General programme, activity sheet

Friday 9 September, 2016 16:30 to 17:00 Oral presentation
Dilingual discourse between English-speaking parents and their Japanese-speaking children
Speaker: Janice Nakamura, Sagami Women's University

Authors: Janice Nakamura


It is not uncommon for children to receive input in two languages but speak only one. The rate of passive bilingualism for bilingual children in Japan is as high as 39% (Yamamoto, 2001) and this rate increases with age (Billings, 1990). Even when their children speak Japanese, non-Japanese parents may continue using their native language, making parent-child discourse ‘dilingual’ (Saville-Troike, 1987). While dilingual discourse among adults have been studied (Greer, 2013), it needs to be examined in the family given the fact that such discourse may be a reality for many intercultural and transnational families. Dilingual parent-child discourse is unique because the child is an immature speaker who has to make sense of his less-developed language before responding in his more developed one. Likewise, the parent also has to comprehend the child’s speech in a language that is not his own. Therefore, dilingual parent-child discourse potentially leads to misunderstandings and breakdowns in communication unless both parties engage in strategies for joint understanding. This paper examines clarification requests because their use is likely to be a key strategy for repairing breakdown in communication. Audio data of the dilingual discourses between English-speaking parents and their Japanese-speaking children will be coded for clarification requests made by both parties and responses to them, and analyzed according to type and function to determine the extent to which they help achieve mutual understanding. Billings, M. (1990). Some factors affecting the bilingual development of bicultural children in Japan, AFW Journal, April, 93-108. Greer, T. (2013). Establishing a pattern of dual-receptive language alternation: Insights from a series of successive haircuts. Australian Journal of Communication, 40(2), 47-61. Saville-Troike, M. (1987). Dilingual discourse: The negotiation of meaning without a common code. Linguistics, 25, 81–106. Yamamoto, M. (2001). Language use in interlingual families: A Japanese-English sociolinguistic study. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
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Teaching and learning of languages
Place: Room A-16

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