Monday, October 25, 2010

Born with a mother tongue non-transparent to the “outside” world

Language policy is really serious here in this country, and has grave implications for my own life, too. I love Japanese as my native tongue, and am fairly articulate in it. For the last few years, I have made it my policy to improve my English, to the point that I would be able to express myself in some way or other so that my inner voice would be heard, by my conscious self, too. There are several difficulties, though.

Non-English speakers always accuse that native English speakers have it too easy. I have thought about this long and hard, and now I feel that would like to make a science of it.

Born with a mother tongue non-transparent to the “outside” world, as defined and constrained by the lingua franca status quo, there are certainly issues to be studied scientifically, towards a consolation for the soul as well as satisfying intellectual curiosities. Perhaps there is a new field here. My mother speaks only Japanese, and some rudimentary English. She would be incomprehensible on an American cultural highway, but she is a valuable woman all the same. Japanese is fairly lucky. There are even more minor languages. How could these souls be saved, in the face of the arrogant Hollywood type pitchers of “universal” language?

Language policies and strategies, studied from evolutionary, game theoretic, ethical points of view. I have already started a modeling effort. Maybe I would ask Yoshihide Tamori to participate.