Formation Processes of Japanese Language Varieties and Creoles

Abbreviation : Overseas Japanese Varieties
Project leader: SANADA Shinji
Invited Professor, NINJAL
Research field: Japanese Linguistics
Keywords: Sociolinguistics, Language contact, Creole


Many people living in parts of Asia and the Pacific acquired Japanese before or during the World War II and retain competency in the language today. Particularly in Taiwan and the islands of Micronesia, the Japanese language continues to be used as a lingua franca among speakers whose native language differs. Moreover, among some speakers of the Atayal people of Yilan County in Eastern Taiwan, a Japanese-lexicon creole language has been formed. This research carries out field studies of the Japanese language varieties and creoles in these areas (Taiwan, the Mariana Islands, Sakhalin, etc.) in order to describe and record them. It also seeks to uncover the formation processes (as well as the sociological factors which influenced them) behind these overseas Japanese language varieties formed by contact with other languages. Of these varieties, only the Japanese-based Yilan Creole of Taiwan is used among all generations of speakers, while all the other language varieties are used by people over 75 years of age, indicating the urgency with which such research must be carried out.