The sociocultural landscape of English: the discursive constructions of attitudes toward English among Japanese undergraduates on a study English abroad program

Saito, Akihiro (2010) The sociocultural landscape of English: the discursive constructions of attitudes toward English among Japanese undergraduates on a study English abroad program. In: 12th International Conference on Language and Social Psychology, 16-19 June 2010, Brisbane, Australia.

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English as a global phenomenon has been discussed variably in recent scholarly literature. In parallel, research on ELT continues to abound. However, the scope of ELT research in the Japanese context has been focussed upon the teacher perspective of how pedagogical practices can best enhance learners’ acquisition of the language. Meanwhile, the sociocultural landscape of ELT as subjective realities shared among learners themselves has been underexplored. This paper addresses this gap by tapping into attitudes toward the English language as discursive constructions emerging out of expository-type writing among Japanese undergraduates.

The paper presents a discourse analysis of 32 participants’ text about the sociocultural significances of English, from local to global level. Passages of the text elicited from the participants were coded into three theoretical categories of attitudes: positive, negative, and neutral (non-evaluative). An overarching theme that has been identified in each of these categories – English as resource, English as agitator, and English as ornament – is discussed.

The study holds, among others, pedagogical and methodological implications for ELT and ELT research. By tapping into language learners’ views of English in their written discourse, the study enables itself to observe the consciousness that individuals bring with them through which sociocultural particularities of their learning context may be visualised. While psychometric attitude research confines individual attitudes within the researcher’s theoretical framework as evaluations oriented to attitude objects, this discourse-analytic study demonstrates that evaluations and attitude objects are discursively intertwined, and the contemporary phenomenon of English is variably constructed therein.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Conference publication consists of only the abstracts of papers presented at the conference. Abstract only is available here. No evidence of copyright restrictions.
Depositing User: Mr Akihiro Saito
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Education
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2010 23:36
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2013 00:02
Uncontrolled Keywords: Japanese undergraduates; English; attitudes
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130207 LOTE, ESL and TESOL Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. Maori)
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2004 Linguistics > 200401 Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2004 Linguistics > 200403 Discourse and Pragmatics

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