Attitudes towards the use of masculine and feminine Japanese among foreign professionals: What can learners learn from professionals?

Hiroko ITAKURA*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)29-41
    Number of pages13
    JournalLanguage, Culture and Curriculum
    Volume22
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Education
    • Linguistics and Language

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Culture
    • Foreign language learners
    • Gender
    • Identity
    • Japanese
    • Language attitudes

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