Standardization and Japanese People's Perception Toward Languages

五十嵐 優子
A state is a central entity to implement language planning and policy (LPP), which has been particularly linked to the modern nation building in Europe since the 19 th century. Today, not only European countries but also many other states exercise LPP: for example, Canada has a bilingual policy which declares that English and French are the official languages of Canada and encourages its citizens to be competent in both languages; and Singapore designates four languages, English, Malay, Tamil,
more » ... nd Mandarin as official languages, and promotes English for its national development. Language policy is different from language planning. Language policy refers to "the goals of language planning" (Cooper, 1989, p.29). More specifically, language policies are "political and social goals underlying the actual language planning process" (Mesthrie, et al., 2000, p. 384). In some cases, a state implements LPP to accomplish "political goals rather than for linguistic or communicative goals," since it is a political unit organized for "maintaining order in the society and assuring the legitimacy of its institutions, methods, and personnel in the minds of the society. ... [It] tries to protect its independence" (Weinstein, 2016, p. 349). In other cases, many states have been implementing LPP purely for linguistic purposes to solve language problems and to control language use and conditions within their territory. As a modern state, Japan has adopted LPP to change language conditions and promote a particular language variety since the Meiji Period . During the Meiji Period, one of the important LPP exercised by the Japanese government was standardization of the Japanese language to modernize the state itself (Twine, 1991) . As a result, Standard Japanese was created. Today, this standard variety serves as an important tool for the Japanese government in various ways. This paper assumes that one of the influences that Standard Japanese has had upon society can be seen in people's perception of languages/ varieties. In order to demonstrate such influences on languages/varieties, this paper will examine first how Standard Japanese has been used in Japan and how people perceive it as well as other Japanese varieties. Then, how people's perception toward Standard Japanese influences another language, English, will be analyzed. Why English? In Japan, many people recognize English as prerequisite to live in the current globalized era, so that English is ( 267 ) 61
doi:10.34382/00002436 fatcat:cz2sdhn265dq3ev6i52xey3igm