Our Language—Linguistic Ideologies and Japanese Dialect Use in L1/L2 Interaction

Jae DiBello Takeuchi


This study uses conversation data and ethnographic interviews to examine the role of meta-talk in speaker legitimacy for L2 Japanese speakers. Autoethnographic analysis of conversation data demonstrates how an L2 speaker is co-constructed (jointly positioned) as a (non)legitimate speaker of Japanese Dialect. The researcher, an L2 Japanese speaker, recorded Japanese conversations with L1 interlocutors, namely, her L1 Japanese spouse and in-laws. Two contrasting cases of L2 Japanese Dialect use are examined. In the first case, L1 interlocutors respond to the L2 speaker’s dialect with meta-talk about “our language,” co-constructing the L2 speaker as a non-legitimate dialect user. In the second case, the L2 speaker’s dialect use is affirmed when the L1 interlocutor uses similar dialect; no meta-talk occurs. The conversation data is supplemented with ethnographic interview data which underscores the prevalence of meta-talk. Meta-talk reveals speakers’ beliefs about legitimate speakerhood in which “our language” does not include L2 speakers. Conversely, the absence of meta-talk affirms the L2 speaker’s dialect use and depicts dialect as a shared form of “our language.” This study contributes to understanding linguistic ideologies, demonstrates how language ownership and speaker legitimacy manifest in Japanese interactions, and adds to research examining Japanese Dialect use by L2 speakers.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jll.2020.146

Copyright (c) 2020 Jae DiBello Takeuchi

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