Transformation Through Language Learning

Reaching for Words, Stretching across Cultures, and Finding Strength in a Bicultural Self

  • Meredith Stephens Tokoshima University


Bilingualism was not the norm in our family tradition, except for distant ancestors who  spoke Gaelic. The only language study by immediate family members was of Latin by    my parents. In the first year that Japanese was offered at my high school in the 1970’s, I was prompted by the teachers to try this new offering. I acquiesced without giving it  much thought, but this proved to be a life changing decision. I ambled through high school and university studying Japanese, and then found myself living in Japan, the  language having chosen me rather than the other way around. I found myself having thoughts and conversations that I would never have in English, and discovered both a new world and a new self.  

How to Cite
Stephens, M. (2020). Transformation Through Language Learning. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 32(2), 63-76. Retrieved from