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Japanese context elaborations

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Japanese L7: Context elaborations

Students are expected to begin to engage in sustained interactions and produce increasingly extended texts, in which they explore the views of others, develop and share personal perspectives and justify, support or challenge ideas and opinions in different situations. Students are expected to begin responding critically to more extended and varied text types on familiar matters.

Context elaborations are examples for teacher guidance only. They should not be used as assessment tools.

Example 1: Conversation about visit to Japan

あけみ — 日本の旅行(りょこう)は どうだったの?

サラ — いいけいけんだったと思うよ。いろいろならうことができたから。

あけみ — 何が一番(いちばん)おもしろかった?

サラ — 朝はやく つきじの魚の市場(いちば)に行って、魚のオークションを見たことだな。

たくさんの しんせんな魚が 毎日この市場(いちば)から スーパーや魚屋に行くそうね。

あけみ — ええ。そうよ。しんせんな魚を 買いたいと思っている主婦(しゅふ)が 多いから、毎日買い物に行く人も いるのよ。

サラ — ああ、それで、日本の スーパーの トローリーは ニュージーランドのより 小さい んだ。でも、毎日行くのは めんどくさくない?

あけみ — そうかもしれない。でも かぞくのために しんせんな物を 買いたいとかんがえている主婦(しゅふ)が 多いと思うよ。それに 毎日の買い物は 近くの店に行く人が多いから、自転車(じてんしゃ)で 行くことができるでしょ?

サラ — そうなんだぁ。そういえば 、 自転車(じてんしゃ)にのって 買い物に行く女の人を よく見た。だから、日本の自転車に かごが かならず ついているのね。

Context and text type

Two students have just returned from their holidays and are discussing what they have been up to. Sarah has been to Japan and is talking to her Japanese friend, Akemi, about her experiences.

Text type

Conversation, informal. Interactive.

Examples showing how the student is:

Communicating information, ideas and opinions through increasingly extended and varied texts

Sarah uses the plain form as she is informally talking with a friend. Even in casual conversation, the girls have to use ending particles sometimes, for example, 見たことだな。and 行くそうね。This is to avoid being thought careless in their use of language or to avoid using language that only male speakers would normally use.

Sarah uses a relative clause naturally in the conversation to express an opinion or idea, rather than breaking it down into two sentences:

  • 自転車(じてんしゃ)にのって 買い物に行く女の人を よく見た。

By asking questions, 何が一番(いちばん)おもしろかった? Akemi prompts Sarah to think about how shopping in Japan is different from shopping in New Zealand.

It is important to remember that this is a spoken interaction. Therefore, spoken features such as pronunciation, intonation, rhythm patterns, delivery speed, audibility, and stress patterns have a bearing on the overall effectiveness of the communication and must also be taken into consideration.

Beginning to explore the views of others

By exploring Akemi’s view instead of simply making a judgment on what she has seen, Sarah develops a better understanding of Japanese culture:

  • ああ、それで、日本の スーパーの トローリーは ニュージーランドのより 小さいんだ。

Beginning to develop and share personal perspectives

By asking questions, 何が一番おもしろかった? Akemi prompts Sarah to think about how shopping in Japan is different from shopping in New Zealand. Sarah notes the fresh fish on sale at the markets – fish that will be sent to fish shops and supermarkets:

  • たくさんの しんせんな魚が 毎日この市場(いちば)から スーパーや魚屋に行くそうね。

Akemi offers her particular perspective on cultural practices:

  • しんせんな魚を 買いたいと思っている主婦(しゅふ)が 多いから、毎日買い物に行く人もいるのよ。

Her comment about the importance of food being fresh in Japan leads to a discussion about how New Zealanders and Japanese shop differently. By exploring Akemi’s view instead of simply making a judgment on what she has seen, Sarah develops a better understanding of Japanese culture:

  • ああ、それで、日本の スーパーの トローリーは ニュージーランドのより 小さいんだ。

Beginning to justify own ideas and opinions

Sarah notes the reason for baskets on the front of bikes in Japan:

  • だから、日本の 自転車(じてんしゃ)に かごが かならず ついているのね。

The use of だから and のね shows Sarah beginning to justify her ideas and opinions.

Beginning to support or challenge the ideas and opinions of others

Sarah risks stereotyping when she makes an implied comparison with New Zealand:

  • だから、日本の 自転車(じてんしゃ) に かごが かならず ついているのね。

This view would challenge Akemi, as not all bikes in Japan have baskets.

Sarah responds with そうなんだぁ, which is roughly equivalent to 'I see'; in this context it is used to support the other’s view.

Beginning to engage in sustained interactions and produce extended texts

By using the expression そういえば、Sarah indicates that she is reflecting on what is being said.

By asking the relatively spontaneous question でも、毎日行くのはめんどくさくない? in response to something Akemi has said, Sarah is beginning to engage in sustained interaction.

Sarah responds with 小さいんだ because she now understands why supermarket trolleys in Japan are smaller than supermarket trolleys in New Zealand.

Interpreting ways in which the target language is organised in different texts and for different purposes

The text contains conversational features such as:

  • そうね, どうだったの、めんどくさくない? できるでしょ?

Sarah interprets these features when Akemi uses them, and uses some in her responses:

  • そうなんだぁ。そういえば、よく自転車にのって 買い物に行く女の人を見た。

Note that Sarah uses ならう in the sentence: いろいろならうことができたから。ならう is often used to indicate the skills needed for a performance (for example, dance or piano). In this context, either 見る or けいけんする would be more suitable.

Sarah adjusts her language by using nominalisation to reply to a question:

  • 魚のオークションを見たことだな。

Note the crucial difference between the katakana for trolley bus (トロリー) and supermarket trolley (トローリー).

Opportunities for developing intercultural communicative competence

Explore shopping practices in Japan. How are habits changing? For example, to what extent do people in Japan engage in Internet shopping? What does the produce section in a Japanese supermarket look like compared with in New Zealand? (Pieces of fruit such as apples are often wrapped individually, for example.) Compare and contrast different aspects of shopping in Japan and New Zealand.

A bike with a shopping basket is referred to as a ままちゃり or 'mother’s bike'. Consider this colloquialism, and other similar expressions, and explore what they reveal about particular cultural roles and practices in Japanese society. How are these roles changing over time? How are they reflected in contemporary written and visual texts?

Last updated March 6, 2013