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Title: Diffusion of western loanwords in contemporary Japanese : a sociolinguistic approach to lexical variation
Author: Kuya, Aimi
ISNI:       0000 0004 6421 7815
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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The present research attempts to develop a general model of the diffusion of Western loanwords in contemporary Japanese within the variationist framework. It describes and predicts, based on empirical evidence from apparent- and real-time data, the elaborate process of changes in favor of loanwords as opposed to their existing native equivalents. First, people's self-reporting shows a consistent tendency for a younger generation to show a stronger preference for loanwords than an elder one. This indicates changes in favor of loanwords are in progress in apparent time (Chapter 4). Second, the above-mentioned age gradient is attested to by corpus-based data. It also reveals that the occurrence of loanwords is accounted for multi-dimensionally by a wider range of language-external factors such as generation, education, register and style (Chapter 5). Third, an in-depth study of the individual loanword keesu (< case) reveals that not only external factors but also internal ones, e.g., usage and collocation of the word, have impacts on its occurrence (Chapter 6). Fourth, an investigation of the loanword sapooto (< support) shows that a stylistic variable comes into play in its diffusion in interaction with an educational variable. The loanword is disfavored when the speech setting shifts to formal in particular by the most educated speakers (Chapter 7). Fifth, a real-time approach to loanword adoption verified that individuals can change their language attitude or behavior throughout their lifetime. It highlights importance of longitudinal observation of the phenomenon in making a more accurate prediction of change (Chapter 8). The present research confirms that the occurrence of loan variants is bound by various social and linguistic contexts. The above empirical findings contribute to the field of variationist study by opening up the possibility of analyzing linguistic variation in Japanese at the lexical level.
Supervisor: Frellesvig, Bjarke M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Japanese language--Foreign words and phrases ; Sociolinguistics