The Making of Monolingual Japan
Language Ideology and Japanese Modernity
Author: Patrick Heinrich
- Paperback - 216 pages
- 10 Feb 2012
- Multilingual Matters
- 210 x 148 (A5)
Japan is regarded as a model case of successful language modernization. It is also often erroneously believed to be linguistically homogenous. This book explores the debates relating to language modernization from a language ideology perspective, and in doing so reveals the mechanisms by which language ideology undermines linguistic diversity.
The study of ideologies of language diversity is key to any understanding of modern language ecologies. Patrick Heinrich's monograph investigates the modernization of Japanese, tracks the rise of Japanese linguism and reveals the myth of Japan as a monolingual nation. He takes an active stance towards the subjugation of the Ryukyuan languages as mere dialects of Japanese as well as the repression of the language of the autochthonous Ainu. This publication presents a thorough analysis of the current language situation of Japan and provides an important reading on the impact of language ideologies on language ecologies.
Matthias Brenzinger, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Dr Heinrich's book gives the Anglophone world information that was not easily available before. Now there are no excuses for sweeping claims about Japan and its language practices. With this book we have the detail to permit more nuanced assessment.
Sue Wright, Emeritus Professor, Centre for European and International Studies Research, UK
This book stands as a tribute to Heinrich’s lengthy research on this topic drawing on a large number and broad range of native sources. Heinrich’s first-hand observations on the current state of language policy in Japan, its effects on language revitalization movements and suggestions in regards to future discussion of and research related to language policy are invaluable resources for researchers who lack the time or resources to pursue this type of in-depth study on their own. He has obviously considered multiple viewpoints and come to logical and well-constructed conclusions in developing his own approach to this complex issue. Heinrich’s work smoothly carries the reader along a winding chronological storyline. Topics likely unfamiliar to non-linguists and those less well-versed in ideological study are skillfully presented with little ambiguity.
Ken Knight, University of Georgia, USA on LINGUIST List 24.994, 2013
In conclusion, this book is more than a welcome addition to recent monographs in English on language policy and language ideologies in Japan. Overall, Heinrich’s study convincingly narrates the formation of modern Japanese language ideology, drawing on a wide range of literature in Japanese, English and German. His sources include those that pay primary attention to historical developments within Japan and others anchored in language policy and ideology more broadly that serve to raise general theoretical concerns.
Noriko Watanabe, Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan in Language Policy (2014) 13:75–77
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.
Postgraduate Research / Professional