International students at the Japanese Language Class, School of Engineering (JLCSE) have to start their research as soon as they arrive in Japan, regardless of their ability. We thought it would be important to find out how natural speech is made in Japanese in various research situations that international students encounter. We surveyed their target language in order to help build the Japanese language abilities that they need for listening, understanding and talking about their fields of specialty.
In particular, we built the “Science and Engineering Spoken Japanese Corpus” consisting of text data aggregated from the voice data of speeches made by Japanese native speakers. The voice data was collected at labs in seven fields including Electrical Engineering, Urban Environmental Engineering, Urban Planning, Architecture, Civil Engineering, Chemical System Engineering, and Information and Communication Engineering. The speeches made in their presentations and question/answer sessions were the primary source (2007-2017: 154 hours of recorded data, 1.9 million morphemes, 15,000 unique morphemes; morpheme analysis software, Chamame, was used).
Based on the “Science and Engineering Spoken Japanese Corpus” data, we created teaching materials and opened a course using the data.
1) We developed the “Science and Engineering Vocabulary and Example Learning Support System, RAINBOW” based on the “Science and Engineering Spoken Japanese Corpus,” presented the vocabulary used at labs with examples, and developed teaching materials for the vocabulary required for research work.
2) We used the data from the “Science and Engineering Spoken Japanese Corpus” to offer a “Technical Terms and Kanji” course for learning technical terms that engineering students need for their research in addition to academic terms that are used for research in general.
The “Science and Engineering Spoken Japanese Corpus” was implemented with the Grants-in-Aid for Challenging Exploratory Research.
Research was done on the “Evaluation of the Program in the JLCSE” with an aim to identify, improve and resolve problems with the program because it was necessary to provide a convincing explanation externally for our program and to improve and resolve the problems. In implementing the research, we identified challenges in the program by observing how the students perceive programs in Japanese learning and cultural understanding and found improvement solutions.
On the other hand, there is research on the JLCSE Can-do Statements, which allow students to evaluate their ability by themselves. The JLCSE Can-do Statements were created so that we can use the information for placement. The research focused on 1) how students use them, 2) how they correspond to CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) and JF (The Japan Foundation) standards to create a framework of common evaluation criteria with partner universities overseas, and 3) if they are functioning as placement tests. As a result, it was found that although they are currently visible criteria of levels identified at the JLCSE, they need to be made more objective by combining Engineering Can-do Statements with other proficiency tests in order to ensure that they actually function as placement tests.
・List of achievement related to the evaluation(Japanese )
The JLCSE hosts the “International Café for You” during lunch time so that Japanese and international students from different backgrounds can casually meet and talk with each other regardless of their nationality, language or social status. We surveyed the participants on how they perceive this event. The results of the survey suggested that a multilingual environment allows them to exert their linguistic resources fully and engage in a deeper level of communication with others. The survey results clearly showed the significance of the event.
・List of achievement related to the international exchange(Japanese ).