An Emerging Japanese English
Troy Miller (MA ELT)
Nagoya University of Foreign Studies,
School of Contemporary International Studies
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
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.
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