“Two Sides of the Coin: Change in Language Attitudes Toward the Ryukyuan Languages”

October 1, 2009, 3:00-4:30 pm, Moore 319 (Tokioka Room)

Professor Ishihara will discuss the changing attitudes toward the Ryukyuan languages since 1879. Shortly after the Meiji Restoration, when Japan was established as a nation state, the Central Government of Japan (CGJ)’s policy was to Japanize the Okinawans by having them speak Japanese and discouraging them from speaking their local languages. This ultimately led to the Ryukyuan languages becoming an endangered language. However, the attitude toward Okinawan languages has taken a positive turn as Okinawans feel a sense of urgency to preserve their languages as an important part of their culture.

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