Departmental Bulletin Paper Frequencies and Semantic Category Distribution of Idioms in Japanese

Wu, Lin

11pp.75 - 82 , 2016-03 , 北海道大学文学研究科
This paper investigated the frequencies and semantic category distribution of Japanese idioms based on The Balanced Corpus of Contemporary Written Japanese(BCCWJ) and Word List by Semantic Principles, Revised and Enlarged Edition. The following three main conclusions were drawn. First, from the perspective of“class”distribution, idioms of each group are concentrated in the verb class,while those in adjective and adverb,noun,and other classes are less. Second,from the perspective of“division”distribution, idioms of each group are concentrated in Division 1: Abstract Relations and Division 3: Human Behavior―Spirit and Action, while those in Division 2:Human Beings―Subjects of Human Behavior,Division 4:Products and Equipment, and Division 5:Natural Beings and Natural Phenomena are less. Third,from the perspective of “section”distribution,idioms of each group are concentrated in sections“Kokoro 心,”“Gengo 言語,”and“Taigu 待遇,”while those in sections“Kukan 空間,”“Busshitsu 物質,”and“Tenchi 天地”are less. In Japanese language teaching, many learners have shown interest in idioms, but they have also encountered some difficulties in learning. So,how should we guide students in learning and mastering idioms? This paper made a preliminary attempt to answer this question. It was found that understanding and memorizing high frequency idioms occurring in each semantic category could greatly improve learning efficiency.

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