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    Whose Karate? Language and cultural learning in a multilingual Karate club in London

    Zhu, Hua and Li, W. and Ankowicz-Pytel, D. (2020) Whose Karate? Language and cultural learning in a multilingual Karate club in London. Applied Linguistics 41 (1), pp. 52-83. ISSN 0142-6001.

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    This article explores language learning as a process of translanguaging and of cultural translation. We draw examples from a sociolinguistic ethnography of translanguaging practices in a karate club in east London, UK. Formulaic Japanese is taught as part of karate techniques, practised as the language of performance and rituals and valued as the key indicator of karate expertise over other languages. Key karate verbal routines such as osu and kiai, while linguistically difficult to translate, bespeak core karate values such as respect and confidence, and equally important, the embodiment of these verbal routines is well integrated into karate moves, breaking down the dichotomy of verbal and physical dimensions of the interaction. The predominant use of formulaic Japanese in rituals, along with other semiotic resources, creates an imagined karate world characterized by hierarchy and guarded through the value of respect. In examining whose karate and how cultural traditions, values and practices are translated and why, we broaden the concept of language and regard it as a multifaceted sense- and meaning-making resource and explore the theoretical implications of taking language teaching and learning as a process of cultural translation.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Depositing User: Zhu Hua
    Date Deposited: 13 May 2019 14:14
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:46


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