Investment in learning Japanese as a foreign language: A case study of multilingual adults in South Africa

Sato, Maiko (2018-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Over the last three decades, the number of Japanese language learners in the world have increased, while the number of learners in the three countries with the greatest Japanese learner populations, China, Indonesia and South Korea, have started to decline. In order to support the increase in number of Japanese learners worldwide, Japanese language learning and teaching in countries where Japanese is a less popular language should be investigated. Against this background, the current study focused on Japanese language learners and teachers in South Africa, where people are not exposed to Japanese in their daily lives. Japanese learners’ and teachers’ articulations of their Japanese learning/teaching experiences were analysed employing a poststructuralist framework, specifically through the use of the concepts ‘investment’ (Norton, 1995; 2000), and ‘autonomy’. A thematic analysis was utilised in order to examine participants’ perspectives on the Japanese language and its learning/teaching. It appeared that the learner participants do invest in learning Japanese, since they have their own ‘imagined communities’. Furthermore, it was suggested that the level of visualisation of imagined community, which influenced their learning, is very important. In addition, ‘cultural capital’, which the learners anticipated as a return on their investment in learning Japanese, might not necessarily be practical or tangible. Intangible or psychological returns, i.e. symbolic resources, appeared to direct learners to invest in learning the target language, Japanese. Finally, a language teacher’s role in supporting their learners was suggested to foster learner autonomy, which is also relevant to the stimulation of investment in language learning.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Oor die laaste drie dekades het die aantal Japanese taalaanleerders in die wêreld toegeneem, terwyl die aantal leerders in die drie lande met die hoogste populasies van Japanese aanleerders, China, Indonesië en Suid-Korea, begin afneem. Ten einde ondersteuning te bied aan die toename in die aantal leerders van Japanees wêreldwyd, moet die taalaanleer en onderrig van Japanees in lande waar Japanees ’n minder gewilde taal is, ondersoek word. Teen hierdie agtergrond fokus die huidige studie op Japanese taalaanleerders en onderwysers in Suid-Afrika, waar mense nie blootgestel word aan Japanees in hul daaglikse lewens nie. Die Japanese leerders en onderwysers se uitsprake oor hul Japanese aanleer-/onderrigervaringe is geanaliseer deur ’n post-struktualistiese raamwerk in te span, spesifiek deur die konsepte ‘belegging’ (Norton, 1995; 2000) en ‘selfstandigheid’ te gebruik. ’n Tematiese analise is gebruik ten einde die deelnemers se uitkyke op die Japanese taal en die leer/onderrig daarvan, te ondersoek. Dit het voorgekom of leerderdeelnemers wel daarin belê om Japanees aan te leer, aangesien hulle hul eie ‘voorgestelde gemeenskappe’ het. Verder is daar gesuggereer dat die vlak van visualisering van die voorgestelde gemeenskap, wat hul leer beïnvloed het, baie belangrik is. Boonop is ‘kulturele kapitaal’, wat die leerders verwag as ’n opbrengs van hul belegging om Japanees aan te leer, nie noodwendig prakties of tasbaar nie. Dit het voorgekom of ontasbare of psigologiese opbrengste, d.i. simboliese bronne, die leerders aangespoor het om te belê in die aanleer van die teikentaal. Laastens, is ’n taalonderwyser se rol om hul leerders te ondersteun, is voorgestel om selfstandigheid te kweek, wat ook relevant is tot die stimulering om te belê in taalaanleer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103761
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