Macroacquisition of English in the Japanese Context and Its Educational Implications
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There have been many debates on how and why English has spread worldwide. As a local case of the phenomenon, this study investigates the spread of English in the Japanese speech community in the framework of World English and macroacquisition (Brutt-Griffler, 2002) while also using dialogism (Bakhtin, 1981; Holquist, 2002) and the theory of value (Makiguchi, 1981-88) to analyze the data. The study examines the reasons for and the mechanisms of the spread of English and discusses educational implications of the phenomenon in Japan. In carrying out its research objectives, the study investigates the perceptions about English among English teachers, students, parents, the government policy makers, and the business world and reveals how their voices have interacted with one another and have become a force to promote English. This dissertation employs a case study as its methodological approach by drawing data from the analysis of policy documents that sheds light on the historical development and implementation of English language policy in Japan; equally it analyzes the data from semi-structured interviews and questionnaire surveys with the subjects to uncover the contemporary narrative of English language use in Japan. The data obtained from each group of participants are interpreted in a cohesive manner so that the interaction of the multiple voices is represented. The study shows that there are two principal forces that have promoted English at least since the early 1990s in the Japanese speech community: one of them is the performative and academic motives among the subjects in higher education. The second force that propels English pertains to what I call the discourses of "English will be important in the future." The findings of the study provide an insight into one of the local cases of the worldwide spread of English. The understanding of how this local situation does or does not fit into the overall worldwide phenomena contributes to our understanding of World English, a larger body of knowledge on the worldwide spread of English.