Activity Reports

Activity Reports

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Lecture "Dialect Cosplay Defined" (28 June 2012)

Lecturer: Yukari Tanaka, Nihon University College of Humanities and Sciences, Japan
at Room 227, 16.00-17.30 Thursday, 28 June 2012

"Dialect Cosplay" refers to a word play phenomenon of the usage of "virtual dialects" such as when non-Kansai people use "nande yanen" or when non-Tosa people use "yaruzeyo!" "Dialect Cosplay" can be said to be a phenomenon of adopting or eschewing the particular characteristics of virtual dialects like costumes in a cosplay, such dialects as illustrated by the Japanese society's dialectal stereotypes, such as the interesting Kansai dialect, and the simple Tohoku dialect. Dialects used to have a negative image, but from around 1980, people began to value their "originality." This was the result of the completion of a nation-wide "language standardization" and the attendant differentiation between a "common language" and the dialect of one's hometown. Subsequently, people started to "accessorize with dialects" by using some elements of dialects sporadically in the "common language," and from there, dialect cosplay was born.

On the surface, "dialect cosplay" may look like any other word play, but in the background of this linguistic action lie several problems of modern Japanese language society, as well as the potential for predicting into the future.

About 150 people participated in the lecture that day. The participants experienced the process of becoming aware of a social phenomenon through giving a name to something they have heard or used around them.

By analyzing a living language, this lecture has shown an aspect of linguistic research and can be said to be an interesting and significant one.

(Megumi Sakamoto)

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