Authentic Discourse and Model Exemplars in Japanese Language Textbooks: A Case Study of Apologies and Requests
In recent years, the communicative approach has prevailed in second language teaching, such that model dialogues are presented in textbooks for language learners. However, there has been little research on the extent to which such exemplars reflect authentic discourse in Japanese. This thesis, therefore, explores the speech acts of Japanese language native speakers (NSs), non-native speakers who are learning Japanese (NNSs), and discourse model examples presented in Japanese language textbooks (TXs) in order to investigate their similarities and differences, and thereby enhance the contents of textbooks. In particular, this thesis focuses on the discourse structure and expressions. The study takes a quantitative approach to the data analysis, using two different scenarios in settings of apology and requests. NSs pairs and NNSs pairs were requested to perform role-plays of two different scenarios in Japanese. The conversational data of the role-plays were transcribed, and the model exemplars of apology and request presented in the selected Japanese language textbooks were also analysed. The analysis employs the framework of cross-cultural speech act realisation patterns (CCSARP) of Blum-Kulka et al. (1989) to categorise utterances based on the intentions of the speakers into two parts, namely: Head Acts (HAs) and Supportive Moves (SMs). Once the data were classified by the CCSARP, individual HAs and SMs were sorted according to Brown and Levinson’s politeness theory (1987), which divides politeness strategies into four types: bald on record, positive politeness, negative politeness, and off record. By adopting both CCSARP and politeness theory, the characteristics of the discourse strategies and expressions of the three groups analysed in this thesis can be grasped. The analysis produces several new findings by identifying various ways in which the model dialogues in Japanese language textbooks fail to reflect the natural discourse of Japanese native speakers. The thesis presents suggestions for improvement for the benefit of textbook authors in future.