My primary interest is to consider what kinds of expressions are natural in each language.
The Institute for Excellence in Higher Education, to which I belong, is an organization that aims to develop new models of higher education through development and promotion of inter-departmental education, promotion of internationalization in higher education, student counseling and support, and research and development in higher education. Within this organization, I am in charge of Japanese language teaching for international students. I also provide education and guidance to graduate students as an affiliate faculty member in the Graduate School of International Cultural Studies.
In terms of research, my fields of expertise are modern Japanese grammar, linguistics, and Japanese language teaching, and I am conducting research on “grammatical structures” such as aspect (inchoative, progressive, continuous, perfect, etc.) and voice (active, passive, causative, etc.). The questions I am interested in are what are the unique features of the Japanese language that need to be understood in order to teach the language, and what characterizes Japanese in comparison with other world languages. For example, imagine there is a piece of paper on a table. There are different ways to express this state: For example, a Japanese person might say, “Kami ga aruyo” (There is a piece of paper), or we might say, “Kami ga oitearu” (There is a piece of paper put on the table), or, “Kami ga okareteiru” (Paper has been put there). If we imagine that the piece of paper has a memo written on it, which someone left as a note to self, the most typical expression used to express this state would probably be, “Kami ga oitearu” (A piece of paper is left there). In other words, when a person puts an object in such a state for a certain reason, the expression “oitearu” is the most natural way to express the idea in Japanese. Furthermore, if we compare Japanese to other languages, the features of Japanese become more apparent. “Okareteiru” is a passive construction, and to give another example, people would typically say, “Saifu ga nusumareta” (My wallet was stolen), in Japanese, whereas in English, one would more often say, “Someone stole my wallet,” in the active voice. In English, people do not use passive constructions quite as often in a situation like this. My primary interest is to consider what kinds of expressions are preferred—and natural—in each language, and through my research, I hope to explore the language of Japanese in depth.