The Current States and Changes in the Japanese Spoken in the Metropolitan Area

Project leader:MITSUI Harumi
Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistic Theory and Structure, NINJAL
Project website/shutoken/


This project attempts to explore a new phase of the Japanese spoken in the Tokyo Metropolitan area (Tokyo and its surrounds) from the viewpoint of descriptive sociolinguistics. The language in that area has a privileged status: (i) It is the base of Standard Japanese, and (ii) Linguistic phenomena which occur in it often spread to other areas in Japan. On the other hand, it has some internal fluidity which other Japanese dialects do not have: (iii) It has weak social foundation to preserve its traditional linguistic features, (iv) It is always exposed to linguistic diversity, (v) It contains various linguistic subgroups whose linguistic norms are different from each other. This project aims to build a framework to analyze linguistic fluidity considering geographical, historical and social factors, and to investigate the current state of the language in the Metropolitan area.