On Increasing Instructional Emphasis on the Differences Between Written and Spoken Grammars

Abstract

This paper proposes the necessity of increasing the emphasis on the different use of written and spoken grammars in classroom settings on the basis of Multiple Grammar Hypothesis (MGH) (Iwasaki, in preparation). MGH suggests that Japanese is a language that has a different set of grammars between written and spoken discourse aside from the difference in formality and that native Japanese speakers use them differently in accordance to language-used settings. This study analyzed Japanese intermediate-advanced learners’ compositions and three textbooks of Japanese as a Foreign Language (JFL) at their level (Intermediate Japanese, Tobira, and Aozora), and found that several grammar items that are specifically employed in spoken language were overused in their compositions. From the analysis of textbooks and past literature on Usage-Based Grammar and MGH, the paper suggests the possibility that written dialogues in Japanese textbooks get learners too accustomed to spoken grammar such as -toka ‘something like’, nanka ‘like’, and -tte (the colloquial version of quotative marker -to) in written discourse. With the recent trend of communicative approach in language classroom and with the proliferation of Japanese pop culture (anime, manga, drama, and movie), learners of Japanese are apt to have more exposure to spoken language than written language. This paper suggests that this deficit of opportunities to familiarize written grammar causes learners to apply spoken grammar to written discourse. It also warns against the possible confusion of JFL learners between spoken and written grammars, and also emphasizes the necessity of clearer distinction between spoken and written grammars.



Author Information
Mayumi Ajioka, UCLA, United States
Yumiko Kawanishi, UCLA, United States

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2013
Stream: Education

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