Learning Japanese Onomatopoeia through a Narrative-Evaluation E-Learning System

Xiaoyan Li


In Japanese, onomatopoeia are an important element in expressing feelings and experiences. They are difficult for students of Japanese to acquire, especially the nuances. Herein, we propose an e-learning system to improve the efficiency of teaching the nuances – both explicit and tacit – to non-native speakers of Japanese in three steps. We synthesized a new learning strategy available to students leaning Japanese onomatopoeia using narrative strategies to mimic the learning methods used by native speakers. This was achieved by firstly teaching the formal rules representing the explicit nuances. Secondly, the students created new onomatopoeic words by utilizing those formal rules. Finally, feedback was provided by evaluating the onomatopoeias created through the support system of narrative strategies to provide implicit teaching. To verify the effectiveness of the proposed method and the learning system, we conducted an experiment involving two groups of subjects. While Group A got feedback about the appropriateness of their onomatopoeic constructions from the native speakers’ narrative interpretations, Group B just reviewed the database material like in a traditional classroom. Results indicate our e-learning system has a significant effect on the acquisition of a working understanding of onomatopoeia.


onomatopoeia; tacit nuance; narrative interpretation; e-learning system; second language teaching

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Published : 2021-07-09

LiX. (2021). Learning Japanese Onomatopoeia through a Narrative-Evaluation E-Learning System. Theory and Practice of Second Language Acquisition, 7(2), 155-175. https://doi.org/10.31261/TAPSLA.8514

Xiaoyan Li 
Kyushu University  Japan

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