'This Guy is Japanese Stuck in a White Man's Body': A Discussion of Meaning Making, Identity Slippage, and Cross-cultural Adaptation

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Abstract
This paper addresses two issues within a general theory of cross-cultural adaptation. The first concerns the extent to which cross-cultural adaptation is activated by the ability to make meaning in Japanese as a foreign language. The second investigates the phenomenon of 'identity slippage'. Six life histories taken from informants who had learned Japanese after the age of 11 years have been used as narratives to provide qualitative date to shed light on issues concerning additional language development, and especially some of the consequences of learning Japanese on each informant's sense of self. It was found that making and interpreting meaning with a different set of appropriated linguistic, non-verbal and pivotal information plays a major role in cross-cultural adaptation. It was also discovered that 'identity slippage' is a multilayered phenomenon which relies, in part, on the ability to make meaning in a location and with an audience. Those who can and do identity slip challenge the notions of native and non-native.
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Armour, William Spencer
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Publication Year
2001
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Journal Article
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