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Personal profile


I commenced my teaching career in Tokyo at the secondary level after completing BA in English language and literature. Although I enjoyed teaching English to Junior High School students in those days, I always wished to pursue further studies related to language learning and teaching. When I immigrated to Australia in 1999, I decided to study MA in Applied Japanese Linguistics at Monash University.

While I was undertaking MA at Monash, I became interested in research topics, including language selection by learners as well as teachers. In particular, I became very interested in conducting research into language use and learning in Japanese language learners' social networks.

My MA research presented a case study of the social networks of four upper-intermediate level Japanese language learners studying at an Australian university. It examined the relationship between the learners' networks and second language acquisition in their home country. I expanded this earlier study into my PhD study. Through the use of ethnographic interviews with six learners of Japanese at an Australian university, as well as analysis of their natural interactions, this study focused on the major social factors affecting the construction of opportunities for these learners to use and learn Japanese. I qualified for the PhD in October 2008, graduating in March 2009.

I have worked as a Japanese language teacher at a TAFE and at Monash for over 10 years. At Monash, I have taught a variety of classes, including applied linguistics units. I have been a coordinator of beginning, intermediate and advanced level Japanese units. I enjoy preparing creative teaching materials and interacting with students in the classroom. I have been appointed to a continuing lectureship from the beginning of 2010.

My research interest includes teaching Japanese as a foreign language, language learners' motivation and identities, their second language use and learning outside classroom, heritage language education.  I have been recently involved with collaborative reserach projects with researchers in Japan and UK.  The topics of these projects include how immigrants’ language repertoire and their evaluation of this repertoire change over time.

Research area keywords

  • Sociolinguistics
  • learning and teaching Japanese as a foreign language
  • language learners' identity and motivation
  • heritage language learning
  • language learning beyond the classroom
  • language management

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Research Output

Languages of adolescents on the move and their identities: A case study of students studying Japanese as a heritage language in Australia

Kurata, N., 2018, Mobility Langauge. Tokyo Japan: Kurosio Publishers, p. 39-62 24 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

Motivation and L2 selves: A study of learners of Japanese at an Australian university

Sakeda, M. & Kurata, N., 2016, In : Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching. 13, 1, p. 49-67 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Motivational selves of Japanese heritage speakers in Australia

Kurata, N., 2015, In : Heritage Language Journal. 12, 2, p. 110 - 131 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Construction of L1/L2 use in informal social networks: a study of learners of Japanese in Australia

Kurata, N., 2014, In : Linguistics and Education. 27, p. 14 - 29 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Social networks in second language acquistion

Kurata, N., 2013, The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics (Volume III Co-En). Chapelle, C. A. (ed.). Chichester UK: Wiley-Blackwell, p. 5248 - 5256 9 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review