Portraits of Second Language Learners: An L2 Learner Agency Perspective

Author: Chie Muramatsu

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Using second language (L2) socialization theory as a theoretical framework, this book investigates the ways in which four advanced learners of Japanese on an immersion program in the USA exercise their agency to pursue their language learning goals. The work presents their learner portraits and documents the different ways in which the four learners negotiate the meaning of their participations in the new community of practice, navigate and shape the trajectories of their learning and eventually achieve their goals of learning from their emic perspectives. The book re-examines Norton's (2000) constructs of investment, investigates its applicability and argues that L2 learners' desires and drives for learning an L2 are more diverse, unique and contextually situated than Norton's notion of investment alone can explain. The research will be of interest to researchers and students in the fields of applied linguistics, second language acquisition, foreign language education and language and literacy education.

Chie Muramatsu combines consummate storytelling with theoretical insight in this contribution to an emerging body of research on L2 learners. Her portraits of four Japanese language learners paint a vivid picture of L2 learning as socially situated lived experience in which the learner's agency plays a crucial role.

Phil Benson, Macquarie University, Australia

This is a great study of diverse social processes of individuals in language learning. It highlights the role of social agency and the dialogic relationship of learners and social community in their language learning and identity construction. This study adds a rich dimension to the L2 learning process and theory.

Danling Fu, University of Florida, USA

Muramatsu's book, focusing on the qualities of domestic immersion through detailed case studies, is a lucidly written and significant contribution to socially-oriented research on foreign language education. Solid erudition deftly combined with compelling storytelling make this volume a joy to read.

Celeste Kinginger, Pennsylvania State University, USA

Chie Muramatsu holds a PhD in Second Language Acquisition from the University of Iowa, USA and has worked as a teacher and lecturer in Japanese, most recently at Stanford University, USA. Within the field of second language acquisition, her work focuses on Japanese as a foreign language and her particular interest is in narrative inquiry, the stories of second language learners and the dynamic yet intimate interplay between their personal variables and the social world in which they live.

Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Second Language Socialization, Community, and L2 Learner Agency                                           

Chapter 3. Community                                                                                                                                 

Chapter 4. Parker: Lost Opportunities, Reconnection, and Transforming                                                       

Chapter 5. Alison: Shame, Resistance, and Overcoming                                                                                       

Chapter 6. Naiya: Separation, Resistance, and Accomplishing                                                                           

Chapter 7. Danielle: Identities, Ambivalence, and Becoming                                                                             

Chapter 8. Conclusion                                                                                                                                                                     


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