal conflict situations to test whether Japanese subjects would tend to attribute responsibility for the negative outcome to others rather than themselves. In this test the overall difference between Japanese and Americans was significant at the .001 level in the predicted direction. In related tests, however, Americans who had studied Japanese used the traditional passive about as much as did native speakers. (JK)
Descriptors: Bilingualism, Cognitive Processes, Cultural Background, Cultural Differences, Culture Conflict, German, Interference (Language), Japanese, Japanese Americans, Language Role, Perception, Psycholinguistics, Responsibility, Role Perception, Second Language Learning, Self Concept, Sociolinguistics, Translation, Verbs
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC. Bureau of Research.
Authoring Institution: Hawaii Univ., Honolulu. Education Research and Development Center.
Identifiers: Whorfian Hypothesis