Axis 2 – Japanese Linguistics: Structures and Evolutions


Coordinator: OSHIMA Hiroko

From its creation, CEJ has played a major role in the instruction of Japanese in France. The creation of the joint Master’s program between INALCO and the University of Paris-Diderot reinforces CEJ’s involvement in linguistic training, especially in applied linguistics.  Research on Japanese lexicology and semantics is underdeveloped in France, as even the most recent French-Japanese dictionary, by Charles Cesselin, was published in the first half of the 20th century. However, research is being further developed in Japan and constitutes a field, from a  cognitive and educational point of view.
Our project has two  aspects. The first has an essentially didactic goal, and the second seeks to to establish cooperation with researchers in SHS, around linguistics.Though this axis is still being developed, it has considerable potential and we hope to attractthe many Japanese linguistic specialists currently scattered throughout.


Project 1 – Grammatical mistakes

Project directors: ŌSHIMA Hiroko et NISHIO Sumikazu

This project has the goal of analyzing the mistakes of French students who are learning Japanese on the level of “verbal expression”.  It consists of a four year project which will explore the idea of “populations”. The goal of this project is both linguistic (semantic and lexical  aspects, the comparative study of two languages) and educational.

A group will be created with a double objective:

-to analyze written work (composition, theme and translation) and oral work ( conversation and oral presentation) of French students, collected from Japanese courses in order to establish a list of difficulties with the Japanese language for French students and to reflect on theoretical explanations.
-to publish a book based on this researchwhich could be of assistance to both students and instructors of Japanese language.


Project 2 – Kango, wago and gairaigo

Project Director: NAKAJIMA Akiko

Kango are originally sino-japanese lexicon words, Wago originates from the indigenous Japanese language, and Gairaigo consists of words with Western origins. This project will examine how the rich and varied lexicon of the Japanese language is used in a contemporary context. Furthermore, terminology differs morpho-phonologically, semantically, and stylistically, which is an important aspect as well.  Our project has not only a linguistic purpose but also an interdisciplinary aspect.
Regular workshops will be organized in 2014 and 2015 to describe the characteristics of the use of these three lexicons. Analysis will follow in 2016 and , based on their outcomes, conferences will be organized in 2017, followed by a collective publication in 2018.


Project 3 – Evolution of the Japanese language from 1995 to today

Project directors: OSHIMA Hiroko et HIGASHI Tomoko

The project aims to define linguistic evolutions using various works which have marked Japanese society during the years 1955-2012 (including  films, television series, plays, manga and novels), to analyze linguistic indexes which appear in these bodies of work, with a final goal of describing the evolution of the Japanese language.
Focus will be placed on the two evolving aspects: the differences in feminine and masculine language, and communication within the family. These linguistic evolutions will be considered using two chronological axis, and concentrate on the following two questions:
-How does one talk? (the role of language, register,  method, politeness, etc.)
-What does one talk about ? (themes, taboos, etc.)

A dozen researchers, some from outside of the CEJ team, will work on this project, focusing especially on ritualized situations of communication such as family meals, disputes, greetings, etc. Regular meetings are expected to be held between 2014 and 2016 to ensure a high quality of research. The years 2017 and 2018 will be dedicated to the organization of academic workshops and to the publishing of this work.