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Linguistic Profile

Oral Interview

Problem Scenario

Solution Questions

Name- Tomoko Tadeshi.
In the Japanese culture, the first name follows the family name. Therefore, in Japan Tomoko is called Tadeshi (family name), Tomoko (first name). We will refer to her as Tomoko.

Full Birth Date- August 17, 1997

Current Age- 7 years old

Country of Birth- Yokohama, Japan (Nihon)

Ethnic Group- Japanese ancestry

Linguistic Group-
Japanese (Nihongo in Japanese) is believed to be Korean and other Altaic languages.

Description of language situation in home country-
• The Japanese dialects are divided into Eastern and Western dialects.
• The Japanese language is independent of syntax (i.e. colorless green ideas sleep furiously; the man saw the boy with the telescope)
• The Japanese language has verbal ambiguity (i.e. …time flies like an arrow…fruit flies like a banana)
• The Japanese language has semantic confusion (i.e. …every farmer who has a donkey beats it).
• Language Spoken at home- like many Japanese families, Tomoko uses the common dialect, which is based on the dialect spoken in Tokyo, the political and economic center of Japan.

Tomoko is an only child, and she lives with her parents, Tabito (father) and Emiko (mother) Tadeshi, and her paternal grandparents, Takehide (grandfather) and Fusae (grandmother) Tadeshi. The Tadeshi family owns a general store in East Buffalo, and various members of the family run it. Tomoko’s parents speak both Japanese and English, but her grandparents can only speak Japanese. The Tadeshi family speaks mostly Japanese in the home, but they use both languages in public settings such as in their general store. Tomoko’s parents encourage her to use both languages when appropriate.

Description of parent’s attitudes towards USA, home country, 1st language use, use of English at home-
Tomoko’s parents are hard working people that have strict values and practices that they brought over with them from their own country. Their attitudes toward the USA are optimistic. They see America as a good economical change that will be beneficial for Tomoko. Tomoko’s parents still try to utilize the cultural practices that they did in Japan. They still use their 1st language but mostly when they are at home or with family and friends. They want Tomoko to be fluent in both languages so she will have an advantage.

Other descriptions of home atmosphere, cultural practices in home and connections of family with heritage language community organizations (proactive/passive etc)-
Tomoko lives with her mother, father, and grandparents. Her family owns a general store so they spend most of their time working at the store. The store is full of color and represents her heritage. The Tadeshi family maintains many Japanese practices such as taking of your shoes and replacing them with house slippers before entering the home, eating at low “Japanese style” tables with cushions on the ground, greeting others with a bow (the more prestigious the person, the lower you bow), and having a respectful attitude for those individuals in authority (i.e. Mr., Ms., Sir, Mam). Some table manners include not blowing your nose in public, as well as at the table, finishing all of the food that is on your plate, and refraining from burping or engaging in any “toilet” or equally inappropriate conversation. The connection with her family is very close. They honor their elders so the grandparents play a major roll in decision-making. They are proactive when it comes to practicing their culture at home.

Other relevant information about family (current living conditions / socio-economic status/ type of home dwelling)-
They currently live in New York and own a general store. They make decent money from the store and are of a middle class status.

General description of the community in which the family now resides-
There are a total of 8,008,278 people in New York, and 22,636 of those people are Japanese. The Tadeshis live in Buffalo, New York. They live in a small neighborhood of predominantly Caucasian people. Their neighbors on the right, the only other Asian family in the neighborhood, moved to New York from Japan eight years ago. There are two general stores within walking distance, and the Tadeshi family owns one of them.

Linguistic Description of the community in which the Family now resides-
Twenty-five percent of the New York population Latino/Hispanic and a large portion of those individuals live in Buffalo. English and Spanish are dominant in the city, however, English is the main language spoken in the Tadeshi’s neighborhood.

The Tadeshi family moved to America because they wanted to open a general store and America seemed like the “Land of Opportunity”. They also wished to broaden Tomoko’s schema by exposing her another culture.

Age at which case participant came to America- 5-years-old

Grade of case participant- 2nd grade

Description of physical features of case participant-
Tomoko has short black hair, big brown eyes, and olive/tan skin. She is almost 4 feet tall, and she weighs 54 pounds. Tomoko was born without a pointer finger on her left hand, but she has adapted to the physical handicap and functions well.

Description of personality of case participant-
Tomoko is a quiet and very respectful child. She is very intelligent, and works well independently. However, because she is so shy, Tomoko struggles with making new friends.

Description of current social life of case participant-
Tomoko’s best friend is her Japanese neighbor, Benkei Bando. Benkei is 7-years-old, and attends the same school as Tomoko. Tomoko and Benkei are not in the same class, but the two children sit together at lunch. Although Tomoko is quiet in school, she is very outgoing at home and at the general store. Tomoko makes friend with the adult shoppers very easily.


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