Attitudes towards masculine Japanese speech in multilingual professional contexts of Hong Kong: Gender, identity, and native-speaker status

Hiroko ITAKURA*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The gendered speech in a foreign language has been found to pose barriers for learners due to different gender norms associated with their mother tongue and the foreign language. The problem is especially serious with the masculine and feminine forms of speech in the Japanese language, as these are strongly linked with social inequality between men and women. While a number of previous studies have been conducted on feminine style of Japanese and foreign language learners, still little is known of masculine speech of Japanese and foreign professionals who use Japanese in their intercultural work contexts. The present paper investigates attitudes towards the use of masculine Japanese among Hong Kong professionals. It includes the finding that, unlike in monolingual contexts, in multilingual contexts masculine Japanese was perceived among the respondents as projecting not only the quality of Japanese masculinity but also of group solidarity and native speaker status in the language and culture. While the respondents felt that it could be an effective device for constructing their professional identity, the decision to use it appeared to involve a careful analysis of their professional contexts and identity considerations. The implications of the analysis for teaching Japanese as a foreign language are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-482
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Volume29
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

User-Defined Keywords

  • Gender
  • Identity
  • Japanese
  • Language attitudes
  • Masculine speech

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