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Cardiff-Japanese Lecture Series: The Sociolinguistics of Japanese Script: Ideology, Identity, and Orthographic Variation in Written Japanese

Calendar Wednesday, 24 March 2021
Calendar 10:00-11:00

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Dr Wes Robertson

The second virtual event in the Cardiff-Japanese Lecture Series, this time with Dr Wes Robertson (Macquarie University, Australia). This series of events explores sociocultural aspects of Japanese language learning and is supported by the Japan Foundation, London.

While descriptions of written Japanese often ascribe distinct roles to kanji, hiragana, and katakana, the reality of script use in Japan is much more complex. Even after a century of productive writing reform, it is difficult to explore Japan without immediately encountering script use which departs from supposed “rules” or norms. In this talk, Wes Robertson analyses data from manga, matched-guise studies, and online interactions to show how both practical motives (e.g., emphasis) or functionalist explanations of “script images” fail to explain the totality of motivations for variant script use in contemporary Japan. Rather, fully understanding why writers use scripts in distinct ways requires attending to beliefs about script use and script/language users which circulate throughout Japan, with attention to variant script use providing insights into how language users can navigate issues relating to identity, stance, and ideology in a manner inherent to the written mode.

Dr Wes Robertson is Lecturer in Languages & Cultures at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. His research looks at how language variation - especially in Japanese - becomes a site for play, stance taking, identity formation, and the negotiation of language ideologies. He is particularly interested in language variation, which is restricted to the written mode, and therefore loss of a text is read 'aloud', and how superdiversity is motivating novels use of language to produce affects valued by translocal subcultures, such as the reimagining of Japanese language forms as 'brutal' within the Japanese extreme metal scene. His first monograph, Scripting Japan was published by Routledge in 2020.

Simultaneous Translation
The event will be delivered in the medium of English. You are welcome to ask questions in the medium of Welsh during the Q&A session. If you intend to do this, please contact by Wednesday 10 March to request simultaneous translation. Please note that 10% or more of those planning to attend will need to request this provision in order for it to be sourced and will be subject to resource availability.

We apologise that the entire registration page is not available in the medium of Welsh. Unfortunately, the platform we use does not offer this service.

Recording of Event
Please note this event will be recorded.

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