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Dialect Contact and Social Networks

Language Change in an Anglophone Community in Japan


Keiko Hirano

This book explores a dialect contact situation in a second language setting – native speakers of English coming to Japan from different parts of the world as English teachers. It focuses on an Anglophone community in which speakers are socially and geographically mobile and have loose-knit networks with speakers of different languages and dialects. This longitudinal sociolinguistic study aims to investigate the relatively short-term linguistic changes induced by frequent face-to-face interaction with speakers of different dialects and to illustrate the impact of social network effects. Statistical analyses reveal that the individual speakers’ interpersonal ties are important factors that influence the linguistic behaviour of the speakers in a dialect contact situation in an L2 setting.


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Page Table 2.1: Number of foreign residents from English-speaking countries in Japan registered as Instructor, Professor and Other in 2009 Table 2.2: Number of JET participants since 1987 Table 2.3: Number of foreigners entering Japan from English- speaking countries since 1950 Table 5.1: Linguistic variables of the present study Table 5.2: Summary of linguistic variables examined in Trudgill (1986), Chambers (1992) and the present study Table 5.3: Accent groups and urban areas of England Table 5.4: A comparison of the typical phonetic realisations of RP, GA and NZE for the linguistic variables of the present study Table 6.1: Number of informants for the first dataset Table 6.2: Number of informants for the second dataset Table 6.3: Examples of included and excluded tokens for the vari- ables Table 6.4: Variants for each variable Table 6.5: Percentage of agreement in auditory judgment between the researcher and the dialectologist Table 6.6: Number of tokens collected from the first and second datasets for each variable Table 6.7: Items for questions about informants’ social networks Table 6.8: Scoring the rank order of network members according to closeness Table 6.9: Scoring the frequency of meetings and telephone calls Table 6.10: Home nation and number of network members men- tioned by the informants Table 6.11: Distribution of number of network members by rank score and meeting score Table 6.12: Distribution of number of network members by rank score and telephone score Table 6.13: Average index scores of sub-networks according to in- formant nationality Table 6.14: Social network...

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