Language Life in Japan: Transformations and Prospects by Patrick Heinrich, Christian Galan

By Patrick Heinrich, Christian Galan

Despite its monolingual self-image, Japan is multilingual and transforming into extra so as a result of indigenous minority language revitalization and as an influence of migration. along with Japan's autochthonous languages resembling the Ainu and Ryukyuan languages, there are greater than 75,000 immigrant teenagers within the jap public schooling process on my own who got here to Japan within the Nineteen Eighties and who communicate greater than 100 various languages. additional to this growing to be linguistic variety, the significance of English because the language of foreign conversation in company and technology particularly is hotly debated.

This e-book analyses how this linguistic variety, and certainly attractiveness of this phenomenon, provides quite a lot of sociolinguistic demanding situations and possibilities in basic associations similar to colleges, in cultural styles and in social behaviours and attitudes. This subject is a vital one as Japan fights to re-establish itself within the new world order and should be of curiosity to all those people who are involved language change,  language as opposed to dialect, the influence of contemporary expertise on language utilization, and how nationwide and social difficulties are continually mirrored during the prism of language.

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2 In the following three sections we will present how the term language rights evolved in Japan. In this section, let us overview how the concept of language rights was imported to Japan. In the next, we will analyze cases in which language rights have been applied as arguments. Then we try to gauge the scope of these discourses. Although there existed continuously movements for recognition of minority rights in postwar Japan, including language matters, a focus on language rights as a topic in its own right seems to have emerged rather recently.

The declaration by the United Nations of an International Year of the World’s Indigenous People in 1993 and the following International Decade on the same issue gave further impetus to their rights claims. With immigrant minorities, the revision of the Immigration Control Law in 1990 allowing nikkeijin, that is descendents of Japanese emigrants, to work in Japan, accelerated immigration to Japan. By 1992, the number of foreign residents officially registered in Japan exceeded 1 percent of the total population.

The unbalancing of power structures results in a range of new choices becoming available, because regimentation of language is the result of rival interests. Social strength and power are decisive forces in settling such rivalries (Coulmas 2005). Will Kymlicka stresses that free choice in the form of benign neglect is not a solution, writing that The ideal of “benign neglect” is not in fact benign. It ignores the fact that the members of a national minority face a disadvantage which the members of the majority do not face.

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