The Monolingual Situation in Japan. The Government's Struggle to Keep Minority Languages Alive

by: Friederike Börner

GRIN Publishing, 2016

ISBN: 9783668210455 , 9 Pages

Format: PDF, PDB, Read online

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The Monolingual Situation in Japan. The Government's Struggle to Keep Minority Languages Alive


Document from the year 2012 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Comparative Literature, grade: 2,0, University of Potsdam (Institut fuer Anglistik), course: Foundations in Bilingualism, language: English, abstract: In this paper I want to give a short introduction to the language varieties in Japan and I want to talk about the struggle with minority languages in the country. When talking about minority languages I will especially refer to the Ainu language, the indigenous language of Japan. The Japanese language is spoken by 127 Million people and ranks on the 9th place of the most frequent spoken languages. However, Japanese is not a universal language, since most of the people are native speakers and the center of the Japanese language is Japan. Nowadays it is spoken on the 4 main islands of Japan - Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. Japanese can be also found in the former colonized parts of Japan - in Korea, Taiwan, Sakhalin, in some parts of China, in Hawaii and even Brazil. For Western people Japanese seems very exotic and difficult to learn, especially the writing and reading of the Japanese language is a struggle for every language learner from a Western country. It consist of the Hiragana and Katakana syllabary and the Chinese characters called Kanji. Although we can find Chinese characters in Japanese, both languages have totally different lexis and grammar. The Chinese characters were brought to Japan in the year 300 and developed by the Japanese people to fit their own language system. There are controversies about if Japanese is an Altaic language or a malayoaustronesian language. Since Linguists cannot find a certain genealogical relationship to another language, Japanese is considered as a Japonic language and can still not be clearly defined by today.

Based in Tokyo, Japan. I'm a writer and editor, working full-time as a language teacher. Studied German and English literature in Germany, Potsdam. Studying DaF and Psycholinguistics now at Marburg University, Germany.