DEC Activities and Works

Course based

Gateway Education

GE1133 Culture and Language in Manga, Anime and Beyond


Use of Kana (仮名) in Japanese Names: Gender Difference and Reasons Behind

Student Teacher
Dr. HARA, Yurie

In this project, we investigated the use of kana1 in Japanese names, analyzing the gender difference and reasons behind. In Japanese Manga/Anime, most of character names are in kanji2. However sometimes we may encounter names of kana only. For example, 伊波まひる (Inami Mahiru) in WORKING!!! (in hiragara3) or 涼宮 ハルヒ (Suzuyami Haruhi) in 涼宮ハルヒシリーズ (in katakana4). According to our past experience, the kana names are more popular among female characters. Inspired by this phenomenon, we decided to study the gender difference in the use of kana, and explore the possible reasons. So we did data collection and analysis, and then conducted a survey to support our hypotheses.

1 Kana (仮名): syllabic Japanese scripts, which is part of the Japanese writing system.
2 Kanji (漢字): the adopted logographic Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese writing system along with hiragana and katakana.
3 Hiragana (平仮名): one component of kana, the word hiragana means "smooth kana".
4 Katakana (片仮名): the other component of kana, the word katakana means "fragmentary kana".

Good Guys Good Names
Bad Guys Bad Names?

Student Teacher
Dr. HARA, Yurie

According to the theory of Kohler, sounds and shapes have some kind of relation. This theory is well applied by many authors in creating their characters’ names. For instance, Roronoa Zoro (ロロノア ゾロ), one of the heroes has four sonorants but only one obstruent in his name. However, Marshall D Teach (マーシャル D ティーチ), the villain, has three obstruents and two sonorants. Our project aims to investigate whether there is a connection between the sounds of names and the moral characters of the figures in One Piece. We are going to gather fifty hero names and fifty villain names, analyze the composition of their sounds, and then calculate the ratio of the sonorants and obstruents used in these names. Our hypothesis is that the names with more sonorants tend to be more heroic, while the names with more obstruents are likely to be more villainous.

GE2124 The World through Languages


Code-mixing among University Students in Hong Kong

Students Teacher
Dr. LI, Bin

Hong Kong was a British colony. It has a unique bilingual environment, where both English and Cantonese are regarded as official languages students have to learn. Code-mixing, as in combing two languages or language varieties together in speech (Muysken, 2000), is well-developed in such bilingual environment. Not to mention that many people have gotten used to it, this linguistic phenomenon has become part of our life and to a certain extent it represents some of our culture.

Cantonese University students in Hong Kong are found to code-mix and create new bilingual terms most often, such as “libar” from library; “re-u” from reunion. Code-mixing is usually found among university students as one of its functions is to facilitate communication. Despite students’ tendency to code-mix, code-mixing does somehow affect their language behavior.

In this report, we would talk about the types of code-mixing, the reasons and effects of this practice. Not only did we review the literature, we also designed an experiment (meanwhile it is also a game)---to compare and analyze the performance of students reading code-mixed and non-code-mixed texts.


Full report

Link to full report



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Last updated: 4 October 2016