About Charlene J. Sato



Charlene “Charlie” Junko Sato (1951-1996) was an associate professor in the Department of Second Language Studies (formerly ESL) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, where she taught for 14 years and also served as the chair of the Ph.D. in SLA Program.

Charlie was born and raised in Hawai‘i, her father a fourth-generation Japanese American and her mother a Japanese war bride from Osaka. Born in Lahaina (Maui), she grew up in Wahiawa (O‘ahu) and developed bilingual competence in Hawai‘i Creole (a.k.a. Pidgin) and English. She went to school at Leilehua High School on O‘ahu, did a B.A. in linguistics at UC Berkeley, and completed two M.A. degrees in ESL and linguistics at the University of Hawai‘i. She received her Ph.D. in applied linguistics at UCLA in 1985.

Charlie was well-known internationally for her work in second language acquisition, sociolinguistics, and Pidgin and Creole studies. She was also a committed wobbly (a member of the Industrial Workers of the World) and a social activist who influenced language policy and language attitudes in Hawai‘i through various publications and court-room appearances. She died of ovarian cancer in 1996 when she was only 44 years old. She continues to be dearly missed by friends, colleagues, and former students. Through her legacy as an intellectual, an activist, and a person, she continues to inspire all of us.

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Some of Charlie Sato’s widely cited publications are:

Sato, C. (1982). Ethnic styles in classroom discourse. In M. Hines & W. Rutherford (Eds.),On TESOL ’81 (pp. 11-24). Washington, DC: TESOL.

Sato, C. (1984). Phonological processes in second language acquisition: Another look at interlanguage syllable structure. Language Learning, 34, 43-57.

Sato, C. (1986). Conversation and interlanguage development: Rethinking the connection. In R. R. Day (Ed.), Talking to learn: Conversation in second language acquisition (pp. 23-45). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

Sato, C. (1990). The syntax of conversation in interlanguage development. Tübingen: Gunter Narr.

Sato, C. J. (1985a). Linguistic inequality in Hawaii:  The post-Creole dilemma. In N. Wolfson & J. Nanes (Eds.), Language of inequality (pp. 256-272). Berlin: Mouton.

Sato, C. J. (1985b). Task variation in interlanguage phonology. In S. Gass & C. Maden (Eds.), Input in second language acquisition (pp. 181-196). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

Sato, C. J. (1988). Origins of complex syntax in interlanguage development. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 10, 371-395.

Sato, C. J. (1989). A nonstandard approach to standard English. TESOL Quarterly, 23(2), 259-282.

Sato, C. J. (1991). Sociolinguistic variation and language attitudes in Hawaii. In J. Cheshire (Ed.), English around the world:  Sociolinguistic perspectives (pp. 647-663). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sato, C. J. (1994). Language change in a Creole continuum: Decreolization? In K. Hyltenstem & A. Vivey (Eds.), Pidgin and regression in language (pp. 122-143). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

two edited collections were published in honor of Charlie Sato:

Rickford, J. R., & Romaine, S. (Eds.). (1999). Creole genesis, attitudes and discourse: Studies celebrating Charlene J. Sato. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins. [Includes a Preface by Rickford & Romaine, and a Charlene Junko Sato Biography and Bibliography]

Huebner, T., & Davis, K. A. (Eds.). (1999). Sociopolitical perspectives on language policy and planning in the USA. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.