This book is about language and the city. Pennycook and Otsuji introduce the notion of 'metrolingualism', showing how language and the city are deeply involved in a perpetual exchange between people, history, migration, architecture, urban landscapes and linguistic resources. Cities and languages are in constant change, as new speakers with new repertoires come into contact as a result of globalization and the increased mobility of people and languages. Metrolingualism sheds light on the ordinariness of linguistic diversity as people go about their daily lives, getting things done, eating and drinking, buying and selling, talking and joking, drawing on whatever linguistic resources are available. Engaging with current debates about multilingualism, and developing a new way of thinking about language, the authors explore language within a number of contemporary urban situations, including cafés, restaurants, shops, streets, construction sites and other places of work, in two diverse cities, Sydney and Tokyo. This is an invaluable look at how people of different backgrounds get by linguistically. Metrolingualism: Language in the city will be of special interest to advanced undergraduate/postgraduate students and researchers of sociolinguistics and applied linguistics.
Nakane, I., Otsuji, E. & Armour, W.S. 2015, Languages and Identities in a Transitional Japan From Internationalization to Globalization, Routledge.
From Internationalization to Globalization Ikuko Nakane, Emi Otsuji, William S.
Armour ... of looking at language and identity issues in a transitional Japan by
linking both the local and global as well as the grassroots and policy level.
There is a potential tension between the descriptions of language use by contemporary sociolinguistic researchers keen to focus on metro- poly- or translanguaging – with a focus on repertoires of semiotic resources – and the terms used by language users themselves – which may accord much more with traditional linguistic labels. While we tried to account for this disparity in previous discussions by focusing on the push and pull between fluid and fixed language use and descriptions, we focus in this paper on the negotiations around the labels used by the participants themselves. While it is certainly the case that the tools for discussing language use and affiliation in everyday discourse are themselves linguistically constrained (using commonly accepted language labels) the terms people use to talk about their multilingual environments are not necessarily as normative as they first appear. Such apparently stable referents are themselves part of a more complex set of identity repertoires that are always being reworked. What is at stake, therefore, is not so much a polarisation between fluid language use and fixed language ascriptions as a constant reconfiguration of language meanings.
Moving away from logocentric studies of the linguistic landscape, this paper explores the relations between linguascapes and smellscapes. Often regarded as the least important of our senses, smell is an important means by which we relate to place. Based on an olfactory ethnography of a multicultural suburb in Sydney, we show how the intersection of people, objects, activities and senses make up the spatial repertoire of a place. We thus take a broad view of the semiotic landscape, including more than the visual and the intentional, and suggest that we are interpellated by smells as part of a broader relation to space and place. Understanding the semiotics of the urban smellscape in associational terms, we therefore argue not merely that smell has generally been overlooked in semiotic landscapes, nor that this can be rectified by an expanded inventory of sensory signs, but rather that the interpellative and associational roles of smells invite us towards an alternative semiotics of time and place.
Pennycook, A.D. & Otsuji, E. 2014, 'Metrolingual multitasking and spatial repertoires: 'Pizza mo two minutes coming'', Journal of Sociolinguistics, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 161-184.
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Drawing on data from two restaurants in Sydney and Tokyo, this paper describes the ways in which linguistic resources, everyday tasks and social space are intertwined in terms of metrolingual multitasking. Rather than the demolinguistic enumeration of mappable multilingualism or the language-to-language or language-to-person focus of translingualism, metrolingualism focuses on everyday language practices and their relations to urban space. In order to capture the dynamism of the urban linguistic landscape, this paper explores this relationship between metrolingual multitasking the ways in which linguistic resources, activities and urban space are bound together and spatial repertoires the linguistic resources available in a particular place arguing that a focus on resources, repertoires, space, place and activity helps us understand how multilingualism from below operates in complex urban places.
© , Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Drawing on data recorded in two city markets, this article analyzes the language practices of workers and customers as they go about their daily business, with a particular focus on the ways in which linguistic resources, everyday tasks, and social spaces are intertwined in producing metrolingua francas. The aim of the article is to come to a better understanding of the relationships among the use of diverse linguistic resources (drawn from different languages, varieties, and registers), the repertoires of the workers, the activities in which they are engaged, and the larger space in which this occurs. Developing the idea of spatial repertoires as the linguistic resources available in particular places, we explore the ways in which metrolingua francas (metrolingual multilingua francas) emerge from the spatial resources of such markets.
Looking at two sets of conversations, among Greek adolescents, and between Japanese and Australian workers, this article shows how a poststructuralist understanding of the ways in which participants use and mix elements of their language repertoires implies a view of language as performative. Although the poststructuralist element of our approach on the one hand foregrounds a questioning of stable categories of language, identity, and assumed modes of mixing, our development of an understanding of performativity allows us to consider seriously the processes by which language and identity are constantly being remade. For the participants themselves, this is not simply a question of fluid language practices, but rather the interplay of fixed and unfixed language elements, cultural identifications, and social relationships. Reinvigorating Butlers account of performativity, our analysis and comparison of these two sets of data shows how a poststructuralist consideration of performativity sheds light on the relationship between the ongoing production of subjectivity and the deployment of fixed, stable, or stereotypical categories of identity.
In this paper, we explore the implications of metrolingual language practices for how we understand social inclusion. A vision of social inclusion that includes bi- and multilingual capacities may comprise an appreciation of a diversity of languages other than English, and the skills and capabilities of multilingual language users, yet it is all too often premised on an understanding of language use that cannot escape its origins in statist understandings of language ideologieswhere a particular language is associated with a particular cultural, ethnic or geographical configuration.
Otsuji, E. 2011, 'Metrolingualism and Japanese language education: Linguistic competence across borders', Literacies, vol. 9, pp. 21-30.
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This paper critically examines what constitutes language competency and language education within the globalised society by elucidating ways in which language, culture, ethnicities and identities are constructed in and through conversations between` Japanese and` Australians. While Japanese language education is still primarily premised on the monolingual mindset failing to situate Japanese language within multilingual environments, the paper proposes that language education should take into account the newly defined notion of metrolingualism. Metrolingualism is a productive linguistic space which emerges through the interaction between normative and fixed understandings of language and fluid (hybrid) and dynamic understandings. It is suggested that metrolingualism will allow students to develop their capacity to construct their own linguistic environment by manipulating and managing their own diverse linguistic resources and proposes the need to incorporate metrolingual perspectives in understanding linguistic competency and language education theory within globalisation
By extending the notion of metroethnicity, this paper proposes the notion of metrolingualism, creative linguistic practices across borders of culture, history and politics. Metrolingualism gives us a way to move beyond current terms such as 'multilingualism' and 'multiculturalism'. It is a product of modern and often urban interaction, describing the ways in which people of different and mixed backgrounds use, play with and negotiate identities through language. The focus is not so much on language systems as on languages as emergent from contexts of interaction. Looking at data from workplaces where metrolingual language use is common, we show how the use of both fixed and fluid linguistic and cultural identities is part of the process of language use. The notion of metrolingualism gives us ways of moving beyond common frameworks of language, providing insights into contemporary, urban language practices, and accommodating both fixity and fluidity in its approach to language use.
Otsuji, E. & Kinoshita Thomson, C. 2009, 'Promoting 'Third Space' Identities: A Case Study of the Teaching of Business Japanese', Portal Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 1-21.
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This paper argues that the teaching and learning of a foreign language involves students in the construction of their own identities between cultural and linguistic practices. The study looks at the interconnected practices of the content of the textbook, the classroom teaching and teachers ideological stance in relation to students gender identity construction. It examines how all the practices jointly contribute to a foreign language learning experience. In particular, the construction of (gender) identities of the learners explicated through a case study of a Japanese business classroom practice.
Kinoshita Thomson, C. & Otsuji, E. 2009, 'Multidimensional examination of gender in a business Japanese textbook', Japanese-Language Education around the Globe, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 49-67.
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In Japanese "female language" and "male language" are "language resources" (Nakamura 2007), which people use or avoid using to construct one's gender identities. This study examined a business Japanese textbook from gender perspective. In order to understand the Japanese language teaching and learning practices in terms of gender, the study engaged in the content analysis of the textbook, email interviews of the textbook writers, classroom observations, as well as interviews of the teacher and students. The discussion of data includes how gender was understood, and expressed in the textbook and how it was taught and learned using the textbook. The study found that it is difficult for even the most experienced teacher to critically consume the textbook content; and the events surrounding the textbook are quite complex. It therefore suggests the needs for textbooks to have explicit explanations and tasks that enable learners to use the "language resources" effectively. The paper also advocates the multi-perspective textbook analysis in order to capture the complexity.
Maher, D., Seaton, L., McMullen, C.M., Fitzgerald, T., Otsuji, E. & Lee, A. 2008, ''Becoming and being writers': the experiences of doctoral students in writing groups', Studies in Continuing Education, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 263-275.
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The use of writing groups to support students undertaking post-graduate research within universities has begun to receive attention from academic supervisors and doctoral researchers. Very little has been written by doctoral students themselves on the benefits of working within such writing groups. In this article, the experiences of working within a doctoral writing group at an Australian University are presented, primarily from the perspective of students. The authors identify two main benefits they have experienced through participating in a writing group using a 'multi-voiced' approach. First, they discuss the kind of learning that they achieved through working in a writing group. They do this with reference to key principles of peer learning and of peer review. Second, they focus on the ways the group worked as a community of discursive social practice. An overarching message for them in participating in the group and now writing this article is the shift in their thinking and experience of writing from seeing writing as an essentially private and implicit process to writing becoming a matter of public and shared work. These two notions are bound by the concept of identity building, drawing from the literature on communities of practice.
Kinoshita Thomson, C. & Otsuji, E. 2003, 'Evaluation of Business Japanese Textbooks: Issues of Gender', Japanese Studies, vol. 23, no. 2 September, pp. 185-203.
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