Psychology: Projects in Progress

Title

When Actions Don’t Speak Louder than Words: How Spoken Japanese Promotes Gender Perceptions

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Psychology & Japanese

Minor

n/a

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Maria Brown-Vazquez, Ph.D.

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

This study will explore the relationship between the level of formality being used by a native Japanese speaker and others’ perceptions of him/her. Within the Japanese language, multiple meanings can be carried through the use of formal and informal language. The conveyed meaning (e.g., rudeness, joking) depends on the situation as well as the gender and age of the speaker. For example, should two friends use unexpectedly polite language with each other, they are likely trying to be funny or employ sarcasm in their exchange. However, if a worker uses informal language with his/her boss, it would convey contempt or disrespect. This research will explore whether language proficiency in L2 Japanese learners is associated with a native-like understanding of these norms by asking them to judge speakers who use appropriate and inappropriate levels of formality in everyday conversations. It is predicted that those with higher proficiency in Japanese will show more native-like interpretations of native Japanese speakers. It is also predicted that listeners will give more masculine ratings to men and women use informal Japanese and more feminine ratings to women and men who use formal Japanese.

Location

Classroom 210, Waterfield Library

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Affiliations

Psychology: Projects in Progress

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Nov 18th, 8:00 AM Nov 18th, 10:00 AM

When Actions Don’t Speak Louder than Words: How Spoken Japanese Promotes Gender Perceptions

Classroom 210, Waterfield Library

This study will explore the relationship between the level of formality being used by a native Japanese speaker and others’ perceptions of him/her. Within the Japanese language, multiple meanings can be carried through the use of formal and informal language. The conveyed meaning (e.g., rudeness, joking) depends on the situation as well as the gender and age of the speaker. For example, should two friends use unexpectedly polite language with each other, they are likely trying to be funny or employ sarcasm in their exchange. However, if a worker uses informal language with his/her boss, it would convey contempt or disrespect. This research will explore whether language proficiency in L2 Japanese learners is associated with a native-like understanding of these norms by asking them to judge speakers who use appropriate and inappropriate levels of formality in everyday conversations. It is predicted that those with higher proficiency in Japanese will show more native-like interpretations of native Japanese speakers. It is also predicted that listeners will give more masculine ratings to men and women use informal Japanese and more feminine ratings to women and men who use formal Japanese.