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A participatory inquiry of Japanese name use, language learning, and identity development

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Title: A participatory inquiry of Japanese name use, language learning, and identity development
Authors: Hanson, Meredith
Advisor: Brown, James D.
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: Although having language learners adopt second language (L2) personal names for use in the classroom is common in both U.S. K-12 FL teaching and in ESL for children and adults in many countries, the research literature, particularly for non-English FLs, is very small. This study endeavored to illustrate the opinions of FL learners of Japanese in a residential immersion program in the Midwest U.S. about their program’s use of L2 names, using participatory methodology. Volunteer students worked in small teams to conduct narrowly-focused interview research projects in Japanese and present findings to their peers. The project leader conducted reflective interviews with all student researchers and later reanalyzed the data, using a modified grounded theory framework based on that of Charmaz (2001). Interview data shows that learners in this program frequently develop new personalities attached to their L2 names, and that these personalities include a range of positive qualities, including improved confidence, assertiveness, talkativeness, and extraversion. Students also feel that names help create an immersion atmosphere and that they facilitate speaking in Japanese, and nearly all students enjoy having L2 names. Participatory methodology also facilitated meaningful experiential learning and language proficiency development for the student researchers, and seems to have uncovered a sense of common purpose among program participants and shared feelings of belonging in the program. Suggestions are made about the applicability of this research to mainstream L2 classrooms.
Pages/Duration: 41 pages
Appears in Collections:SLS Papers

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