Language Communities in Japan
Language Communities in Japan

Language Communities in Japan

John C. Maher
  • Sheds new light on the extent of linguistic and cultural diversity in Japan
  • Chapters are consistently structured to enable easy comparison between language communities
  • Provides detailed historical context for contemporary sociolinguistic phenomena

This book offers a comprehensive sociolinguistic overview of the linguistic situation in Japan. Contemporary Japan displays rich linguistic diversity, particularly in urban areas, but the true extent of this diversity has often been overlooked. The contributors to this volume provide a new perspective, with detailed accounts of the wide range of languages spoken in different contexts and by different communities across the Japanese archipelago. Each chapter focuses on a specific language community, and systematically explores the history of the variety in Japanese culture and the current sociolinguistic situation. The first part explores the indigenous languages of Japan, including the multiple dialects of Japanese itself and the lesser-known Ryukyan and Ainu languages. Chapters in Part II look at community languages, ranging from the historic minority languages such as Korean and Chinese to the languages spoken by more recent migrant communities, such as Nepali, Filipino, and Persian. The final part examines languages of culture, politics, and modernization, from the use of English in international business and education contexts to the ongoing use of Latin and Sanskrit for religious purposes. The volume sheds new light on Japan's position as an important multilingual and multicultural society, and will be of interest to scholars and students not only of Japanese and sociolinguistics, but of Asian studies and migration studies more widely.


Introduction: Tradition in motion, John C. Maher
Part I: National Languages

1:Japanese in the world: The diaspora communities, Kazuko Matsumoto
2:Japanese in Japan: The national language and regional varieties, Junko Hibiya
3:Language communities of the Northern Ryukyus: Okinawan, Amami, and Kunigami, Patrick Heinrich
4:Language communities of the Southern Ryukyus: Miyako, Yaeyama, and Yonaguni, Sachiyo Fujita-Round
5:Japanese Sign Language: A language of the deaf community, Norie Oka
6:Ainu: An urban-rural indigenous language of the North, Hidetoshi Shiraishi
Part II: Community Languages

7:Korean: Ancient and modern transnational links of language and culture, Hye-Gyeong Ohe
8:Chinese: A historic language of cultural influence, Shi Jie
9:Portuguese: Diaspora, ethnolinguistic vitality, and cultural influence, Lucila Etsuko Gibo
10:Spanish: From Renaissance missionaries to the Nikkeijin community, Daniel Quintero
11:Urdu and Hindi: Languages of urban transnational business and culture, Rika Yamashita
12:Nepali: Outmigration and the evolving diaspora, Tina Shrestha
13:Vietnamese: From refugee community to cultural transitions, Mayumi Adachi
14:Filipino: A nationwide migrant language and culture, Sachi Takahata
15:Burmese: Refugees and Little Yangon, Kosei Otsuka
16:Turkish, Kurdish, and Uighur: Linguistic and political presence from the Meiji period, John C. Maher
17:Persian: Migration waves and diversification, Hourieh Akbari

Part III: Languages of Culture, Politics, and Modernization
18:English: International language of work, learning, and education, Simon Cookson
19:Dutch and German: Mediator languages of science, politics, and law, Florian Coulmas
20:French: Culture, linguistic landscape, and modernization, Simon Tuchais
21:Russian: A historical language community and Russian language education, Petr Podalko
22:Esperanto: Internationalism, dialogue, and an evolving community, Kimura Goro Christoph and Gotoo Hitosi
23:Latin and Sanskrit: Hidden Christians, Buddhism, and religious scholarship, John C. Maher


Edited by John C. Maher, Professor of Linguistics, International Christian University, Tokyo
John C. Maher is Professor of Linguistics at International Christian University, Tokyo, specializing in sociolinguistics. He has previously held positions at the University of Edinburgh, St. Antony's College, Oxford, and De La Salle University, Manila. His many publications in both English and Japanese include Introducing Chomsky (Multilingual Matters, 1995), and Multilingualism: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2017) and, as co-editor with Kyoko Yashiro, Multilingual Japan (Multilingual Matters, 1995). He is a founding member of the Japan Association of the Sociolinguistic Sciences.

Mayumi Adachi, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
Hourieh Akbari, Shirayuri Women's University
Simon Cookson, J. F. Oberlin University, Tokyo
Florian Coulmas, University of Duisburg-Essen
Sachiyo Fujita-Round, International Christian University, Tokyo
Lucila Etsuko Gibo, Sophia University
Gotoo Hitosi, Tohoku University
Patrick Heinrich, Ca' Foscari University of Venice
Junko Hibiya, International Christian University
Kimura Goro Christoph, Sophia University
John C. Maher, International Christian University, Tokyo
Kazuko Matsumoto, University of Tokyo
Petr Podalko, Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo
Daniel Quintero, International Christian University, Tokyo
Hye-Gyeong Ohe, International Christian University, Tokyo
Norie Oka, Meisei Gakuen School for the Deaf, Tokyo
Kosei Otsuka, Osaka University
Jie Shi, University of Electro-Communications, Tokyo
Hidetoshi Shiraishi, Sapporo Gakuin University
Tina Shrestha, Waseda University
Sachi Takahata, University of Shizuoka
Simon Tuchais, Sophia University
Rika Yamashita, Kanto Gakuin University, Yokohama


ISBN : 9780198856610

John C. Maher
304 ページ
156 x 234 mm





Language Communities in Japan

Language Communities in Japan

Language Communities in Japan