Japanese verb-form transformation by early second-language learners




Steffanick, Adam

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This thesis explores ways in which 12 learners of Japanese as a foreign language transform morphologically complex verbs taught as whole words. Written data, collected via a grammar test, and oral data, collected via think-aloud protocols, were used to explore verb-form transformation to the gerund (-te) form. These data were analysed to determine processes participants utilised during derivations. Resulting data indicate participants (1) are largely unaware of morphology, (2) cannot identify consonant-final verb-roots, (3) focus on verb-final characters during categorisation, (4) derive the gerund using prior knowledge – generally grammar rules, (5) link to vocabulary, morphological, phonological, and grammar knowledge during derivations, and (6) differ in performance as measured by the grammar test through utilising types of knowledge differently and in combinations. This implies current pedagogy may not heed learning preferences of learners. This thesis identifies types of knowledge involved during verb transformation tasks and suggests research into task-appropriate lessons.



second-language acquisition, verb-form, conjugation, Japanese, strategy