Socializing Identities through Speech Style Learners of Japanese as a Foreign Language Author: Haruko Minegishi Cook

Paperback - 240 pages
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21 Aug 2008
Second Language Acquisition
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156


Drawing on the perspective of language socialization and a theory of indexicality, this book explores ways in which learners of Japanese as a foreign language and their Japanese host families socialize their identities through style shift between the masu and plain forms in a homestay context. Going beyond the usual assumption that the masu form is a polite speech marker, the book analyzes the masu form as an index of various social identities and activities. The book discusses both socialization through speech styles and socialization to use an appropriate speech style. Qualitative analysis of dinnertime conversations demonstrates how learners are implicitly and explicitly socialized into the norms of style shift in Japanese in interaction with their host family members.


Based on a fine-grained analysis of situated interactional data, the volume is impressive in its theoretical depth and promises to make a multi-dimensional contribution to the field.

- Eton Churchill, Kanagawa University, Japan

Author Biography:

Haruko Minegishi Cook is a Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She earned a PhD in Linguistics from University of Southern California. Her main research interests include language socialization, sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, and pragmatics. She has published in major journals and edited volumes and a number of articles on the Japanese sentence-final particles, honorifics, and style shift from a constructivist perspective.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional

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