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UNIT 1 Comparison across languages & descriptivism

Week 1 Japanese in a global context

Week 1a Japanese and the languages of Japan (M 9/13)

1.0 Introduction/syllabus

– Syllabus/schedule

1.1 Japanese and the languages of Japan

Language and diversity (Linguistics Society of America)

Week 1b Language in flux (W 9/15)

1.2 Language in flux: How history relates to the contemporary Japanese

What is correct language? (Linguistics Society of America)

1.3 Historical background

– Shibatani (2018) Sections 1 &2

Week 2 Is the Japanese language peculiar?

Wk2a Changing sounds and rhythms (M 9/20)

2.1 Introduction to phonology (How pronunciations vary)

2.2 Japanese sound system (How pronunciations change in Japanese)(Shibatani, 2018, section 4) /A typological view (Steinbergs & O’Grady, 2016, Ch8, on phonology)

Wk2b Changing word and sentences structures (M 9/22)

2.3 Introduction to morpho-syntax (How grammar structures vary)

2.4 Japanese grammatical system (Shibatani, 2018, section 5)(How grammar structures change in Japanese)/ A typological view (Steinbergs & O’Grady, 2016, Ch8, on morphology and syntax)

Week 3 Japanese as Icons and Symbols

Wk3a Lexicon and Symbolism (M 9/27)

3.1 Japanese Lexicon

3.2 Words as feelings (online article, optional & as a sample essay)

Wk3b Discussion(W 9/29): Descriptivism, cross-linguistic variation and linguistic equality

3.3 Debunking Language Myths and Linguistic Equality

– Myth 7 “Some languages are harder than others.”

– Myth 10 “Some languages have no grammar.”

– Myth 11 “Italian is beautiful, German is ugly.”

Unit 2 Social meanings and indexicality

Week 4 Meanings, nuances and settings

Wk 4a Nuances and Settings (M 10/4)

4.1 Social meanings and nuances: Indexicality

4.2 Linguistic variation and social variation

Wk 4b Discussion: Language of Japanese pop culture (W 10/6)

4.3 Genres and settings: Japanese ads and signs (loanwords, etc.)

Week 5 Languages and identity

Wk5a Region, gender, age (M 10/11)

5.1 Dialects

5.2 Styles and Levels of Speech

Wk5b Power, proximity and formality (W 10/13)

5.3 Identity, Japanese media and J-pop

Moody, A. J. (2006). English in Japanese popular culture and J-Pop musicWorld Englishes25(2), 209–222.

Week 6

Wk 6a Midterm Recess (M 10/18)

(No class)

Wk 6b Discussion: How gender, age, dialect, politeness, etc. intersect in language (W 10/20)

6.1 Language and Gender

6.2 Intersecting factors and indexicality: Gender and age

Okamoto, S. (1995). “Tasteless” Japanese: Less feminine speech among young Japanese women. In K. Hall & M. Bucholz (Eds.), Gender articulated: Language and the socially constructed self, pp. 297-325. London: Routledge.

UNIT 3 How How meanings shift

Week 7 Fluidity of word meanings

Wk 7a How we categorize the world (M 10/25)

7.1 Word meaning and categorization

Read: Bonvillain (2014), Ch3

Wk7b Figurative meanings (W 10/27)

7.2 Figurative meanings: Metaphor and metonymy

Read: Bonvillain (2014), Ch3, pp.61-68

7.3 Semantic differences across languages : “power”

Wetzel, P. (1988). Are “powerless” communication strategies the Japanese norm?: Parallel between female communication in the West and JapaneseLanguage in Society 17, 555-564.

Week 8 Implications and interpretations

Wk 8a Literal and intended meanings (M 11/1)

8.1 Grice’s Maxims (and revisiting non-literal/figurative meanings)

Bonvillain (2015), Ch5, pp. 107-108

Wk8b Discussion: Cultural meanings (W 11/3)

8.2 Polysemy and culture: Silence

Lebra, T. S. (1987). The cultural significance of silence in Japanese communicationMultilingua 6(4), 343-357.

8.3 Acquiring culture-appropriate usage: Affect

Clancy, p. (1999). The socialization of affect in Japanese mother-child conversationJournal of Pragmatics 31, 1397-1421.

Week 9 Shifting messages

Wk9a Sentence meanings and intended meaning (M 11/8)

8.1 Directives

Bonvillain (2014), Ch5, pp. 109-115

8.2 Theories of politeness

Bonvillain (2014), Ch5, pp. 115-125

Wk9b Discussion: Indexicality and Ideology (W 11/10)

8.3 Beyond power and solidarity

Okamoto, S. (2011). The use and interpretation of addressee honorifics and plain forms in Japanese: Diversity, multiplicity, and ambiguityJournal of Pragmatics43(15), 3673–3688.

Let’s dig into data: Using primary sources and deciding on variables to look at

UNIT4 Language change, societal change and Ideology

Week 10 Making sense of language change

Wk10a (M 11/15)

10.1 Japanese from past to present to future:

How do languages change? (Trask, 2010, ch1)

10.2 Mechanisms and motivations of change:

Why are languages always changing? (Trask, 2010, ch2)

Wk10b (W 11/17) Discussion

Kavanagh, B. (2016). Emoticons as a medium for channeling politeness within American and Japanese online blogging communitiesLanguage & Communication, 48, 53-65.

Discussing research results: Incorporating (macro)sociolinguistics using secondary sources

Week 11 Accessible and inclusive language

Wk11a (M 11/22) Discussion

11.1 Making language accessible through modification

Iori, I. (2016). The Enterprise of Yasashii Nihongo: For a Sustainable Multicultural Society in Japan. Jinbun Shizen Kenkyu 10, 4-19.

11.2 Making language accessible through multilingualism

Backhaus, P. (2010). Multilingualism in Japanese Public Space – Reading the SignsJapanese Studies,30(3).

Wk11b Thanksgiving break (W 11/24)

No class

Week 12 Emerging ideas and movements

Wk12a Bi/multi-/pluri-/metrolingualism (M 11/29)

12.1 Revisiting descriptivism and prescriptivism

12.2 Critical language awareness (CLA)

Wk12b Educational linguistics (W 12/1)

Kubota, R. (2008). Critical approaches to teaching Japanese language and culture. Japanese Applied linguistics: Discourse and Social Perspectives. London: Bloomsbury. 

Otsuji, E., & Pennycook, A. (2010).  Metrolingualism: Fixity, Fluidity and Language in FluxInternational Journal of Multilingualism, 7(3), 240-254. 

Week 13 Wrapping up and Reflection

Wk 13a Presentations (M 12/6)


Wk 13b Presentations (W 12/8)

Presentation & Discussion