Japan is widely regarded as a model case of successful language modernization, and it is often erroneously believed to be linguistically homogenous. There is a connection between these two views. As the first ever non-Western language to be modernized, Japanese language modernizers needed to convince the West that Japanese was just as good a language as the national languages of the West. The result was a fervent desire for linguistic uniformity. Today the legacy of modernist language ideology poses many problems to an internationalizing Japan. All indigenous minority languages are heading towards extinction, and this purposefully created homogeneity also affects the integration of immigrants and their languages. This book examines these issues from the perspective of language ideology, and in doing so the mechanisms by which language ideology undermines linguistic diversity are revealed.
Patrick Heinrich is an associate professor at Dokkyo University, Japan. His research interests focus on language ideology, language endangerment, history of linguistics, and social aspects of foreign language learning. Recent publications include Higashi ajia ni okeru gengo fukko [Language Revitalization in East Asia] (co-edited with Shin Matsuo, Sangensha 2010), Language Life in Japan (co-edited with Christian Galan, Routledge, 2011), and Mezase! Ryukyu shogo no iji [In Pursuit of Ryukyuan Language Maintenance] (co-edited with Michinori Shimoji, CoCo Shuppan 2011). He is currently co-editing the Handbook of Ryukyuan Languages.
1. Language Ideology as a Field of Inquiry 2. The Call of Mori Arinori to Replace Japanese 3. The Creation of a Modern Voice 4. The Unification of Japanese 5. The Linguistic Assimilation of Ryukyuans and Ainu 6. The Most Beautiful Language in the World 7. Language Ideology as Self-Fulfilling Prophecy 8. Current Challenges to Modernist Language Ideology 9. Language Ideology in Twenty-First Century Japan