1970 年 18 巻 2 号 p. 76-89
As a preparation for making a more effective program for teaching Japanese syllabic characters to children, the auther did two preparatory experiments concerning the problem of interaction between the formation of the act of analyzing the phonemic structure of words and the learning of Japanese syllabic characters.
In the first experiment, the act of children analyzing phonemic structure of words, especially to separate a word into syllables was investigated with sixty children from three to five years old. In the experiment, the children were first given a brief training with ten words, for example, /kuma/(a bear), /himawari/(a sun-flower). /ohinasama/(a doll), which are constructed of only Japanese fundamental syllables (V and C+V). And then their activities were tested and examined with thirty-six test words which included some words containing special kinds of Japanese syllables (long syllables, contracted ones, contracted long ones, assimilated ones and the syllabic nasal), for example, /zoo/(an elephant), /kiNgjo/(a golden fish), /gjuunjun/(milk), /rokeQto/(a rocket), kabaN (a bag).
In the second experiment. two kinds of tasks were given to another seventy-six pre-school children from four to six years of age. One was to discover the Japanese phoneme /ko/in a word syllabifying it, and the other was to identify the first, the middle, and the last phoneme of a word. And the degree or level of each child's performance was examined in the relation to the degree of his acquisition of knowledge of Japanese syllabic characters.
In both experiments, special instruments were used. They were designed on the same principle as training pictures which D, B, El' konin and his collaborators used in their studies.
The instrument used in the first experiment was constructed with a lampboard containing sixteen small white lamps in two parallel rows of eight lamps each (the upper row for model given by experimenter, the lower row for child's use) and two switch boxes (one for the child, the other for the experimenter). The switch box used by the child contained eight key-like switches in a row like those of a piano. In training the child, the experimenter first showed a picture expressing the meaning of a given word and pronounced the word slowly, pausing between syllables and turning on one lamp for each syllable he pronounced. The lamps were lit in the upper row beginning at the left-hand side of the row. And then the child was required to imitate the experimenter's act, to syllabify the word aloud switching on the same number of lamps in the lower row as the experimenter had turned on in the upper row. When the child failed to do this, the procedure was repeated again up to five times. When testing the child, the experimenter only showed a picture card, said the word it represented, and required the child to do the same as he had done during the training process.
In the second experiment, the experimenter used a picture with a horizontal row of squares below it. There were as many squares as syllables in the word represented by the picture. After training with five words, the child was required to syllabify a word aloud putting small wooden blocks in the squares corresponding to articulated syllables, and then if his act was right, he was asked whether /ko/was in the word, and which block corresponded to /ko/. After this task with fifteen words, he was further asked to identify the first, the middle, the last phonemes of another six words.
The main findings and suggestions which were gained in these experiments are as follows:
1) All the children over four and a half years of age were found to be able to syllabify almost perfectly words containing only fundamental syllables with the help of an instrument at the material level. It means that children of this age can accept more systimatic training in the analysis of the phonemic structure of words.