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Kang, M.S.; Kwon, H.; , . Japanese Special Moras Education Using Evernote. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 24 June 2024).
Kang MS, Kwon H,  . Japanese Special Moras Education Using Evernote. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 24, 2024.
Kang, Min Seok, Heeju Kwon,  . "Japanese Special Moras Education Using Evernote" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 24, 2024).
Kang, M.S., Kwon, H., & , . (2022, April 28). Japanese Special Moras Education Using Evernote. In Encyclopedia.
Kang, Min Seok, et al. "Japanese Special Moras Education Using Evernote." Encyclopedia. Web. 28 April, 2022.
Japanese Special Moras Education Using Evernote

One of the issues often raised in Japanese phonetics classes is special moras. Special moras are different entities to single moras, but closely resemble them, which causes non-native speakers to experience problems when learning Japanese. Kitamura highlighted that it is difficult for students to pronounce special moras correctly.

Evernote special moras Japanese phonetics education using ICT

1. Introduction

One of the issues often raised in Japanese phonetics classes is special moras [1][2][3]. Special moras are different entities to single moras, but closely resemble them, which causes non-native speakers to experience problems when learning Japanese. Kitamura [1] highlighted that it is difficult for students to pronounce special moras correctly. Toda [2] stated that students whose native languages do not include the mora concept fail to recognize the correct lengths of moras and consequently tend to mispronounce them. Lee and Sakai [3], in particular, highlighted that there is no unit for duration in Korean, as there is in Japanese, making it problematic for Korean learners to recognize special moras. Teaching Japanese special moras effectively is a crucial issue in practical language instruction.
Studies have examined interactions between learners and instructors, learner-centered learning environments, and so-called “social constructivist” learning environments in Japanese language education, and these studies are ongoing [4]. The educational paradigm has changed from teacher-led education to learner-led learning. Social constructivist learning theory involves the reconstruction of students’ knowledge through interactions with relevant social and cultural environments. Both learners and instructors are active principal agents in these environments, and both drive and adjust their learning-related activities. In other words, learners, as principal agents, develop their knowledge through interactions with other people (e.g., the instructor and other students).

2. Special Mora Education in Japanese

In Japanese, a single syllable usually consists of a normal mora. However, with a special mora, a single syllable consists of two moras: one is a normal mora and the other is a special mora. In Japanese, there are three types of special moras: long vowels (/R/), choked sounds (/Q/), and syllabic nasals (/N/).
Special moras represent one of the difficulties of Japanese phonetics education [1][2][3]. Native Japanese speakers are able to differentiate normal and special moras in a single syllable, however, because non-native Japanese learners who are learning Japanese lack moras in their native languages, it is difficult to recognize special moras as single units [5]. For this reason, special mora education mainly discusses the issue of the recognition of special moras. A pioneering study on this is the study by Uchida. Uchida [6] argues that learners should first recognize the special moras before pronouncing them. When learning the special moras, the learner’s self-awareness of the pronunciation duration must precede the proper pronunciation of the special moras. Shiga [7] highlighted that learners who cannot recognize the single-mora pronunciation of special moras are unable to achieve the correct duration of the mora, Ogawara [4] emphasized that it is important for learners to practice self-monitoring. This means that they should be able to recognize their problems and correct them by themselves based on reasonable criteria established through their Japanese phonetics learning.
A study on Korean learners is a study by Yoon·Simbo [8] in which Korean Japanese learners were taught at the intermediate and upper levels, using the syllable structure of Korean, to learn special moras. In other words, in order to be conscious that the special moras have a duration of one mora, the Japanese special moras were newly organized and presented according to the syllable structure of the Korean language. This research statistically proved that educational effects were obtained through these educational methods.
Previous studies as above highlight that the biggest problem with acquiring special mora is the difficulty of recognizing what a mora is. For special mora learning, an explicit guidance method that can be performed by applying the concept of one mora of time should be presented. In other words, in order to improve pronunciation skills in an environment where opportunities to use Japanese are limited, it is essential not only to listen to teachers’ guidance and copy model voices, but also to recognize and evaluate self-pronunciation problems.

3. The Use of ICT to Support Self-Monitoring of Pronunciation Learning

Recently, research on self-monitoring for pronunciation recognition has been actively conducted in Japanese speech education. First, a study using a learning management system (LMS) is mentioned as a method of magnetic monitoring. Toda and Okubo [9] designed pronunciation education using both face-to-face classes and on-demand classes using PCs. The class was implemented for Japanese as a second language (JSL) students on a trial basis for one semester. The final analysis based on students’ term papers revealed that the on-demand autonomous learning platforms improved educational outcomes.
As a notable study using ICT, Matsuzaki’s research [10] also reported the results of using Prosody Tuner to evaluate pronunciation. In that research, a model voice and a student’s articulation were divided into consonants and vowels so that each syllable could be presented at the same time interval. The model voice was presented at the top of the screen, and the learner’s voice was presented in the middle of the screen to allow for playback and concomitant visual and auditory comparisons. Half of the users rated the software as effective for understanding pronunciation.
Jin [11] obtained positive results in improving pronunciation by visualizing learners’ pronunciation using Praat, a voice analysis program, for learners’ pronunciation recognition and self-monitoring. In addition, through self-monitoring training, learners developed the ability to modify their own pronunciation by comparing the pronunciation that is standard for Japanese intonation, resulting in pronunciation correction and improvement. These previous studies have achieved results that self-monitoring using ICT can have a positive effect on improving Japanese pronunciation. However, in the case of LMS, there is a limitation that cannot be used in educational institutions without an LMS system, and login is essential. In addition, in the case of class materials, content can be checked only when downloaded as a file and using a specific computer software.
On the other hand, Evernote allows one to engage in a variety of learning activities, such as learning lecture materials, listening to audio, and watching videos, just by clicking on the necessary materials. In addition, it is possible to easily compare and analyze model voices and one’s own voice using the recording function, and it is effective for self-monitoring because it is easy to write reflection notes. By using online note-taking apps such as Evernote, it is expected that learners can take the lead in pronunciation learning anytime, anywhere, and implement a Japanese voice learning environment where they can continuously interact with their teachers.

4. Lecture Using Evernote

In this research, Evernote, an online note-taking app, was used for special mora learning. Education using Evernote is reported to have a positive effect on learning Japanese.
First, the research of Schepman et al. [12] is the most pioneering, and they analyzed the eight-week usage of Evernote in an independent study of undergraduate students at Chester University in the United States. As a result, Evernote is said to have had a positive effect on learners’ self-directed learning, including information collection and management, planning, and idea recording. In addition, as a result of investigating the form of Evernote use, it was confirmed that learners use Evernote in innovative ways, such as checking schedules, managing ideas, summarizing discussions, diaries, and creating photo albums. In other words, the tendency pursued by individuals is reflected in the use of the service.
Watanabe [13] introduced Evernote to Japanese speech classes. A model voice was provided to learners along with voice guidance and scripts through Evernote. In addition, various types of learning materials, including picture files, were provided, suggesting that smart devices would contribute to speech classes. However, there was no specific verification of learning achievement. Vendityanningtyas et al. [14] reported that Evernote could be used in writing classes. Evernote provides examples for both students and instructors in organizing ideas and tasks, which are saved automatically. This research focuses on the functions of the Evernote as an alternative tool to the common method of classical lecturing. As such, research on the introduction of Evernote to the classroom is underway, but research on the effectiveness of specific speech education, such as learners’ pronunciation awareness and pronunciation improvement, is insufficient.


  1. Kitamura, Y. Difficulties in learning Japanese long vowels and geminate consonants: A case of a Korean learner. Bull. Foreign Stud. Educ. Cent. Tokai Univ. 2000, 20, 27–44.
  2. Toda, T. Acquisition of special morae in Japanese as a second language. J. Phon. Soc. Jpn. 2003, 7, 70–83.
  3. Lee, K.S.; Sakai, M. Pitch pattern in special moras created by Korean Japanese language learners. J. Jpn. Lang. Lit. 2015, 66, 147–162.
  4. Ogawara, Y. Reconsideration of Japanese phonetics education objectives and role of instructor. In Past, Present and Future of Japanese Language Education: Phonetics, 4th ed.; Kawano, T., Ed.; Bonjinsya: Tokyo, Japan, 2009; pp. 48–69.
  5. Kiyonaga, Y.; Ito, H.; Masataka, N. Training for special mora perception in non-native Japanese students learning japanese. Psychologia 2009, 52, 267–276.
  6. Uchida, T. Characteristics of auditory cognition of long vowels and double consonants for Chinese students in learning the Japanese language. Jpn. J. Educ. Psychol. 1993, 41, 414–423.
  7. Shiga, K. Acquisition of Japanese long vowels by Korean learners. Jpn. Lang. Lit. Assoc. Korea 2008, 36, 71–90.
  8. Yoon, E.K.; Shimbo, T. Teaching pronunciation of Japanese morae. Foreign Lang. Educ. 2012, 19, 523–543.
  9. Toda, T.; Okubo, M. A new model for teaching pronunciation in Japanese language education: Pronunciation learning through on-demand lessons. Waseda Stud. Jpn. Lang. Educ. 2014, 16, 1–18.
  10. Matsuzaki, H. The development of software to study Japanese prosody using an automatic speech recognition system: Studies in language and literature. Language 2012, 61, 177–190.
  11. Jin, Z. Using Praat to Teach Japanese Prosody; Departmental Bulletin Paper; The Center for Japanese Language and Culture Osaka University: Osaka, Japan, 2019; Volume 17, pp. 9–27.
  12. Schepman, A.; Rodway, P.; Beattie, C.; Lambert, J. An observational study of undergraduate students’ adoption of (mobile) note-taking software. Comput. Hum. Behav. 2012, 28, 308–317.
  13. Watanabe, Y. Creating and implementing materials for teaching pronunciation in the pronunciation teaching practicum. Bull. Jpn. Lang. Teach. Pract. 2015, 6, 200–205.
  14. Vendityaningtyas, V.; Styati, E.W.; Natalia, K. Teaching Writing by Using Evernote Application. J. Phys. Conf. Ser. 2020, 1464, 012017.
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