A Variation Study of Dialect Contact and Obsolescence in Japanese Community in Mexico City

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 9:15 AM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Akiko OKUMURA , Language and Information Sciences, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Ever since the first migration to in 1897, Mexico has hosted the mass influx of Japanese immigrants, resulting in the formation of the largest Japanese community Mexico City. Although Japanese is often used for communication amongst the community members even today, linguistic aspects of the language used there have not been well investigated in previous research. Since the first generation of immigrants in the community migrated from various places in Japan, there must have been contact between Japanese regional dialects among them. This study intends to find out what sort of dialectal features are used in the current community as a result of contact between different dialects which were brought by the first generation. The data consist of over 5000 minutes of collected through my fieldwork in 2012 and 2013 in Mexico City. The informants are more than eighty of Japanese immigrants and their families. The linguistic variable examined in the analysis is negation suffix. The negation form is realized in different forms according to dialect. The major variants are –nai and –n, the former is mainly used in eastern dialect speaking region of Japan and the latter in the western. My ongoing variationist analysis on the negation system in Japanese spoken in Mexico City reveals that both the Founder Principle (Mufwene 1996) and Dialects in Contact (Trudgill 1968) helped account for the negation system in this diaspora variety of Japanese.


Mufwene, Salikoko S. (1996). The founder principle in creole genesis. Diachronica13(1), pp. 83-134.

Trudgill, Peter (1968). Dialects in contact. Oxford:  Basil Blackwell.