Journal of the Institute for Second Language Development

Journal of the Institute for Second Language Development




March 2006
Gender and Academic Performance in English Communication Courses
July 2007
A Case Study Of A Japanese Learner In The UK
September 2007
Course Blogs for Overseas Study Preparation: A Survey of Student Opinions
September 2007
An Emerging Japanese English
February 2009
Observations on One Japanese University's General English Program
December 2013
Incentivization and In-class Participation in the Japanese University English Language Classroom


An Emerging Japanese English

September, 2007


Troy Miller (MA ELT)

Nagoya University of Foreign Studies,
School of Contemporary International Studies

Nagoya, Japan

Japan's limited range in using English, mostly limited to business, has an adverse effect on the degree of depth. However an emerging Japanese English is possible as changes in culture and education happen.

Yano writes about the implications in the future and suggests the inner circle line someday will disappear as ESL speakers will stop looking to the inner circle countries as a source of correct English (Yano, 2001).

Another area Kachru examines is the issue of defining a native speaker. Kachru describes looking at one of the inner circle's countries English, particularly British English as a standard of good use, "attitudinal schizophrenia" (Kachru, B. and C. Nelson, p. 82).

As is often the case in Japan, students often complain to the school that they want to learn English from a "native" speaker. The reality of who is native speaker and how those students will be using English in the future should be of concern especially with the future of business for Japan in South East Asia.

Kachru's framework for world Englishes also talks about the increasing contributions of bilingual speakers to English literature. These writers are using English to talk about their own cultures and using their own cultural contexts in their writings. This is further evidence of the emergence of world Englishes.

Another part of Kachru's world Englishes paradigm is the power structure that goes with becoming an English speaker and the choices a speaker makes reflects on this culture. For example a Japanese businessman when speaking in English associates himself with the English speaking culture.

While this may be to his benefit in an international setting, his compatriot who cannot speak English may appear to be less important in the same situation. The non-English speaking businessman, who may be of a higher rank in the Japanese business world, may be looked upon unfavorably because his English skills are lacking.

Emerging Japanese English?

Yano claims that English will remain a foreign language in Japan and will only be used for communications on an international level (Yano Y. p.127). In my opinion this is a narrow view as I teach many students who have studied overseas and can use English naturally in conversations.

While Yano may argue that these conversations are not common except with foreigners, the reality is that more and more foreigners are arriving in Japan each year as the Japanese work force continues to shrink and its working population rapidly ages and Japan may well be a much more international country in the future if immigration continues to increase.

Further proof of emerging Englishes can be found in Singapore. This English has gained acceptance and while in the past people may have tried to correct it, it appears to have gained recognition as legitimate English (Gupta, 1999).

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