Professor Itsue Kawagoe

Area and Subject Taught English Phonetics & English Phonology
Research Theme(s) (1) Loanword phonology of Japanese, Acquisition of English prosody by Japanese English learners
(2) English pronunciation teaching in primary and secondary education
Academic Degrees Master of English Linguistics Osaka University
Keywords for Research Field Gemination, Accent system, Syllable, Mora
Office Phone Number 81-75-705-1664

Research Overview

Every language has its own sound system. When a foreign word is borrowed into one language, there always occurs a problem of how to adapt foreign sounds into the native sound system. English word "book"/buk/, for example, is borrowed into Japanese as /bukku/ with a geminate and a final epenthetic vowel. Why does a geminate occur? One possible explanation claims that to Japanese ears, the /k/ sound of the word "book" is slightly longer than what is counted as one consonant in the Japanese sound system. Japanese is very sensitive to the length of each sound. While this is an acoustically oriented explanation, we can think of a phonological explanation for this phenomenon as well. Each language has its own sound system and the language borrowing (loanwords) shows not only the differences of the two languages but also the specific nature of the students' mother language.
Another topic I pursue is the English prosodic mistakes by Japanese English learners(JEL).The Envlish word “hurricane”with initial accent,for example,is very frequently pronounced with final accent by JEL.What causes the accent shift?Another common mistake by JEL is the various types of misplacement of prominence.There must be some general explanation behind these mistakes byJEL.The research is trying to uncover the phonological strategies of L2 learners as well as the interference patterns by L1.
Recently my focus is mainly on the phonetics education of teachers teaching at high schools and elementary schools. Talking to the teachers has revealed that simplified knowledge of phonetics and phonology with teaching ideas easily applicable to classroom situations are seriously wanted. In collaboration with the teachers, a project of making a resource book of pronunciation teaching is now going on. Main focus of the project is placed on how to teach English rhythm, English connected speech (linking, contraction, reduction, deletion and so forth) and English intonation.

Notable Publications and Works

  1. The handbook of Japanese phonetics and phonology. Kubozono, Haruo ed., (2014) Chapter 2: The phonology of sokuon, or geminate obstruents. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
  2. “Geminate judgment of English-like words by Japanese native speakers :Differences in the borrowed forms of ‘stuff’ and ‘tough’, ” Journal of East Asian Linguistics, Vol.22
  3. "English word stress and Japanese learners: Acquisition as a reranking process." In A New Century of Phonology and Phonological Theory. Kaitakusha:Tokyo. 2003.
  4. "Acquisition of English Word Stress by Japanese Learners," In L2 Links: Proceedings of the 2002 Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference, ed. By J.M. Liceras, H. Sobi and H. Goodluck. Cascadilla Press:Ottawa. 2003.
  5. 「英語風音声における日本語話者の促音知覚」("Factors Affecting Japanese Speakers'Perception of Geminates in English")日本音声学会『音声研究』 (Journal of the Phonetic Society of Japan) Vol.11-1, 2007.
  6. 「借用語における促音」("Consonant Gemination in Loanwords")日本音声学会『音声研究』(Journal of the Phonetic Society of Japan) Vol.6-1, 2002.