English word stress is contrastive; for example próduce is a noun meaning fruit and vegetables, and prodúce is a verb meaning “to manufacture.” Research has shown that accurate English word stress placement is vital to successful communication. Gallego (1990) reported that 64.6% of communication breakdowns between non-native teaching assistants and native undergraduate students occurred due to pronunciation errors, of which 35.8% were stress related. Despite the importance of word stress, Japanese learners of English do not typically receive pronunciation instruction and make frequent stress errors, especially when loanwords from English are accented differently in Japanese from the original English (e.g. English páttern vs. Japanese patáan). Because memorizing correct stress placements by rote is burdensome, it would certainly be ideal to learn them without explicit instruction or conscious memorization. We report on a preliminary study that examined the effects of a computer-based online word repetition exercise on the acquisition of English word stress, modelling after a previous study that demonstrated a significant beneficial effect of this type of exercise on the acquisition of Japanese word accentuation (Yoshida, 2010).
Whereas the effects of socio-psychological and conscious (i.e., macro-level) emotion on L2 learning have been well investigated, the existence and the effects of here-and-now and elusive (i.e., micro-level) emotion on L2 learning have not been investigated fully so far. This beachhead study approached this under-cultivated field by investigating whether the difference in emotional valence of L2 words has different impacts on incidental lexical memory. The stimulus words were selected from the prototypical Affective Norms of English Words for Japanese L2 Users of English (proto-ANEW-JLE), which were subdivided into three groups (positive, neutral, and negative). In the study session, participants were asked to rate the emotional valence of each word presented on the computer screen. In the succeeding test session, they were asked incidentally to recall as many words that had been presented in the study session as possible. It was revealed that positive words were recalled significantly more than negative words and marginally more than neutral words, which corroborated positive psychological accounts. The findings propound that the effects of the elusive, pervasive, and subconscious dynamism of micro-level emotion on cognition be a potential target of inquiry and consideration in the field of SLA research and pedagogy.
Over the past four decades, the subject of collocations has received increasing attention in the field of applied linguistics (e.g. Sinclair, 1991; Wray, 2002). Many researchers have explored the studies on the use of collocations by learners (e.g. Durrant, 2008). In recent years, corpus-based studies examining the use of collocations by learners have shed light on the learners’ use of respective parts of speech and their collocations (e.g. Nesselhauf, 2003; Siyanova & Schmitt, 2008). To date, however, these earlier studies have not necessarily included the perspective of sociolinguistic variables, such as the register, gender, age, status, and ethnicity, of the participants of the reference corpus despite the importance of such factors as learners’ language variation depending on the social context they belong. Among these factors, this study focuses on the gender effect of Japanese learners’ use of amplifiers and their collocations, utilizing the NICT JLE Corpus (Izumi, Uchimoto, & Isahara, 2004), the spoken corpus of Japanese learners. The results indicate that the higher the level of the learners goes up, the more the number of amplifiers with significant differences across genders increases. The collocations including these amplifiers also demonstrated significant differences between genders.
The value of video content such as anime and TV drama in Japanese language learning, especially for learners who study the target language in their native lands, has been pointed out. However learners may produce pragmatically inadequate utterances by using knowledge which is gained by self-learning with media materials because linguistic performance, particularly in anime, often differs from that in the real world. A large number of learners of the younger generation want to learn contemporary Japanese youth dialogue or wakamonokotoba. Nowadays, many learners regularly watch video content for the purpose of language acquisition. In this paper I would like to promote the importance of establishing wakamonokotoba as a learning item in class. I will illustrate with an in-class example using video content for intermediate/advanced learners. A method for teaching contemporary youth dialogue is divided into four steps, adopting the views of Noticing Hypothesis (Schmidt, 1990) and Output Hypothesis (Swain, 1995) as follows: 1) introducing the concept of role-language, 2) observing role-language in anime, 3) observing contemporary youth dialogue in TV drama, and 4) creating Japanese subtitles for a TV drama in the learners' native language.