Two: A Highly Recommended Book about English in Japanese

4 Feb

Built-in Lexicon of English Loanwords

This is a highly recommended book about the loanwords that exist in the Japanese language. Daulton argues convincingly that English loanwords in Japanese should be viewed as a built-in lexicon for Japanese learners of English and as such should be considered for inclusion in pedagogical materials (he gives an overview of such materials at the end of the book). He draws together a range of empirical studies conducted by himself and others to show that there is a high level of correlation between the loanwords found in Japanese (e.g. in newspapers and loanword dictionaries) and the high-frequency words in the English language. Indeed, he finds that about half of the high-frequency words (word families) of English correspond to words found in the bank of loanwords from English in the Japanese language.

I particularly enjoy his discussion, and ultimate rejection, of arguments made against conceptualising loanwords as a useful linguistic resource. He highlights several studies (and I will discuss these in later posts) which take an overtly negative view of loanwords in Japanese and points out problems in their ideological viewpoint and methodological approach.

This book is an essential read and acts as a great reference source of not only empirical data relating to the use of English loanwords in English classes in Japan, but also of a wide variety of other projects, papers and commentaries which discuss this fascinating sociolinguistic area.

(Click on the above image to go to the Amazon.jp webpage to find out more about the book)

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