Role of First Culture Knowledge in Foreign Language: Socialization in Japanese English Classroom Discourses


This study shows the relation between knowledge of first culture and its role in foreign language socialization in Japanese English classroom discourses. As defined simply, language socialization is socialization through the use of language and to use language (Ochs and Schieffelin, 2008). However, Japanese EFL learners tend to develop their communicative competence in the FL, and foreign language knowledge more generally, through first culture knowledge. The data are mainly from the author’s research on Japanese junior high school English classrooms. This includes speech samples from a Japanese teacher of English and from a native English speaking teacher. The latter was recorded in a team taught class. As one example from the author’s data, the native English speaking teacher uses an English adaptation of a Japanese “greeting” routine to begin the English lesson. This parallels data on Japanese greeting routines used in Japanese language, as described by Anderson (1995). The analysis shows that learners’ first culture knowledge emerges and plays a role across contexts. It also helps them use and acquire a foreign language, being used in a routine event in the classroom. Based on the results of the analysis, I suggest a framework, “foreign language socialization”, as a new paradigm for language socialization studies, to complement that of “second language socialization” (Duff, 2005). Foreign language socialization implies that knowledge from the first language / culture helps students acquire a foreign language. In addition, the author proposes that learning the foreign language may be instrumental in reinforcing first-culture knowledge.

Author Information
Hirokazu Nukuto, Kansai University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACLL2015
Stream: Interactional competence

This paper is part of the ACLL2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon