Yakuwarigo knowledge among learners of Japanese in a JSL context
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 23:38 by Yasunori Kato
Yakuwarigo (role language) is a form of Japanese language use which embodies particular characteristics of certain types of speakers. Consequently, most Japanese speakers who have grown up in Japan are able to identify particular character types simply by hearing or reading their Japanese, with or without visual images. Yakuwarigo is in fact essential knowledge for people who belong to a Japanese community since its members apply such knowledge when communicating with each other. Despite this, only a few yakuwarigo studies have been conducted from a Japanese language education perspective, and little is therefore known regarding yakuwarigo knowledge among learners of Japanese. This qualitative study investigates the depth of yakuwarigo knowledge and possible acquisition processes among a small cohort of learners living in Japan and studying Japanese as a second language. Data analysis reveals that participants possess a certain level of yakuwarigo knowledge, much of which has been acquired with the aid of resources that the participants access for enjoyment, rather than through formal classroom language learning. For these participants, Japanese manga and anime often play an initial role as a source of yakuwarigo input. This yakuwarigo knowledge is then reinforced by applying it in different contexts. Additionally, the findings highlight that noticing the existence of yakuwarigo is essential for its acquisition. This study provides another perspective in the field of yakuwarigo and opportunities to open Japanese educationalists to the importance of yakuwarigo for second language learners of Japanese.