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The Fall of Language in the Age of English$
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Minae Mizumura

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231163026

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231163026.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Fall of Language in the Age of English

Mari Yoshihara

Juliet Winters Carpenter

Columbia University Press

This introductory chapter analyzes Minae Mizumura's The Fall of Language in the Age of English, a novel that received a rather polarizing reception due to its underlying theme. The novel tackles the question of the role of the Japanese language—or any other language other than English—in a world dominated by the English language. Mizumura takes a critical look at the phenomenon of English as functioning as the singular national language in the digital era. The chapter argues that the negative reception the book received can be traced back to critics who took the title literally, believing the Japanese language to be at imminent risk of perishing under the dominance of English. Yet Mizumura makes no such claim, stating that the nation's cultural autonomy makes it highly improbable that Japanese will disappear in any foreseeable future.

Keywords:   Minae Mizumura, Japanese language, English language dominance, national language, digital era, cultural autonomy

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