Being and becoming a speaker of Japanese : an by Andrea Simon-Maeda

By Andrea Simon-Maeda

This autoethnographic account of the author's jap as a moment language studying trajectory is a crucial and particular addition to diary reviews in SLA and utilized linguistics qualitative study circles. In-depth ethnographic info and introspective statement are skilfully interwoven all through Simon-Maeda's narrative of her studies as an American expatriate who arrived in Japan in 1975 – the place to begin of her being and changing into a speaker of eastern. The booklet joins the new surge in postmodernist, interdisciplinary methods to studying language acquisition, and readers are offered with a hugely convincing case for utilizing autoethnography to raised comprehend sociolinguistic complexities which are unamenable to quantification of remoted variables. the great literature assessment and extensive ranging references supply a worthwhile resource of data for researchers, educators, and graduate scholars eager about present matters in SLA/applied linguistics, bi/multilingualism, and eastern as a moment language.

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Extra resources for Being and becoming a speaker of Japanese : an autoethnographic account

Sample text

My legal surname is Simon since I am not a Japanese citizen, but I am usually referred to both professionally and privately as Maeda-san (my husband’s surname). My students call me Andy-sensei (Andy teacher) or simply Andy, a naming practice that sets me apart from their Japanese teachers who instruct students to always address them with the title of ‘teacher’ attached to their last names, for example Suzuki-sensei. This formal naming practice is intended to prepare students for interviews and practice teaching experiences where deference to superiors is mandatory.

While intimate friends and relatives who are well aware of how long I have lived in Japan occasionally make sarcastic remarks about my dysfluency, I more often than not receive unwarranted praise from casual acquaintances or people I meet for the first time when I display even a modicum of Japanese spoken or written proficiency. In addition to stereotypical physical features (tall, blonde, blue-eyed), the image of the westerner, as popularized in the media, is someone incapable of mastering Japanese beyond simple greetings and who flagrantly violates Japanese customs.

I was a teenager by then, and my cousins, unlike my father who arrived at a young age and never had the opportunity to attend secondary school in Lebanon, also spoke French, the language of Lebanon’s one-time colonizer. My cousins were handsome, possessed a certain European charm and sophistication, and helped me with my high school French homework. The heady smell of their Gaulois cigarettes and expensive cologne added to the Middle Eastern allure that I had come to appreciate belatedly through my father’s ethnic cooking.

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