This book is the first in a unique series drawn from an interdisciplinary, longitudinal project entitled ‘Thirty Years of Talk.’ For 30 years, Okano recorded ethnographic interviews and collected data on the language of working class women in Kobe, Japan. This long-range study sketches the transitions in these women's lives and how their language use, discourse and identities change in specific sociocultural contexts as they shift through different stages of their personal and public lives. It is a ground-breaking, ‘real time’ panel study that follows the same individuals and observes the same phenomena at regular intervals over three decades. In this volume the authors examine the changes in the speech of one particular woman, Kanako, as her social identity shifts from high-school girl to mother and fisherman’s wife, and as her relationship with the interviewer develops. They identify changes in linguistic strategies as she negotiates gender/sexuality norms, stylistic features related to the construction of rapport, the use of discourse markers as she gets older, and the interviewer’s information-seeking strategies.
'Well-written in concise and accessible style, this book serves not only as a must-read for scholars in gender studies, but also as a valuable reference for those interested in sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, discourse analysis, and Japanese studies.' - Ke Zhang, Faculty of Foreign Studies, Beijing Language and Culture University, China
'This first volume in the planned series, taken as a whole, provides a well-constructed, well-written window into the world of life transitions as mirrored in speech and is a welcome addition to the literature.' - Nanette Gottlieb, Emeritus Professor, School of Languages and Cultures, University of Queensland, Australia
'The book makes us rethink important questions about what should be considered age grading in language use and how it can be investigated, although these issues are not directly discussed in the book. Furthermore, the book compellingly demonstrates that, in order to understand the change in one's language use over time, it is inadequate to examine the use of a few (phonological or grammatical) variables in isolation, and that one needs to consider language use at the discourse-pragmatic level.' - Shigeko Okamoto, Emeritus Professor, Department of Languages and Applied Linguistics, University of California, USA