A Comparative Study of Topic Selection Schema in The First-time Conversation Between Japanese and Sundanese Native Speakers

Regi Wijaya Sasmita


First-time conversations play an important role as a starting point in building relationships. However, the lack of information about interlocutors makes it difficult to decide what topic to take up. In this study, we targeted 10 pairs of native Japanese speakers and Sundanese native speakers, clarified what topics would be selected in the first-time conversation by university students, and examined similarities and differences between both native speakers. As a result, in the conversation data of the Japanese pairs, 20 topics out of 83 topics were recognized as “topic items”, and depending on the relationship between the topic items, they were then can be classified into eight categories, namely “affiliation”, “origin”, “university life”, “hobbies/enjoyment”, “living”, “commonalities”, “specialty”, and “society”. On the other hand, in the conversation data of the Sundanese pairs, 16 topics out of 95 topics were recognized as “topic items”, and they can be classified into seven categories, namely “university life”, “affiliation”, “residential”, “origin”, “commonalities”, “specialty”, and “society”. The overall picture of the classified categories and the topic items corresponding to the subclasses is the “topic selection list”, and the set of culturally shared knowledge about this “list” is the “first-time conversation topic selection schema”. The results of this study can be applied as a reference for topic selection in the first conversations with Japanese native speakers or Sundanese native speakers, especially between university students. The results also can be used as a repository of scientific knowledge in related fields such as sociolinguistic studies on conversational analysis, and as a reference on Japanese language education studies in general.


Contrastive study; First-time conversation; Japanese; Sundanese; Topic selection schema.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17509/japanedu.v7i1.44947


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