Ownership of English through study abroad: How Japanese EFL students mitigate native speakerist ideology

Saeki, Takuya
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Several research studies have described English ownership among Japanese EFL learners (e.g., Matsuda, 2003; Saito & Hatoss, 2011; Sasayama, 2013) as low, indicating that they almost invariably showed their preference for native norms rather than allegiance to their own English varieties. While such research has demonstrated the dominance of this native speakerist (Holliday, 2006) ideology among L2 learners from many contexts, it is important to investigate opportunities in which such learners might overcome such ideologies to develop their ownership. This study examines how a study abroad context offers an opportunity to reimagine themselves as legitimate speakers of English (Norton, 1997). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 Japanese students studying in Hawai’i and analyzed by way of grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). The findings revealed that study abroad helped the participants mitigate native speakerist ideology through various developments, including the awareness of the value of Japanese language, culture, and identity, a correction of previously idealized images of native speakers, the development of L2 speaker models, and use and knowledge of English as an international language, including the conception of English as a lingua franca. Based on the findings, I discuss how the current study can inform pedagogical practices not only in study abroad, but also in EFL contexts.
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