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Pizziconi, Barbara and Iwasaki, Noriko (2022) 'Friends as mediators in study abroad contexts in Japan: negotiating stereotypical discourses about Japanese culture.' The Language Learning Journal. pp. 1-17. (Forthcoming)

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Abstract

Upon encountering unfamiliar words or observing local practices in study abroad contexts, second language learners may discuss aspects of the target language and culture with their peers – 'non-native' friends from the same cultural background or 'natives' of the target culture. Such mediations are instrumental in elaborating understandings, but are naturally conditioned by the participants’ intercultural stances, including their appreciation of cultural similarities/differences. This study examines the interpretive work carried out by two learners of Japanese and their respective friends in reading a Japanese manga (short comics) depicting the allegedly ‘typical’ Japanese behaviour around honne, i.e. restraint in expressing one’s feelings or opinions. We observe rather different negotiation styles and different ideologies at play in their argumentations and discuss them in relation to the dynamics generated by the assumption of epistemic authority claimed by (and granted to) the native-speaker friend, vs. the more collaborative negotiation in the case of the non-native friend. The lack of a dominant authoritative source appears to generate more nuanced interpretive possibilities, enabling challenges to established and stereotypical discourses about cultural characteristics. This analysis illustrates dynamics which potentially question widely held (and equally ideological) beliefs about unqualified advantages of periods of study abroad for cultural learning.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Study abroad, intercultural mediation, stereotypes, ideology
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures
ISSN: 17532167
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.1080/09571736.2022.2098367
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2022 09:24
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/38022
Funders: Other

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