ICAS Event: How Japanese People React to Non-Native Speakers of Japanese

Thursday, December 9, 2010
7:00 p.m. (Talk will start at 7:30 p.m.)
TUJ Azabu Hall 206/207 (Access)
Judi Ishigami
Clifton Strickler
Free. Open to general public.
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The focus of this presentation is on the similarities and differences between Japanese native speaker teachers and undergraduates in their attitudes toward the speech of American learners of Japanese. Japanese is an ideal language for this investigation because the linguistic encoding of speech level forms carries affective significance. Moreover, in Japanese foreign language classes at the university level, the pedagogy typically emphasizes use of the polite form (です/~ます体), seen as “safer” for college-age adult learners.

Findings from Dr. Ishigami's study show that different groups of native speakers in fact show a preference for different speech styles, particularly in casual, friendly settings, and that the pedagogical practice might in fact hamper learners’ sociolinguistic development. Additionally, given a contextualized research model one finds that other, higher-order factors also influence native speaker reaction toward individual speakers. Lastly, Dr. Ishigami will discuss language-processing based developmental constraints that should be taken into account in interpreting real-time speech production by learners. The presentation will also include short samples of the original audio-based survey so that the audience can refer to specific aspects of the L2 speech.

About the Speaker

Dr. Judi Ishigami is a professor of Japanese Language and a member of the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University. She received her Ph.D. in Japanese Language from the Graduate School of International Languages and Cultures at Nagoya University in September 2008 and has been employed by the University of Massachusetts-Boston since. Her M.A. and Ph.D. research focuses on the acquisition of Japanese as a second language by adult learners of Japanese, specifically the cognitive and language processing skills underlying sociolinguistic competence and grammatical development. She maintains an original corpus of more than 200 hours of L2 Japanese speech samples collected during her residency at Nagoya University as a Monbukagaku scholar, and contributes innovative research findings academic forums and publications based on her corpus analyses.

About ICAS
The Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies (ICAS) is an organization dedicated to fostering study and research on various topics related to contemporary Japan and Asia.

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