Trans Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 15. Nr. Juni 2004

6.1. Standardvariationen und Sprachauffassungen in verschiedenen Sprachkulturen | Standard Variations and Conceptions of Language in Various Language Cultures
HerausgeberIn | Editor | Éditeur: Rudolf Muhr (Universität Graz)

Buch: Das Verbindende der Kulturen | Book: The Unifying Aspects of Cultures | Livre: Les points communs des cultures

Remarks on Language Attitudes and Language Policy-Planning in the Japanese Context

Manfred B. Sellner (University of Salzburg, Austria)



In this paper I would like to demonstrate the interrelationship between culture /society on the one hand and language on the other in the Japanese language environment. To achieve this aim, I am to discuss popular notions on the Japanese language in the light of efforts of language planning and policy. I will show that the interface between the language and its associated social behaviour is a very complex one and that language policy as an ideal and language planning as a set of concrete measures that act on linguistic behaviour do not necessarily coincide. I shall try to show that there is a keen interest in language related matters in Japan but that past efforts to control language use have not been of partial success.


The Japanese language or "kokugo", as the official standard language of school instruction in Japan is called, is an intense object of discussion and attention in the mass media of Japan (TV, radio, newspapers, popular books, etc.). It also receives ample attention in academic circles and the thriving (socio)-linguistic scene is also proof of this concern for Japanese language(1). Thus it is no surprise to observers of the linguistic scene in Japan that a popular publication such as "nihon-no ronten 2001"(2), a yearly collection of essays by a major Japanese publishing company on general topics of the past year, features even three chapters on language related issues. This compares well in volume and coverage to the same numbers of chapters on economical reforms, international economy and diplomacy, on issues of crime and crime prevention and technical innovations. As for the issues related to "kokugo" for the year 2001, there are articles on the question of the merits and demerits of designating the English language as the official second language in Japan, the question of the benefits and disadvantages for the Japanese society if English language instruction is changed from an emphasis on reading and writing to an active concentration on oral skills in schools, a move that is aimed at promoting the status of the Japanese as global players in this world. This change of emphasis in the goals of English language instruction is regarded by many Japanese as "kokuminkyooiku no jisatsu" (roughly: "a suicide for education of the Japanese)". Reasons given for this opinion are rather vague and confusing but seem to have their roots in the Japanese system of entrance examinations to institutions of higher learning, where the emphasis on translation and grammar skills has prevailed. Clearly, translation and grammar is also much easier to test than comprehension and production skills. Thus, the whole system of entrance examinations would have to be changed in content. The third article deals with the topic of language change. It has been a hot issue for many years and catches the readers' eye already through its headline which reads "wakamonokotoba wa doko e mukau ka" ('where will the young people's language go / lead us to'?). This topic allows the writer to take up most of the topics of language related debate that have been of concern to the Japanese public for the last decades.(3) It ranges from the changes in the honorific language, or better their current neglect of the honorific language as observed especially in the speech of young people, the preference and putative surge of the use of vague expressions in everyday conversations, the massive import of (mostly American- English) foreign words into the Japanese vocabulary language leaving its traditional territory of engineering, trade and industry and penetrating the everyday speech of ordinary citizens and even the official publications of the government to an extent that seems alarming.(4) This linguistic import is then even filtered "quantitatively" and "qualitatively" in that the loans are abbreviated in form and changed in meaning to the extent that a native knowledge of the English language alone will not always suffice for understanding "the loan-word".(5)

The great concern for its language may surprise readers unfamiliar with the value and belief system of the Japanese society. It shows that the Japanese language has been regarded as a "unique object" and has thus figured prominently in the so-called "nihonjinron"-discussions (roughly: "Theory of Japanese Uniqueness") in the 70s and 80s(6) where the Japanese language is put on a par with institutions such as such as the Imperial Court. It is a reverenced symbol that has been important for the establishment and maintenance of a national image and identity: It is thus a symbol of identity and heritage and has all the characteristics of what is generally called the "linguistic culture" of a society.(7) This love for and devotion to the Japanese language is then expressed in such key words as 'kotodama' or 'kotoage', terms loosely translatable as "the spirit and soul of the Japanese language".

This "spirit and soul" attitude towards the national language can well be a flexible one: Thus, while proposals for a script reform were at one time seen as an attempt to tamper with the manifestation of Japan's history, culture, and spirit, even ultranationalists were sympathetic to the abolishment of Chinese characters in favour of the Japanese syllabaries hiragana and katakana after the Sino Japanese war of 1894-5 to show Japan's superiority over China. That the Kana-syllabaries are mostly either abbreviations of hand-written forms of Chinese characters (Hiragana-Syllabary) or part of Chinese characters (Kana-Syllabary) was apparently of little importance at that time.(8)

It goes without saying that a treasured heritage such as the Japanese language must be protected by all means. It seems at the outset that language users living in a (putatively?) homogenous society of vertical organization can easily manipulated in this respect. As it turns out, there are two sides to the coin. The most visible and potent one proclaims that the language has been going down the drain. Such an opinion is then expressed by the Japanese stock phrase 'kotoba-ga midarete iru" roughly translatable as the language is in a state of disorder')(9). They think that if there is non-sanctioned change of the norm, then the spirit of the language is at stake. Many opinion polls conducted on the state of affairs of the Japanese language show that such an opinion if common among the Japanese and that the heritage is indeed in a state of disorder at present due to, among others, "young people's Japanese" and the massive use of English loan words. This influx of loans is indeed about to change the structure of the Japanese vocabulary due to its massive use in everyday conversation and in official government publications. Consequently, for many Japanese, time has come to actively protect the language by shifting the concern of language planning and policy from reform to protection, so that the Japanese language will not give rise to the birth of a new language that could appropriately be called "Japlish". This could then be a code of communication that appears to be Japanese in grammar but non-Japanese in vocabulary stock though recorded by means of traditional writing conventions. As for the other side of the coin refered to above, it could be described as non-committing and violated the spirit of the language and thus soiling the society in their attempt to be unique, or even just different.

Language planning and policy (in Japanese: 'kokugo seisaku' or 'kokugo shisaku') is not a new enterprise in the Japanese context. It started out in the late 19th century when Japan actively tried to strive for western-style modernization in administration and industrialization.(10) In this respect, the selection, codification and propagation of a standard language and a standardized script in tandem with a school system that accepted and implemented the governmental guidelines was very important. At the same time, the existence and use of dialects had to be downplayed and downgraded in a country that was proud of its uniformity. It goes without saying that the existence of dialects could never be called into question although, although its use in public is still frowned upon. Their recent revival of use in the non-print news media does not imply an official change in attitude towards dialects.

What institutions are there in Japan that are concerned with the Japanese language? There exist various institutions in Japan that are concerned with the Japanese language in some way or other and that either advice the Japanese Ministries on language issues or that publish recommendations on "kokugo". There are at least the National Language Deliberative Council, the National Language Section in the Ministry of Education and Science, the Japan Foundation, the Language Section of the Public Broadcasting Corporation NHK(11) and the National Language Research Institute.(12)

There are also the Japanese language textbooks that have to be approved by the Ministry of Education as well as the various private training institutes that train the employees of big business to speak proper Japanese.(13) All these institutions bring their deliberations and suggestions to the public to initiate heated discussions in the mass media as well as in academic journals.(14)

As for official language policy and planning in the post-world war II time, most of its effort and attention went to the script to write Japanese. Thus, the government imposed a Quantitative restriction on the number of Chinese characters to be used in official documents and in education.(15) It implemented codifications on the form and Chinese characters and issued guidelines for clear orthographic rules for the use of the syllabaries "Hiragana" and "Katakana". Hiragana is to be used mainly to represent the inflective morphology of verbs and nouns, whereas Katakana is to be used for loans of western linguistic origin. This type of reform thus is one that has already been characterized as "tinkering at the margins" in the case of France and England by Ager (1996:190-91) as it is relatively easy to restrict number and form of Chinese characters that are used in public documents and schoolbooks. In contrast, it is much more difficult to enforce the use of language, such as the linguistic codification of honorific language in Japanese speech.(16) In any case, the result of this guideline was that western loans are clearly detectable in texts due to their "Katakana-orthography" as the Sino-Japanese loans and most of the native vocabulary is written with Chinese characters. "Katakana-orthography" is thus a prime candidate for catching the reader's attention. Script reform of this kind can be seen as a disciplinary act on the side of the government, as school entrance examination boards can now easily exclude applicants that have not mastered the writing system that takes most children 12 years to master, if you go by the guidelines of the school curriculum. In general, it is easy to recommend "proper" language use to the public and the public institutions, but it is more difficult to enforce guidelines, as the following example will show

The National Language Deliberative Council once recommended the replacement of the honorific "dono" in favor of "sama" as a honorific term in addressing the addressees of official letters. Roughly, these honorifics are similar in function to the English Mr, Mrs, Ms, the old fashioned "esquire", and the like. Thus, it was recommended to add the honorific -sama to the name "Tanaka" to become "Tanaka-sama" and thereby to replace "Tanaka-dono" with "Tanaka-sama". This change recommended "from above" was to express linguistically the change from a feudal to a democratic society. Unfortunately, a survey conducted several years after this recommendation found, that this measure has not been of thorough success as government offices still continued to use "dono" - out of tradition.(17) It is of interest in this context, that the Japanese emperor also changed the way of self-reference after Word War II from the previous "chin" meaning "I, (the emperor)" to the more colloquial "watakushi", a pronoun that is used by ordinary citizens for self-reference as well. It is said that this change also was to show and linguistically mark the transition from a feudal to a democratic society and the transition of the Japanese emperor from a god-like figure to a human being.

An other "change by the users" that has been the topic of heated discussion (see above) is the so-called "ra-nuki"- or "ra-deletion" phenomenon (that is the change of a form like "taberareru" to "tabereru (passive of English "to eat"). It has rapidly gained ground especially among the younger generation. Linguistically speaking it is a form of levelling to make the verbal paradigm more systematic. It goes without saying that this is done without recommendation and approval by the institutions overseeing "proper language conduct".(18) Thus, the official language bodies can claim most success in the codification of the Japanese writing system and the use the so-called colloquial style in non-private writing. This so-called "genbun itchi"-campaign started already in the 19th century and succeeded in the unification of the written and the spoken language. It goes without saying that only a minimal portion of the society was capable of writing in the traditional formal writing style as it was heavily influenced by its Chinese model. Thus, this reform only sanctioned what had been practiced by big portions of the population anyway. What also succeeded was a campaign to promote a sense of "language awareness" and pride in the Japanese language. Its climax was the "nihonjinron"-ideology that I already briefly characterized above. But this again is a change in language attitude. Its underlying assumptions were at least implied by traditional Japanese nationalistic thought. Thus, this case of "language planning" can not be regarded as a clear example of change in language usage that had been implemented as a top-down process.

In the Japanese language context, the use of loan words has a long tradition. First there was the massive influx of Chinese words and phrases into Japan starting around the 6th century. This early import of words developed into the double nature of the Japanese vocabulary stratum, so that for many everyday words, there is a native word as well as a so-called "Sino-Chinese" word. Thus, we have a Yamato word ("native Japanese word") for the English "market", or "fair", which is "ichi" or "ichiba", as well as the Sino-Chinese word in Japanized pronunciation, which is shijo. Very often, the Sino-Chinese word assumes an abstract or specialized meaning. In this case the abstract meaning is seen in expressions like "gaikokushijoo" (foreign markets). Then, starting at the end of the 19th century, the import of loans from western European countries and especially from the English speaking world after World War II, skyrocketed. Initially the massive import of foreign loans was to cover reference to new objects and concepts and was introduced to adapt to internationalization and modernization. This process is still ongoing as the following, rather arbitrary list of mostly new loans can demonstrate:

Loanword English (original)
hakkaa hacker
baggu (program)-bug
barokku baroque
bagii buggy
baio- bio
haado deisuku hard disk
baabon Bourbon(-Whiskey)
haijakku hijack
baito byte
haipaa hyper-
Table (1): Recent foreign loans

This list of English loan words in Japanese is not unusual. Most of these have been introduced into the German language or many other European languages as well or have partially been in use due to the existence of a stock of Latin prefixes and lexemes in the German language. Thus, there is clearly no reason to give American Bourbon Whiskey a "native name". This type of import is probably not to avoid. It is a global phenomenon of great magnitude.

There is yet another type of loans in Japanese and probably in many other languages, as well. These are the loans that duplicate native words by referring to objects and actions that were originally the domain of the traditional native Japanese and Sino-Japanese vocabulary. The following table gives examples of loans that duplicate native Japanese lexemes:

Loan word (in transliteration)
  English (original) (Native) Japanese
pasuketto basket kago
papa papa chichioya, otoosan
baburu bubble awa, abuku
haaru hair ke
panisshumento punishment tsumi
baddoo bad warui, heta
pawa power Chikara
paashimon persimmon kaki
haado hard katai
paasupireeshon perspiration ase
Table (2): Loan words duplicating native vocabulary

We can see that all these words have "good" Yamato-words as counterparts. In spite of the existence of native words, foreign words are preferred to native words. As such foreign words of western (mostly English) origin - are written in the so-called "katakana"-syllabary (but pronounced according to the Japanese sound pattern), they easily catch the reader's eye and attention and thus are prime instruments in the advertising business to carry over nuances that Japanese words apparently are unable to provide.

Haarmann (1989), in a study on the symbolic use of foreign words gave evidence to the effect that there are stereotyped images associated with particular foreign languages, especially when they are used in advertisement. Thus, he claims that the English language is associated in Japan with international appreciation, reliability, high quality, confidence, practical use and life style. The German language on the other hand is connected to good work ethics, technological advancement and good food. On top of this, the knowledge of foreign languages is a value of high esteem in Japan. This means that the use of foreign words shows a person's education as well as his "kokusaika" ("international mind").(19) There might be more reasons for the extensive use of English loan words in the Japanese context, but those mentioned above are obviously constitutive.

There is yet a third group of foreign loans that has to be considered in this discussion.. It is the group of adapted or created loans, generally known as "Japanese English" (Japanese: "waei" "or waseiei", roughly translatable as "English made in Japan". Such expressions are peculiar in that the vocabulary items are of English origin ("the input"), whereas the "output" is the result of a process of "Japanization" that affects word formation, pronunciation and meaning. As for the latter, these are usually not immediately transparent to a native speaker of English. Thus while the one-word expressions "tarento", from the English word "talent" is still recognisably as of English origin, its meaning has changed. In Japanese, you can be a "tarento" just if you appear in a talk show on TV or radio. You do not need to have any skills in acting or other matters, just maybe in talking, but not even this is not necessary, as a university professor who appears on TV as a specialist of some field can be a "tarento-purofuessaa". In other words, a Japanese "tarento" can cover such meanings as singer, comedian, entertainer, celebrity, TV-star and the like. The wa-ei expression "myhome" on the other hand is clearly of Japanese origin. It assumed the meaning of "private home" in Japanese English. Thus, using this expression, one can say the equivalent of "Mr. Tanaka bought 'myhome'". It means that 'he bought himself a house and that the house he gave his money away for was absolutely not my house'. The example of "apaato" not only shows a change in meaning but also the tendency to shorten foreign words to adapt to the Japanese preference of 3 syllable or better 3 mora words. Thus "apaato" is a short form of American "apartment", i.e., 'apaatomento' in the Japanized pronunciation pattern. The problem here is that the word "apaato" does not refer to the place of living referred to as "apartment" in AE and "flat" in British English as the word refers 'the 'whole apartment building' when used in Japanese. In addition to this type of waei-words there are numerous examples of Japanese creations of "English expressions". Thus "romansushiito" where the two English words "romance + seat were combined to form the fixed expression for what it usually called "two person seat" in English. The other one is "steejimama", a combination of English "stage+mama", referring to a mother who tries to make a star out of her child and who acts as the childs manager. Some examples to show especially the practice of truncation in adapting English loans to Japanese word formation patterns are given in Table (3):

Loanword (truncated) English (original)
bataa butterfly (swimming style)
patoka patrol car, police car
pawa sute power steering
pan panties
noo pan "no panties" (i. e. wearing no panties)
pank (tire) puncture
hansuto hunger strike
hai hiking, hike
hamueggu ham and eggs
haafu cooto half-length coat
hotto keeki pancake
Table (3): "Truncated" English loan words

It is evident that even persons well versed in the English language can often not guess the exact meaning of these words due their form, customary change in pronunciation and meaning. As illustrated, it is also possible that the putative English expression is completely "Made in Japan" and thus only indirectly traceable to its English source. What is perplexing in this context is that even the Japanese government as represented by the speech of its representatives in office and in its official documents follows this trend of excessive English loan usage. Thus, it does not surprise us that the intelligibility of Japanese texts (official and commercial) has become a problem for large portions of the society.

One reaction to this trend has been the popularity of books that try to reintroduce and appeal to "beautiful Japanese" again.(20) In addition, a commission consisting of representatives drawn from academic and business circles followed a call by the National Language Research Institute in 2003 to "draw up measures for language use that makes difficult to understand foreign words easy to understand" in Japanese.(21) This commission, chaired by the Director of the National Language Research Institute, wants to take up the problem of words that are written in the Katakana-syllabary as well as those that are written in the Latin script in the Japanese mass media and government publications and to replace them with Japanese words again. The result of their endeavour aims at new expressions that are "heimei" (simple and clear), "tekikaku" (precise and accurate), "utsukushii" (beautiful and elegant) and yutaka (rich in content").(22) The commission wants to accomplish this task to especially mitigate the plight of the elderly in Japan who make up a big proportion of the society at present.

As for the first round of suggestions and recommendations to replace foreign words with those of Japanese (actually of Sino-Japanese stock, which is regarded as being "native"), the commission relied on a survey that showed that not only people over 60 years of age had problems with many foreign words. Indeed, some of the words tested had an intelligibility failure rate of more than 75%. An example of this comprehension level was the loan "anaristo" (from English "analyst"). Only 25% of the population polled and irrespective of its age of under or over 60 was able to understand this word. This is the reason for recommending that the English loan "anaristo" be replaced by the (Sino-)Japanese word "bunsekika", or alternatively by "senmonka" or "bunsekisenmonka". The Commission provides a definition to the "new word" and gives two sample sentences in their internet-publication to show its contextual usage. As a first measure, the commission suggested to replace 62 "expressions" with Japanese words.

It is important to point out, that the commission has no plans to opt for a ban of foreign words in general. This fact can be illustrated with the following example: the Japanese-English creation "aidoringsutopu", meaning "to stop the motor of a car that runs idle" is suggested to be replaced by a new word that is made up of the following 'meaning components': stop+car+time+engine+stop, i.e., teishajienginteishi. In this word complex, the customary English word for motor, i.e. "engine", is written in the Katakana-script. This shows that the English word engine in its Japanized pronunciation and orthography is still an accepted loan word in Japanese.

The commission intends to replace foreign loans of genuine English origin and such of Japanese origin, as well. Thus, in the first round of consultations, the commission decided to work out alternatives for the "wasei-words" 'aidoringusutoppu' ("to stop the motor of a car that runs idle"), 'sukeerumeritto' ("economy of scale"), 'deisaabisu' ("daily nursing service in your home") and 'nonsutoppubasu'("non-stop run") in addition to 57 loans of genuine English origin. Against the background of the foregoing observations on the impact of language planning, it does not surprise us that none of the expressions selected for replacement in the first round talks belong to the stock of "everyday English expressions". All the words that were up for replacement belong to the domain of business and engineering. This seems to suggest that "loans" will not disappear from the living vocabulary of the Japanese in the near future. If Japanese can become heimei (simple), tekikaku (clear, precise and accurate), utsukushii (beautiful) and yutaka (rich in content) when the work of the commission is done remains to be seen.

In this paper I tried to show the plight of language policy and language planning in Japan. I intended to show that the linguistic culture of Japan is manifold and in constant flux. After introducing aspects of discussions on the Japanese language, I reviewed several efforts of language planning on the part of the institutions involved in this task to finally examine the recent effort of changing the non-Japanese stock of vocabulary. Future will tell if yet another initiative to control language behaviour in a democratic society will led to the result envisaged by its proponents.

© Manfred B. Sellner (University of Salzburg, Austria)


(1) The term "nihongo" has been is reserved for "Japanese as a foreign language" although usage seems to shift in favour of the term "nihongo". Thus, a very popular TV-series on Japan's public NHK-channel is called "nihongo naruhodo juku" and not "kokugo naruhodo juku" although the school subject surely is still "kokugo". The latter meaning "state language" in direct translation.

(2) The English title of the cover of the book is "The issues for Japan 2001".

(3) See Suzuki (1990) on the attitude of the Japanese to their language and their search for a Japanese identity and the relationship of the Japanese language to "culture and nationhood" during the 80s

(4) See Hijiya-Kirschnereit ( 2002) on this topic. There is a short summary of her article in Japanese in German and English in Hijiya-Kirschnereit (2003)

(5) See in this respect the remarks of the producer of the "Nihongo naruhodo juku- series in the introduction to the April 2004:4 booklet accompanying the series when he writes "'nihongo buumu'-ga makiokotte imasu" (At present, there is a Japanese language boom (in Japan)). We must conclude that the massive import and use of loan words and the concurrent concern for the Japanese language do not preclude each other.

(6) See f. ex. Dale, Peter N. The myth of Japanese Uniqueness. London: Croom Helm and Nissan Institute for Japanese Studies and Miller Roy Andrew (1982) Japan's modern myth: The Language and Beyond. New York: Weatherhill.

(7) "Linguistic culture" is characterized by Schiffman (1996:5) as "the set of behaviours, assumptions, cultural forms, prejudices, folk belief systems, attitudes, stereotypes, ways of thinking about language, and religio-historical circumstances associated with a particular language". In other words, it is the myths that a speech community holds about language in general and its language in particular concerning the maintenance and transmission of the language in question.

(8) The so-called "Hiragana-Movement", a society to promote the use of the Kana-Syllabaries for writing Japanese. For a recent plea for the adoption of"Hiragana" see Mashiko (2001). For details on the historic discussion on the writing system see the relevant sections in Carroll (2001)

(9) It is necessary to point out that this phrase originated in the late 1870s as a reflection of the excessive introduction of loanwords into Japanese and that it is thus reintroduced to characterize the present discussions.. For details, see Carroll (2001).

(10) For an interesting account of the problems involved in "modernizing the Japanese language" at the turn of the 19th/20th century, see Yanabu (1991).

(11) See in this respect the remarks of the producer of the "Nihongo naruhodo juku- series in the introduction to the April 2004:4 booklet accompanying the series when he writes "'nihongo buumu'-ga makiokotte imasus" (At present, there is a Japanese language boom (in Japan)).

(12) The list of "Japanese language planning agencies" in Domínguez & López (1995) is somehow misleading as they also include two museums of Ainu culture, as well as private organisations such as The Association for the Promotion of Kana-Usage and The Association for the Introduction of Latin Script in their list of language planning agencies.

(13) A case in point is the rise of "conbini keigo". Employees of so called "Convenience Stores" are trained to use rather unusual "honorific" forms when speaking to their customers. For a brief account of this type of honorific language, see the recent issue of NHK-Kyooikuterebi (Ed.). 2004: 5: Nihongo naruhodo juku ("Lessons for bringing Japanese to your consciousness")

The case of "conbini keigo" clearly not compatible with Irvine's (1998:62) claim to the effect that "Honorifics have no necessary connections with royal courts or with class stratification. Even where courts exist, domestic power relations may be the honorifics' primary arena". As for the Japanese case, it is the "public arena" that is the prime field of use of honorifics.

(14) In the light of the above, one is reminded of Schiffman's (1996:2) observation when he makes the following remark on the discrepancy between policy and practice: "For one thing, there is usually a difference between the policy as stated (the official, de iure or overt policy) and the policy as it usually works at the practical level (the covert, de facto or grass-roots policy).

(15) At present the numbers are as follows: There are 1006 "Essential Characters" and in addition 939 General-Use Characters.

(16) For an account of the attempt to "teach" schoolchildren honorific language, see Coulmas (1986). As there is still an ongoing debate on this issue, the "official guidelines" discussed by Coulmas can not have been very successful.

(17) See Carrol (2001) for details.

(18) Unfortunately, I do not have all the recommendations of the National Language Deliberative Council so that I have to rely on Jinnouchi's (1998:24) account of its opinion on this issue. He briefly states that the Council suggests not to use "ra-nuki" on official occasions at present. This opinion clearly ignores the wide spread use of this language form especially in the metropolitan areas.

(19) The Japanese society apparently attempts to combine the concepts of "purity" and "internationalization". As for its strive for purity, Ferguson's (1977:15) comments seem to apply when he expresses this opinion on the issue of loan words when discussing the situation in Turkey, Indonesia, Israel, Sweden and China: "Many evaluations of language are in the nature of valuing purity, much in the sense that ritual purity is valued in non-language aspects of human life. The language itself is felt to be somehow defiled if, for example, a foreign loan word is used instead of an expression from the language's own stock of words and means of word formation, and users of the language often express this kind of evaluation in such terms as 'preserve the purity of the language".

(20) The popularity of the aforementioned NHK-TV Program give ample evidence fort his change in attitude.

(21) Upon reading this kind of argumentation one is immediately reminded of Jernudd and Das Gupta's (1971:196) claim that "The logic of language planning is dictated by the recognition of language as a societal resource. The importance of this resource is due to the communicational and identificational values attached by the community to one or more languages."

(22) See and gairaigo/syuisyo.html


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NHK-Kyooikuterebi (Ed.) (2004): Nihongo naruhodo juku ("Lessons for bringing Japanese to your consciousness"). 5: Yookoso! Kotoba-no meikyuu-e. ("Welcome to the maze of language") Section 1: konbini-keigo-no nazo ("The puzzle of the honorific language of the 'Convenience Store'"). Tokyo: Nihonhoosoo shuppan.

NHK-Kyooikuterebi (Ed.) (2004): Nihongo naruhodo juku ("Vernünftige Nachhilfe für die japanische Sprache"). 4:. ("Let's get back the power of words")Tokyo: Nihonhoosoo shuppan.

Schiffman, Harold F. (1996): Linguistic Culture and Language Policy. London: Routledge.

Suzuki, Takao (1990): Eine verschlossene Sprache: Die Welt des Japanischen (eingeleitet und aus dem Japanischen übersetzt von Irmela Hijina-Kirschnereit. München: Iudicium Verlag.

Yanabu, Akira (1991): Modernisierung der Sprache: Eine kulturhistorische Studie über westliche Begriffe im japanischen Wortschatz (übersetzt und kommentiert von Florian Coulmas). München: Iudicium Verlag.

6.1. Standardvariationen und Sprachauffassungen in verschiedenen Sprachkulturen | Standard Variations and Conceptions of Language in Various Language Cultures

Sektionsgruppen | Section Groups | Groupes de sections

TRANS       Inhalt | Table of Contents | Contenu  15 Nr.

For quotation purposes:
Manfred B. Sellner (University of Salzburg, Austria): Remarks on Language Attitudes and Language Policy-Planning in the Japanese Context. In: TRANS. Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. No. 15/2003. WWW:

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