Publishing about Asia in Academic Journals and Book Series (Roundtable)


) Dai Ning, Tokyo Metropolitan University



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1) Dai Ning, Tokyo Metropolitan University
Language Shift and Private Language Planning in Intermarried Families in Japan

In Japan the number of people who marry interracially or inter-ethnically is increasing, but changes to bilingual education must occur for Japan to become a multicultural society. Intermarriage is not a reliable indicator of the maturity of multiculturalism. Foreign residents who have intermarriage in Japan do not have the rights of Japanese, such as those of voting, social welfare, education, and so on. This fact alone makes Japan far from multicultural. One of the aspects missing in the critiques of multiculturalism in Japan has to do with bilingual education in the family by domestic activities or life. Children of intermarried couples have at least two cultural heritages so it is important to teach children two languages are spoken by both of their parents. However, in countries such as Japan, there may be a dominant language which is used by government, schools, and the community. With this in mind, parents who speak an additional language, especially intermarried couples may face a dilemma: How to try to raise their children bilingual? Harrison and Piete (1980) point out that in bilingual families language choice is determined by the mothers. The mother’s choice is in turn determined by socioeconomic considerations, etc. This paper is an elaboration of language choice and ultimately language shift and maintenance in a Japanese-Chinese family. The methodology employed is one of observation and in-depth interviews.





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