Japanese Adjective Conjugation Patterns and Sources of Difficulty in Foreign Language Learning

Xuexin Liu


This paper is a study of the complexity of Japanese adjective conjugations in relation to sources of foreign language learning difficulty. It focuses on two types of adjectives: i-adjectives and na-adjectives and their conjugation patterns, including their respective morphological requirements for particular grammatical functions. This study regards knowledge of Japanese adjective conjugations as one of the levels of abstract lexical structure: morphological realization patterns. To explore sources of learner errors in producing Japanese adjective conjugations, the speech performance data are from two groups of adult speakers of American English learning Japanese as a foreign language. This study makes two claims: Any successful acquisition of a foreign language must involve the complete acquisition of not only foreign language lexical items but also its morphological realization patterns, and any successful foreign language learner must be able to use language-specific morphological realization patterns as surface devices in speech production. This study offers some pedagogical suggestions for successful acquisition of Japanese adjective conjugation patterns.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/sll.v4n3p83


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