本文へジャンプ

Exploring the Relationship between the Language and Society

HONDA Laboratory
Professor:HONDA Hiroyuki

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[Research areas]
Sociolinguistics, Japanese Applied Linguistics, Language Policy
[Keywords]
Japanese language education, language policy, linguistic landscape, "easy Japanese"

Skills and background we are looking for in prospective students

Students must have the ability to use the Japanese language to observe, investigate and analyze Japanese society. Sociolinguistics requires fieldwork. It is also important to have a "friendly nature" and "self-disclosure skills" that allow you to get along with everyone.

What you can expect to learn in this laboratory

There are already many people from overseas living in Japanese society, and more and more of them will come in the future. And more and more immigrants are expected to come to Japan in the future. We need to reduce the conflicts between Japanese natives and foreigners who are migrants. The key to this is the ability to communicate in Japanese.
In this laboratory, we will think about "how to use Japanese" and "how to learn Japanese". We aim to become experts in the use of language by considering the relationship between "people and language" and "society and language".

【Job category of graduates】 Departments of local governments and companies that have contact with foreigners, Japanese language education institutions, signage design, etc.

Research outline

Since the establishment of a large corpus of Japanese by the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics and others, there has been a rapid innovation in research methods in Japanese-related fields. The study of Japanese as a language is now almost complete, and new research themes remain in only a few niche fields.
At the same time, Japanese society is undergoing a major transformation due to the decline in the Japanese population and the increase in the number of foreign residents. The biggest challenge is how to form a society in which people with different languages and cultures can live in harmony. Japanese language pedagogy, which is trying to become more autonomous from conventional Japanese language studies, is facing this situation.
The Honda Laboratory conducts research in the field of Japanese language education for the new Japanese society using sociolinguistic methodologies.

(1) Research on Methodology of Japanese Language Education

When a community welcomes immigrants from different backgrounds and for whom Japanese is not their first language, spreading effective and efficient Japanese language education is the key to rebuilding the community.
If you look at Japanese as a language, it's not very difficult to learn. However, it has a writing style more complex than any other in human history. This is the key to learning Japanese.
From this point of view, we have been studying Japanese language education, especially the learning and teaching methods of reading and writing.

(2) Research on "Easy Japanese"

It is important that migrants learn the Japanese language and at the same time, have the Japanese use "easy-to-understand Japanese". We cannot continue to use the Japanese language in a way that only Japanese people can understand, as we have been doing up until now. For this reason, research to re-evaluate the Japanese language through the eyes of a foreigner is becoming more and more necessary.

(3) Research on the uniqueness of written communication in Japan

In the past, Japanese has been considered a language with a very "high context" compared to German and English. However, comparative studies of public signs at airports, train stations and on trains have revealed that Japanese public signs have " low contextual cultural" aspect compared to German and Australian signs.
We will survey and comparisons of public signs in other parts of the world will reveal the peculiarities of this "written Japanese" culture.

Key publications

All research results have been published in Japanese. Please see the introduction of our laboratory in Japanese.

Teaching policy

We will discuss research themes according to the wishes and interests of each student.
As mentioned in the section on "Research Topics," research on "Japanese as a language" is almost complete. Therefore, we do not encourage traditional Japanese language research based on general linguistics.
We hope to conduct research on the Japanese language and Japanese society from a sociolinguistic standpoint that considers Japanese society in the near future.

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