From Acting Out Stories to Telling Stories: Elicitation of Oral Narrative Productions in the Japanese Language Classroom

Shinsuke Tsuchiya


Given the complexity and difficulty of discourse-level grammar acquisition, narrative construction can be a challenging task for many language learners as well as for language teachers to provide guidance in classroom. This paper provides a structure for narrative production practices that are based on assigned dialogues in classroom setting by following the Japanese narrative structure of kishōtenketsu 起承転結 (introduction, development, twist, and conclusion), and William Labov’s (1972) six components of a natural narrative model—Abstract Orientation, Complicating Action, Resolution, Evaluation, and Coda. Sample narrations in Japanese are provided to discuss a selected set of discourse-level features commonly used in each phase of narrative production. As pedagogical implications, this paper provides a step-by-step instruction on how to conduct narrative rehearsals in classroom by using a dialogue from the NihonGO NOW! series (Noda, et al. 2020). It also discusses ways to provide support and opportunities for language learners’ narrative skill development.

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