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Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education
Communicating in a second language could be seen as a process requiring the deconstruction and reconstruction of cultural meanings. If this is the case, how do second language (L2) learners express cultural meanings of their first language (L1) expressions that do not have semantically equivalent L2 expressions? Twentynine Japanese students learning English as a second language in the US were asked to translate Japanese cultural expressions that do not have equivalent English expressions. This study found that the students either (a) entirely eliminated the expression from the statement, (b) replaced the expression with an English expression commonly used in a similar context, but with a different meaning, or (c) literally translated the expression into an English expression that made little sense. The study suggests the importance of helping L2 learners develop this bicultural capability to convey rich cultural meanings of L1-specific expressions in L2-based communication.
Digital USD Citation
Molina, Sarina Chugani and Inoue, Noriyuki, "Lost in Translation: Strategies Japanese Language Learners Use in Communicating Culturally Specific L1 Expressions in English" (2011). School of Leadership and Education Sciences: Faculty Scholarship. 26.