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Naito, Masako (2006) Tokieda's Language Process Theory. MPhil thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The Language Process Theory (Gengo Kateisetsu) was introduced in the 1930s by the Japanese linguist, Tokieda Motoki (1900-1967). The theory presents language as a human process, not as a structure that exists within the speaker or outside of a human community. Language, Tokieda tells us, is a process by which a culture's meanings are expressed and understood. Tokieda constructs this view of language on the basis of his study of the concepts of language that had been established by traditional Japanese linguists prior to the middle of the nineteenth century, the thought of Nishida Kitaro (1870-1945), his critical reading of Ferdinand de Saussure, and the concepts of Buddhist philosophy. During the 1940s and 50s, Tokieda played a significant role in the advancement of theoretical linguistics and its treatment of the Japanese language, with his theory having an important influence on other Japanese linguists - more frequently indirectly than directly. His theory has not, however, always been clearly understood. Indeed, it has only been recently that the scholarly community has begun to appreciate more fully his view of language. To help bring a better understanding of his theory to the scholarly community of Japan and the world, this essay examines Tokieda's work, together with the writings of his precursors, contemporaries, students and critics, from new and varied points of view and assesses both its theoretical value and its usefulness in the classroom. After considering Tokieda's theory from the point of view of its philosophical foundations, this thesis proceeds, to examine in detail the following topics; textual analysis, his theory of the polite-honorific language (keigo), and the role of reading in the teaching of language and literature - all of which are discussed with their application to illustrative texts, many of which are passages from the Japanese classics. Through the examination of the theory behind these topics, we find that his major ideas such as the concept of "situation" (bamen) and the relation between "objective expressions" (shi) and "subjective expressions" (ji) are useful not only to those studying Japanese, but also to those whose interest in language is theoretical and to those whose concerns are pedagogical. Both can benefit substantially from Tokieda's insights and through them obtain a broader understanding not only of modem linguistic theory but also how the extra-structural aspects of language can better be taught.

Item Type: Theses (MPhil)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:21

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