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Applying Theory and Research to Learning Japanese as a Foreign Language
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Applying Theory and Research to Learning Japanese as a Foreign Language (Hardback)

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Synopsis

Complex issues surround second language acquisition and foreign language learning in any language. There is no doubt that individuals are capable of acquiring two or more languages at different stages of human development, particularly in childhood. Research investigating how adults acquire two languages also carries important insights into what takes place during later stages of human development. From the fact that early and late bilinguals are faced with two languages in diverse stages of cognitive development we can predict differences in language processing between these two groups. In the case of the Japanese language, unfortunately, far fewer studies - particularly those written in English - have been presented on foreign-language learners and bilingual children. Designed to address some of these gaps in the literature, the chapters included in this book discuss various issues with regard to adult learners of Japanese as an L2 and English-Japanese bilingual children. This book provides the reader with an overview of the field of Japanese linguistics and its current concerns.

One of the main purposes of the book is to provide a forum in which to examine contributions in a variety of areas of Japanese linguistics to the teaching and learning of Japanese in the L2 classroom. This book has at least two interrelated areas of benefit. First, both researchers and teachers benefit from each other's expertise and receive new insights that apply to their respective fields. Second and more important, the book serves as a forum to promote ways in which we can apply linguistic theory to the learning of Japanese as an L2. That is, what researchers have learned from both theory and practice can suggest what is important for the teaching of language; conversely, language educators have a great deal to offer linguists regarding the phenomenon of language. Thus, the goal of this book is to integrate theoretical concepts and empirical research findings in L2 development in order to apply them to educational practice.

Dr. Masahiko Minami received his doctorate from Harvard University in Human Development and Psychology. His primary area of interest in research is bilingual education and cross-cultural studies. Since 1995 he has been teaching and conducting research on first and second language acquisition, the development of literacy skills, and bilingualism. He has written extensively on psycho/sociolinguistics with a particular emphasis on cross-cultural comparisons of language development and narrative/discourse structure. He has published a number of books and articles that explore cultural constructions of meaning, the quality of childcare in Japan, and East Asian students' experiences in US classrooms. His major works include Language Issues in Literacy and Bilingual/Multicultural Education (Harvard Educational Review, 1991) and Culture-specific Language Styles: The Development of Oral Narrative and Literacy (Multilingual Matters, 2002). Dr. Minami currently lives in San Francisco. He teaches at San Francisco State University, and sometimes manages to take a drive in the country.

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