Japanese is a major foreign language in Hong Kong with an estimated 90,000 Japanese-speaking Hong Kong Chinese today. This thesis examines how sociocultural contexts feed into various motivations behind Japanese language learning in contemporary Hong Kong. By observing interactions at eight classrooms in four educational institutions and analyzing life history narratives from 29 proficient speakers of Japanese, I look into how Hong Kong Chinese learners of the Japanese language craft their social identities through their language socialization. Language socialization is defined as motivational processes in which a novice learner seeks competence in the target language, and simultaneously desires to become associated with the target culture.
My findings are two-fold. First, while the “Chinese learner” is often characterized as a passive or non-autonomous learner, the Hong Kong Chinese learners of Japanese language I studied are active learners who self-select what they want to gain or not to gain from language learning. Second, Hong Kong Chinese learners of Japanese language are generally motivated to become socialized to Japanese social ethics and aesthetics beyond mere pragmatic purposes.
Related to the second finding, Japanese language learning offers a way of claiming an imagined Chinese identity through a shared past of Confucian tradition. Many Japanese-speaking Hongkongers perceive ethnic/historical legitimacy in claiming Japanese social ethics/aesthetics to which they have socialized themselves. While this may imply that learning Japanese language in Hong Kong is ultimately traditional, their self-identification and distinction, as well as claims of a romanticized ancient China are a modern project, being fueled by the current sociopolitical and sociocultural tensions between Hong Kong, China, and Japan.
This thesis should be of interest to educators of Japanese and other languages who wish for a contextualized understanding of time and effort made by each learner beyond particular cultural or economical appeals. It should also be of interest to researchers of education, linguistics, anthropology, and social science in general who wish to explore language, society, and culture in today’s Hong Kong, where political tensions are rising and where language is implicitly tied to ways in which people are navigating and crafting their social identities.
|Advisor:||Lee, Kit Bing Icy|
|Commitee:||Gagne, Nana Okura, Gao, Xuesong Andy, Tse, Kwan Choi Thomas|
|School:||The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)|
|School Location:||Hong Kong|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Cultural anthropology, Asian Studies, Foreign language education|
|Keywords:||China studies, Foreign language learning, Hong Kong studies, Japan studies, Language socialization, Motivation|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be