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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/11470/429

Title: Content Analysis of Speeches at University English Speech Contests
Other Titles: 大学英語スピーチコンテストにおけるスピーチ内容の分析
Authors: Underwood, William
Issue Date: 28-Feb-2003
Publisher: 福岡女学院大学人文学部
Abstract: The author served as a judge at the annual English Speech Contest sponsored by the Fukuoka Student English Association (FSEA) in June 2001 and June 2002. A total of 24 original speeches with self-selected themes were delivered by students from five local universities. Among the topical areas considered were the challenges of technology and modernity, social problems and responsibility, and global citizenship. This paper explores the social and political significance of the speeches, which provided a useful snapshot of early 21st-century Japan in transition. Speech excerpts are placed into the context of current events by drawing on media sources, illustrating the evolution of Japanese society away from excessive dependence, centralization and uniformity, and toward an emerging paradigm of individual empowerment and responsibility, decentralization and diversity. It is concluded that the English speech contests offered bidirectional benefits. For observers, the events represented a unique window into the world views and English ability of young Japanese adults. Student participants utilized the contests as a confidence-building vehicle for communicating their voice and vision in a foreign language, while engaging in social consciousness-raising. It is suggested that English speech contests could represent a valuable resource for describing changes in student attitudes over time, or for describing local conditions in different geographical areas. Excerpts from junior high school English speech contests in Aomori, judged by the author in the early 1990s, are introduced more briefly.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/11470/429
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