Living Between Two Worlds

**日本語訳は下の方ご覧ください**

“I wrote a lot about the interaction of language, humans, and society in what became my first book. I think these ideas are what constitutes a big part of my experience here in Japan. When you learn a second language it is like you have a second soul. It is like you build a second part of you, which is what I think did since I came to Japan.

“I spent a good two years on the badminton club, and I basically had to be the only foreigner amongst Japanese people. Naturally at the start I think most of us want to be a part of the culture we are living in, and that is what I tried really hard to do.

Me being a lady added an additional level to the complexity to the social situation I was in. I didn’t just have to be a Japanese person I had to be a Japanese lady.

“What that meant was I had to learn to speak in a similar tone to the others, talk about the things they talk about, act like they do. I was spending over twenty hours a week with my team while at the same time I am part of an all English taught undergraduate program. For one part of my life I was in English mode and for the other I was in Japanese mode. It was like a split personality living between the two worlds.

“I am also interested in the attitude of people towards language and what people think the common language should be. In English we accept a plurality of ways to speak the language, but in Japan people are pretty mono-centric about languages, most people believe there is one standard that everyone has to follow. Everything else beyond that is not Japanese. It is interesting that the idea of language standardization is in part a constructed belief that was started in the early 1800s. Now because of media and print, people have started to see the language as a symbol of the national identity.”

(Her first book published in Japanese can be purchased online at https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/4005008526)

Editors Note: This is the first post featuring both English and Japanese. In the future we will continue to publish in both languages when the time and resources permits.”

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日本語訳:

「今年の四月に出版された自分の初著書にて、ことば、人間と社会との関係について、色々と語りました。来日してから4年間を経て、言葉と人間、また、言葉と社会などの密な関係をいろんな場面で体験し、それが自分の留学生活を形作る大きなきっかけとなりました。第二言語(いわゆる「外国語」)を学ぶにつれ、新たな自分が生み出されると信じています。日本に来てから、さらにそう確信できました。

「大学の体育会(自分の大学では「運動会」と呼ばれますが)バドミントン部に2年間ほど所属しておりました。周りの部員はほとんど日本人でした。そういった環境で、正直に言うと初めは必死に「日本人っぽく」なろうとしていました。特に、女性である以上、周りに受け入れてもらうために、周りの人々が持つ女らしさのイメージに従うのに精一杯でした。話し方も、話題も、自分の振る舞いまで適応しようとしていました。部活の仲間とは平均週20時間を一緒に過ごし、残りの時間は留学生のコミュニティにおり、日本語モードと英語モードとの切り替えを常に意識して生活していました。

「人が言語に対してどういう風に意識するのか、また、グローバル化が進む中、共通言語(いわゆる「リンガフランカ」)を何語にすべきなのか、といった社会言語学の様々な方面に携わる課題について興味を持っています。例えば、一つの言語において多様性を認めるかどうかというと、英語はそうであり、日本語はそうではないと思います。日本では、誰にでもある標準に従うことを求める傾向があると思います。標準語であれ、方言であれ、そういったスタンダード以外のものは、ピュアな日本語だと認められないみたいです。19世紀に明治時代から国語の標準化を始め、言語の「標準」という社会的構成概念が生まれ、言語そのものが国あるいは国民性の象徴だと考えられていることが興味深いと思います。」

Published by

Timfranklinphotography

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington Tim is currently living and working in metropolitan Tokyo, Japan. Heavily influenced from scenic vistas of the Pacific Northwest, Tim’s photographic style demonstrates the dichotomy between urban landscapes seamlessly fused with nature and seeks to show the beauty found in everyday life.

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