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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Conversation in CMC: Tracing Novice Agency from a Language Socialization Perspective
by Ikeda, Maiko, Ph.D., University of Hawai'i at Manoa, 2020, 211; 28257965
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines how second language (L2) Japanese language learners exercise their agency in the language learning process in and how that use impacts their development of pragmatic competence within the language socialization (LS) process, with specific focus on selection and usage of sentence ending speech styles through online interactions with native Japanese university students.

While the originators of LS carefully conceptualized the LS process as contingent, fluid, unpredictable, contested, and bidirectional (or multidirectional), the pioneer studies of LS have focused on how children and novices are socialized by their caregivers and experts. Consequently, this focus has created misunderstanding that LS emphasizes the reproduction of language, from expert to novice, as a successful and smooth process, where novices are mere passive receivers of knowledge from experts in order to functionally participate in the practices of their target communities. This complex process in which novices ratify, reject, and negotiate has to do with their agency, yet what novice agency is and its implication in the LS process has yet to be examined at any depth due to this narrower interpretation of LS.

The present study responds to these challenges by examining how Japanese language learners develop competence to effectively and meaningfully participate in online class activities with native speaker university students over three months by analyzing both learners’ and native speakers’ agentive usage of Japanese sentence ending speech styles. To understand the process of their pragmatic competence development, this study quantitatively and qualitatively analyzes learners’ usage of speech style throughout the online activities in conjunction to semi-structured interviews with participants discussing their pragmatic choices in the data.

The analysis on speech style usage shows learners of Japanese exert agency in a v multitude of ways within online interaction with their partnered native Japanese university students through selection of speech style, including strategies such as: shifting speech styles to initiate new context creation, persistent usage of a selected speech style that differs from that of native speaker’s and/or adoption of speech styles in relative synchronicity to native speakers’ selections. These findings indicate that not only do learners agentively select speech style, but also that such agency plays a significant role in their manipulation of linguistic form. Agency that exists extralinguistically, such as participation / non-participation in classroom-prescribed activities, also influences novice’s language learning outcomes. Finally, the findings prove that the LS process is contingent and bidirectional, and that novices, in this case learners of Japanese, actively organize and influence the LS process.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cook, Haruko
Commitee: Fukuda, Shinichiro, Iwasaki, Shoichi, González-Lloret, Marta, Anderson, Victoria
School: University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Department: Japanese
School Location: United States -- Hawaii
Source: DAI-A 82/8(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Pedagogy, Foreign language education
Keywords: Agency, Computer-mediated-communication, Japanese sentence ending form, Language socialization, Pragmatic development
Publication Number: 28257965
ISBN: 9798569999231
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