Sociolinguistics in Japan

Authored by: Nanette Gottlieb

The Routledge Handbook of Sociolinguistics Around the World

Print publication date:  November  2009
Online publication date:  December  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415422789
eBook ISBN: 9780203869659
Adobe ISBN: 9781135261054


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In 1987, in an important article entitled ‘Japanese Sociolinguistics’, Janet S. Shibamoto listed the major areas of sociolinguistic research in Japan as the writing system, loanword usage, standardization, honorification, language and sex, and bilingualism and minority languages (Shibamoto 1987). These categories in general remain the major areas of research in the field, but social, technological and academic developments over the intervening 20 years mean that the emphasis in many of them has changed. In this chapter, I discuss the manner in which recent research on Japanese sociolinguistics has responded to social changes and what the pressing concerns are today.

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