Acquisition of giving verbs in Japanese by Swedish students
This is a study of Japanese giving verbs and how Swedish university students acquire them. Japanese giving verbs are known to be complicated by involving the notions of uchi and soto, and difficult for foreigners to learn. A pilot test was conducted in order to examine the acquisition process of Japanese giving verbs by Swedish students. A multiple-choice test featuring three aspects of giving verbs in Japanese were included in the design of the test. They are 1)the three types giving verbs ‘ageru’, ‘kureru’ and ‘yaru’, 2)their honorific forms ‘sashiageru’ and ‘kudasaru’, and 3)their auxiliary usage such as ‘te ageru’. The data was collected from two groups of students, one at an intermediate level and the other at an advanced level, each consisting of 10 students. The results was interpreted according to the theories of second language acquisition and compared with the results obtained from previous studies. These include studies for child acquisition by native Japanese as well as for learners of Japanese as second language. The results show that Swedish students struggle with the differentiating between ‘ageru’ and ‘kureru’ and the usage of auxiliary verbs, while appearing to have very little difficulty with the honorific forms. Although none of the three features tested exist in Swedish and the contrastive theory of second language acquisition predicts they are all difficult to acquire by Swedish learners, there seems to be some differences in detail.