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ERIC Number: ED434536
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Mar
Pages: 23
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Why Can't Learners of Japanese as a Foreign Language Distinguish Polite from Impolite Speech Styles?
Cook, Haruko Minegichi
A study investigated the extent to which American learners of Japanese as a foreign language (JFL) are able to distinguish polite Japanese speech, and the effect of instruction on this skill. Specifically, it looked at performance on a midterm listening comprehension question in which students listened to self-introductory speeches of three job applicants and determined which was the most appropriate candidate for the job, based on content and pragmatic meaning. Focus was on students' judgment of the statements' pragmatic features, particularly degree of politeness. Subjects were 120 college students in 12 second-year class sections taught by eight teachers. The students overwhelmingly chose the applicant who satisfied explicit qualifications, even though the other two applicants used more polite speech, considered an important qualification in Japanese culture. All instructors were surprised by the findings; all would have rejected the applicant the students chose, based on inappropriate use of Japanese pragmatic features. Aspects of classroom instruction that may contribute to students' misunderstanding of these pragmatic features are discussed. Contains 20 references. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A