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Writing and Literacy in Modern Japan

Seminarium, Föreläsning

Seminarieserien Skrift och samhälle inom forskningsområdet Språk och förmedling och forskarseminariet i japanska vid institutionen för språk och litteraturer arrangerar denna gästföreläsning. Alla intresserade är välkomna!

Abstract:

This paper discusses the relationship between spoken and written Japanese at present with recourse to the recent history. It begins with a summary account of the systematic differences between alphabetic writing systems and writing systems centred on or derived from Chinese characters. A discussion of the attitudes, (mis)conceptions and ideologies associated with both kinds of writing systems follows.


Against this background, this article will then provide a detailed account of the 'Movement to Unify Spoken and Written Language' (genbun itchi undo) which played a significant role in Japan's modernization efforts during the eventful Meiji period. The idea that the written language should closely correspond to speech was imported from Europe, as was the notion of a 'national language' (kokugo) that would unite ruler and ruled. In premodern times, most written documents of any consequence were redacted in a language far removed from common people's speech. Regional varieties of Japanese were very diverse and Kanbun, the Japanese variety of written Chinese, served an important function for exercising government control throughout the Tokugawa state. A sense of unity of language, nation and state was brought about only through general education institutionalized in the early Meiji period.


Yet, the question of what the national language taught at school should look like was not settled. Extensive discussions about both the writing system and the written language continued until the mid-twentieth century, the question of what role Chinese characters should play for writing Japanese being at the centre of the debate.

Föreläsare: Prof. Dr. Florian Coulmas, Universität Düsseldorf och German Institute of Japanese Studies, Tokyo

Datum: 2017-11-08

Tid: 15:15 - 17:00

Kategorier: Humaniora, Kulturstudier, Forskning, Språk

Arrangör: institutionen för språk och litteraturer

Plats: Humanisten, Lundgrensgatan 1B
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Kontaktperson: Michelle Waldispühl

Sidansvarig: |Sidan uppdaterades: 2013-02-06
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