Department of English Language and Literature
Attitudes towards the use of masculine and feminine Japanese among foreign professionals: what can learners learn from professionals?
Subordinate femininity associated with feminine Japanese has been found to pose barriers for foreign language learners of Japanese, especially among Western female learners of Japanese. The present study investigates attitudes towards the use of both masculine and feminine Japanese among non-native professional speakers of Japanese. The latter's experiences can enlighten language educators in their efforts to help struggling learners cope with using language loaded with traditional gender roles and gender inequality. Data from interviews with male and female professionals who use Japanese in the courses of their work in Japanese companies in Hong Kong were used to study the problems posed by 'masculine' and 'feminine' Japanese for foreign learners of Japanese. It was found that Hong Kong professionals often use masculine and feminine Japanese in order to gain native-speaker status in the language. The study has implications not merely for the teaching of Japanese as a foreign language but also for the teaching of gendered aspects of foreign languages generally, especially when professional identity and status are involved.
Culture, Foreign language learners, Gender, Identity, Japanese, Language attitudes
Source Publication Title
Language, Culture and Curriculum
Taylor & Francis
Link to Publisher's Edition
Itakura, H. (2009). Attitudes towards the use of masculine and feminine Japanese among foreign professionals: what can learners learn from professionals?. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 22 (1), 29-41. https://doi.org/10.1080/07908310802287681