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

Further evidence of an emerging English in Japan deserves a look at the English that is used in loan words in Japanese. This phenomenon is something striking to most foreigners in Japan and worthy of some evaluation.

It is an everyday occurrence when sitting next to some Japanese people who are having a conversation to hear more than a handful of English words throughout their conversation every minute. The implication could be that this use of loan words could be laying the groundwork for a Japanese English.

Research by Kubota on Japanese language shows that loan words are increasing and 81% of Japanese people surveyed had encountered loan words they did not understand (Kubota, 1998). Kubota also writes about the official use of English words for welfare policies. These words would be intended for use in international situations when English was necessary and here we can see the Japanese's own English starting to develop.

In the future, as more and more young people continue to study overseas and as the Ministry of Education continues to emphasis communicative English starting even in elementary schools, it is my opinion we will see a more confident and clearer version of Japan's world English emerge.

Kachru writes about the fact that rise of world Englishes may be unstoppable (Kachru, B. and C. Nelson, 1996,). In my opinion, Great Britain and the USA were responsible for the initial spread of English for various reasons including colonization and international trade and now and in the future will be forced to deal with the changes that are going to occur to the language.

This is not new as the English that developed in the USA is different than the English that the original settlers brought to the USA. Why the core countries should be surprised that English will further change and develop in other cultures remains a narrow view.


In conclusion, the incredible demand for English in Japan, not only in education but in business, TV and advertising is likely laying a ground work for an emerging Japanese English.

While the English that develops will be distinct to native Japanese speakers, Japanese people will be more likely to communicate in English without sacrificing their cultural identity. In my opinion, the implications for language teachers in Japan are to allow students to have a native voice and focus on fluency in the classroom.


Auerbach, E. (1993). Reexamining English only in the esl classroom. TESOL Quarterly, 27(1), 9-32.

Gupta, A. F. (1999). Standard englishes, contact varieties and Singapore englishes.Tubingen: Stauffengurg Verlag.

Kachru, B. (Ed.). (1985). Standards, codification and sociolinguistic realm: The english language in the outer circle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kachru, B. and Nelson C (1996). Sociolinguistics and language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kubota, R. (1998). Idealogies of English in Japan. World Englishes, 17(3), 295-306.

McArthur, T. (1992). The Oxford Companion to the English Language.

Rohlen, Thomas & LeTendre, Gerald. (1995) Teaching and Learning in Japan

Yano, Y. (2001). World englishes in 2000 and beyond. World Englishes, 20(2), 119-131.

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