佐々木璃子さん "A Study of Junichiro Tanizaki and Oscar Wilde"
My thesis examines the influence of Oscar Wilde in the works of Junichiro Tanizaki. Many researchers point out that the influence of Wilde can be found in Tanizaki, especially his early works from 1910 to 1911. Tanizaki admitted that he had read Wilde's works, but he denied immediate influences from the writer.
In Chapter 1, I examine “The Tattooer” and Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. In Chapter 2, I compare “The Secret” with Wilde's “Sphinx without a Secret”. It is clear that these works have a strong resemblance to Wilde. Tanizaki argues that these stories are based on Wilde's ideas: "life imitating art" and the power of secrets. He adopts several themes and characters from Wilde. Then he adds his ideas, adoration for females and masochism.
In Chapter 3, I pick up Tanizaki's middle-period work, “The Story of Tomoda and Matsunaga”, which can be compared with Wilde's comedy of manner, "The Importance of Being Earnest". The common theme is “a double life”. This idea is also related to the literary career of Tanizaki. It is the last work of Tanizaki which is influenced by Western culture. After that he starts to focus on Japanese culture, showing no signs of influence of Wilde after “The Story of Tomoda and Matsunaga”.
小林世奈さん "English Speaking by Non-Native Speakers"
Sena Kobayashi’s thesis “English Speaking by Non-Native Speakers” is an exemplary piece of undergraduate research writing for several reasons. First, she narrowed her topic down to a specific research question, focusing on the effects of non-nativelike pronunciation and grammar on native-speakers’ perception of non-native speech. Second, she carefully created experiments to answer her research questions. In designing her experiments, she took great care to ensure that the experiments were designed properly. In her introduction, she provided a discussion of previous research, and later in her paper, she points out how her experimental results were similar or different from previous research. Finally, she puts forth some of her own speculative ideas about why the results (which were, in some instances, unexpected) turned out as they did. Especially interesting was her observation that some common non-native errors appear to have little impact on native speakers’ ability to understand non-native speech.
The main purpose of this study was to clarify how pronunciation and grammar mistakes will affect perceptions of naturalness and understanding in speech. The findings are useful as they suggest features that non-native speakers should pay attention to when they speak, such as pauses and intonation.
Participants consisted of 12 native English speakers: one American college student, seven Australian university students and four Australian native speakers who had already completed their college education.
Experiment 1 used pause type as an independent variable to measure how fluency would affect understanding and intuitions for native speakers. There were three pause types: (1) word-by-word, (2) natural and (3) unnatural. Participants listened to ten sentences which had been manipulated according to these target conditions and then chose a number from one to six. In response to the question, “How natural is this sentence?” Participants answered: 6) completely natural 5) very natural 4) somewhat natural 3) somewhat unnatural 2) very unnatural or 1) completely unnatural.
Experiment 2 measured how intonation affects native speakers’ understanding and judgments regarding aural texts. This experiment employed a design similar to that of Experiment 1. However, the ten target sentences were recorded in two ways: (1) monotone and (2) natural intonation. In both Experiment 1 and 2, participants tended to choose natural conditions over the other conditions.
Experiment 3 used two Japanese folk tales to examine the influence of grammatical accuracy on native speakers’ perception of naturalness. Participants listened to two stories in which articles or prepositions had been randomly omitted. They then answered five questions about each story. This results showed that all participants gave correct answers on each question about two stories even though the stories contained article and preposition errors.
The over-all results indicated that appropriate pausing and natural intonation can lead to native speakers’ perceptions of speech as natural. At the same time, common grammar mistakes of Japanese speakers do not appear to be a serious problem in speech.