Title: How to Use Japanese Punctuation Marks: Understanding the "Totens of Thoughts" from Honda Dokuhon
Speaker: Ryo Morisawa
I’m going to ask you to work on some problems right away.
If you were going to place totens in the following sentences, where would you put them?
In Japanese, there are no clear rules about using punctuation marks. There are, however, some rules of thumb, and it is possible to explain how punctuation marks are placed logically to a point.
You can find many websites that explain the use of punctuation marks (especially toten) these days. Much of the information contained in these websites are based on Nihongo no Sakubun Gijutsu (日本語の作文技術) by Honda, Katsuichi published in 1976. (I will call it Honda Dokuhon.)
Previously, Monbusho had pushed a proposal that wielded some influence, but Honda Dokuhon blew it out of the water. There are still a number of hold-outs that talk about the Monbusho proposal, but it’s basically a waste to time.
You can understand the gist of what’s written in Honda Dokuhon in the website below. The sheer number of websites like this is an indicator of how much influence Honda Dokuhon has had.
【「実戦・日本語の作文技術」】 (It’s the sequel to Honda Dokuhon.)
That said, you can’t become a pro of totens simply by reading Honda Dokuhon, because it contains a small flaw.
If you actually read it, you’ll realize that Honda Dokuhon itself contains a relatively small number of totens. Having only a few totens gives you the impression that it is difficult to read.
It’s not that Honda Dokuhon is incorrect; Honda Dokuhon simply shows you how to use the minimum number of totens. When writing sentences, you need to first understand the two principles of Honda Dokuhon, then you need to apply other totens. (Honda Dokuhon calls them “shisoh no ten” or “tens of thoughts.”)
So how do you apply these other totens? That is the topic of my talk.
Currently working as a freelance editor and writer, Ryo Morisawa started his career as an editor of books and magazines at publishers and editing production companies after graduating from college.
He has been involved with various genres, from children’s books to psychology. Among others, he has authored a book titled Kokoga Hendayo “Nihongo Renshucho” [This Doesn’t Work - Japanese Workbook].
The book has been out of print due to the bankruptcy of the original publisher, but lately it is commanding a surprisingly high price in Amazon’s used book market. The contents of the book can be found online.
Morisawa was born in 1959 in Obihiro, Hokkaido.
Date: Saturday, May 27, 2017
Doors open: 13:30
Place: Seisen University, Gotanda, Room #230 (Building No.2, Third Floor)
Address: 3-16-21 Higashi Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, 141-8642
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