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LINGUIST List 18.1862

Wed Jun 20 2007

Diss: Applied Ling/Discourse Analysis/Socioling: Takahashi: 'Langua...'

Editor for this issue: Hunter Lockwood <hunterlinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Kimie Takahashi, Language Desire: A critical ethnography of Japanese women learning English in Australia

Message 1: Language Desire: A critical ethnography of Japanese women learning English in Australia
Date: 20-Jun-2007
From: Kimie Takahashi <kimieespider.com.au>
Subject: Language Desire: A critical ethnography of Japanese women learning English in Australia

Institution: University of Sydney
Program: Department of Education and Social Work
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Kimie Takahashi

Dissertation Title: Language Desire: A critical ethnography of Japanese women learning English in Australia

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
                            Discourse Analysis

Dissertation Director:
David Block
Bonny Norton
Aneta Pavlenko
Alastair Pennycook
Ingrid Piller

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis expands on the notion of language desire by exploring the
discourse of Japanese women's akogare (desire) to learn English and to go
overseas. It draws on poststructuralist frameworks to investigate processes
by which akogare is constructed and impacts upon the linguistic, social,
and romantic choices young Japanese women make in Japan and Australia. I
argue that language desire connects three discursive spaces; English, the
West, and identity transformation. The study also highlights the
multidirectionality of power in the discourse of akogare in the context of
second language learning (SLL).

The study was conducted using a critical ethnographic methodological
approach to Japanese women's experiences in using and learning English. The
data were collected in Japan and Australia between 2001 and 2005. The data
included the micro domain of in-depth interviews and fieldnotes and the
macro domain of media discourses. Content analysis and critical discourse
analysis were used to analyse the data from multiple perspectives.

The thesis consists of three sections. Chapters 1-4 introduce the
theoretical backgrounds to the research. Chapter 1 states the research
aims, and illustrates how the main theme of akogare emerged. Chapter 2
reviews literature on SLL with a specific focus on poststructuralist
approaches to language, identity, and gender. Chapter 3 examines the
theoretical notion of desire and Japanese women's discourse of akogare from
a historical perspective. In Chapter 4, the methods of data collection and
analysis are described.

The second section, chapters 5-9, reports on the findings of the research
on the construction and negotiation of akogare for English, the West, and
identity transformation. Chapter 5 focuses on the participants' discursive
construction of akogare in the Japanese context, while Chapter 6 deals with
their akogare for English and overseas study and decision-making processes
of coming to Australia. Chapters 7-9 illustrate the constitutive effect of
the akogare discourse on Japanese women's experiences in learning English
in Sydney. Chapter 7 discusses the Japanese women's perception of desirable
interlocutors. While Chapter 8 sheds light on the way in which their agency
in learning English is constructed and exercised. Chapter 9 focuses on
their increasing hybridity and ambivalent feelings about returning to Japan.

The conclusion, Chapter 10, synthesises the findings and offers a
conceptualisation of language desire and its implications.

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