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Title: Adversity or affectivity : a longitudinal experimental study of teaching Japanese ni passives to learners of Japanese as a foreign language
Author: Furukawa, Akiko
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis examines an effective way of teaching Japanese ni passives to learners studying Japanese as a foreign language. Japanese passives have triggered controversies in theoretical linguistics regarding issues such as their syntactic structures, classification and the origin of what is called the 'adversity' meaning. Adopting a cognitive approach, I shall propose that ni passives can be taught efficiently and effectively by abandoning the direct/possessor/indirect passive distinction, and instead, explaining all instances of these passives in terms of a single, core notion of 'affectivity' (Kuroda 1979). The effectiveness of this approach was empirically tested by teaching ni passives to two different groups of learners, via explicit grammar explanation designed to encourage the form-meaning and function connections of ni passives. The control group (7 learners) were taught multiple types of ni passives, and the experimental group (10 learners) were provided with the unified account that all ni passives have a meaning of affectedness, whether positive or negative. A series of experiments were conducted, in the form of picture description and other tasks, one week and nine months after the instructional treatment, and with subsequent follow-up. The results show that the approach proposed in the study was indeed effective. The metalinguistic comments some of the learners made indicate that explicit knowledge of the meanings and function of ni passives and the explicit association between the use of ni passives with certain (affective) situations seemed to have assisted learning, by motivating the use of ni passives. Also, certain intermediate forms that the learners produced in the course of learning will be explained by drawing upon a cognitive approach. The positive effects of the instructional treatment proposed in this study are encouraging for learners who only have limited exposure to the target language.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral