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Title: The outside within : national language and identity in Japanese contemporary discourse on gairaigo
Author: Hosokawa, Naoko
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 6621
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis is concerned with the relation between the notion of national language and identity, in particular the manner in which a shared sense of national belonging is expressed and reproduced through the display of public attitudes towards foreign loanwords in society. Employing the case study of contemporary Japan, this research seeks to uncover the process by which a national language is conceived of as a symbol of national identity that requires the exclusion of certain loanwords from the perceptual framework of this national language. To this end, contemporary Japanese discourse on language has been scrutinised, drawing on nationwide newspaper entries published between 1991 and 2010 on the subject of foreign loanwords known as 'gairaigo' in Japanese. Through this analysis, the thesis argues that the fierce debate on the use of loanwords can be understood as a particular manifestation of the ongoing (re-)negotiation of Japanese national identity. On the whole, criticism and praise of the use of loanwords are found to be grounded upon a desire to establish specific understandings of Japaneseness in reference to the otherness symbolised by loanwords. Both parties in the debate are, therefore, highly reliant upon notions of national consciousness, challenging the common view that debates over the use of foreignisms are merely that of an opposition between nationalists who argue for the purity of language and internationalists who argue against such normative boundaries in language. In this context, it is argued that loanwords represent a foreignness, or otherness, felt within a society that constructs an 'internal other', or 'outside within', to a Japanese 'self', the identity of which is neither autonomous nor clearly delineated.
Supervisor: Frellesvig, Bjarke Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Linguistics ; Japanese ; Sociolinguistics ; Discourse ; Identity