NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ803269
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 28
ISSN: ISSN-0033-6882
Power and Disagreement: Insights into Japanese Learners of English
Walkinshaw, Ian
RELC Journal: A Journal of Language Teaching and Research, v38 n3 p278-301 2007
This paper reports on a study of disagreement strategies used by Japanese learners of English (JLEs) studying at language schools in New Zealand. The study stemmed from an observation that JLEs were unwilling to express disagreements in exchanges with high-power (+P) interlocutors, possibly due to the threat of face-loss and the consequences of offending a +P interlocutor. Two questions were considered: (1) How did the JLEs perceive power distance between themselves and native speakers (NSs), and how did this affect their selection of disagreement strategies with NS interlocutors?; and (2) How might their perception of power distance affect how they learned disagreement strategies? Data was collected from 12 JLEs using a discourse completion task, a series of role-plays and a weekly task sheet. The data revealed that, though the participants were capable of disagreeing with power-equals, they were reluctant to disagree with +P interlocutors. In symmetrical exchanges they employed extended, relatively complex disagreeing strategies, but in power-unequal exchanges they often used short, previously-internalized strategies. The JLEs regarded teachers as power-unequal interlocutors, and consequently they often avoided classroom disagreements, potentially reducing their opportunities to learn and rehearse approaches to disagreement. (Contains 2 tables and 1 figure.)
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Japan; New Zealand