Scripting Japan: Orthography, Variation, and the Creation of Meaning in Written Japanese, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Scripting Japan

Orthography, Variation, and the Creation of Meaning in Written Japanese, 1st Edition

By Wesley C. Robertson


264 pages | 11 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367353728
pub: 2020-07-14
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Imagine this book was written in Comic Sans. Would this choice impact your image of me as an author, despite causing no literal change to the content within? Generally, discussions of how language variants influence interpretation of language acts/users have focused on variation in speech. But it is important to remember that specific ways of representing a language are also often perceived as linked to specific social actors. Nowhere is this fact more relevant than in written Japanese, where a complex history has created a situation where authors can represent any sentence element in three distinct scripts.

This monograph provides the first investigation into the ways Japanese authors and their readers engage with this potential for script variation as a social language practice, looking at how purely script-based language choices reflect social ideologies, become linked to language users, and influence the total meaning created by language acts.

Throughout the text, analysis of data from multiple studies examines how Japanese language users' experiences with the script variation all around them influence how they engage with, produce, and understand both orthographic variation and major social divides, ultimately evidencing that even the avoidance of variation can become a socially significant act in Japan.

Table of Contents

1. Scripting Japan 2. Graphic Play as a Social Act: Indexicality and Orthographic Variation 3. Scripted Speech and Scripted Speakers: Katakana and Non-Native Japanese 4. Scripted Voices: Contrasted Identities and Contrasting Standards 5. Script Choice and Pronoun Choice: Indexical Fields in Interaction 6. Using Katakana like an Oyaji: Script Variation and Authorial Identity 7. The Social Lives of Japanese Scripts

About the Author

Wesley C. Robertson is a Lecturer in International Studies at Macquarie University, Australia. His research focuses on variation and language play inherent to writing, with a focus on Japanese. He completed his PhD in Applied Japanese Linguistics at Monash University in 2016.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Sociolinguistics

This series is our home for innovative research in the field of sociolinguistics. It includes monographs and targeted edited collections that provide new insights into this important and evolving subject area.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Sociolinguistics