The Case for Multilingual Japan: 1968-2008
John C. Maher, Professor of Linguistics, International Christian University, Tokyo and Visiting Professor St. Antony's College, Oxford
East Asian Identities and Cultures Cluster Seminar
25.Feb.2009 17.00 - 18.30
Room G.03, 20 Cromer Terrace -
diversity continues to evolve in the Japanese archipelago that
comprises older mother tongues, newcomer languages, pidgins and creoles
and newly standardizing languages. Multilingualism in Japan is greater
than the sum of its languages. It resides not in the celebration of
micro-ethnicities, of mere 'difference' but in a growing awareness of
social hybridity, life-style crossing and 'metroethnicity' (Maher 2005).
How has the notion
'multilingual Japan' gained momentum over the past 40 years? A
nationwide survey of language awareness among college students in Japan
will be discussed together with a vision for future strategic thinking
in politics and education.