By Sari Pietikäinen, FinlandAlexandra Jaffe, Long BeachHelen Kelly-Holmes, and Nikolas Coupland
Sociolinguistics from the Periphery "presents a fascinating book about change: shifting political, economic and cultural conditions; ephemeral, sometimes even seasonal, multilingualism; and altered imaginaries for minority and indigenous languages and their users."
This autoethnographic account of the author’s Japanese as a second language learning trajectory is an important and unique addition to diary studies in SLA and applied linguistics qualitative research circles. In-depth ethnographic details and introspective commentary are skilfully interwoven throughout Simon-Maeda’s narrative of her experiences as an American expatriate who arrived in Japan in 1975 – the starting point of her being and becoming a speaker of Japanese. The book joins the recent surge in postmodernist, interdisciplinary approaches to examining language acquisition, and readers are presented with a highly convincing case for using autoethnography to better understand sociolinguistic complexities that are unamenable to quantification of isolated variables. The comprehensive literature review and wide ranging references provide a valuable source of information for researchers, educators, and graduate students concerned with current issues in SLA/applied linguistics, bi/multilingualism, and Japanese as a second language.