How do Japanese people really talk? Do they really agree all the time? Why does conversational Japanese sound different from the way Japanese language teachers talk? What can we learn from ordinary Japanese conversation to help improve our own Japanese? Students taking this course will develop a scientific understanding of the language that will give them the concepts and tools to answer these sorts of questions about Japanese and other languages, by examining how Japanese people really talk. The main tool for this endeavor is discourse analysis; the course introduces methodology and current research, applied to Japanese language investigations. Students will be guided in working with video-recordings and transcripts of Japanese conversation to see what Japanese people really do when they converse with one another, with hands-on training in the transcription and analysis of Japanese conversational data. Current discourse analytic research in Japanese sociolinguistics is a focus of reading and discussion in the course, as the course combines lectures with discussion and data analysis sessions. We look at conversational features related to genre (speech vs. writing, for example), politeness (and rudeness), pauses, overlap, speech and mental representations, style-shifting, final particles, and agreement/disagreement practices. Students will apply what they are learning in their own research using the data they have transcribed, writing up the results in data analysis papers to be presented to the class. To take this course, students must have taken 300-level courses through Japan 312, at the least, or higher. Students from Japan and those with high level Japanese skills are welcome. The course is taught in English.
1) Course reader: Readings consist of PDF files and web links available on Canvas
2) Course Pack: REQUIRED. Available at the Copy & Mail Center in the Communications Building basement (Communications 042, open M-F 8-5, firstname.lastname@example.org, 206-543-9630, )
Please see: Grading and Course Policies