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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: The Language of Keitai-mail:The Sociolinguistics of Japanese mobile e-mail Add Dissertation
Author: Noboru Sakai Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: The University of Queensland, School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies
Completed in: 2012
Linguistic Subfield(s): Sociolinguistics;
Director(s): Nanette Gottlieb
Yuriko Nagata
Michael Harrignton

Abstract: (Full text is available:

Keitai-mail, e-mails exchanged through mobile phones, have become a major communication tool in Japanese daily life. In order to elucidate this aspect of the language and literacy practices of today’s rapidly advancing information technology era, this study explores Japanese Keitai-mail practice among young people (prior to the smart-phone generation) and is the first study to analyse a very large data corpus of raw Keitai-mail texts.

Previous studies can be summarised as showing that Keitai-mail feature influences of 1) the technology itself, i.e., the specifications or physical properties of the communication medium (e.g., Sasahara, 2002; Sasaki & Ishikawa, 2006); 2) the conscious and unconscious motivations of Keitai-mail users in their Keitai-mail communication (e.g., Sugitani, 2007; Tomari, 2004; Uchida, 2004), and 3) language use and creation by young people themselves found in areas not limited to Keitai-mail (e.g., Horasawa, 2000; Kuwamoto, 2000; Senuma, 2005). The present study thus focuses on these three aspects as its baseline of investigation, using both qualitative and quantitative methods to analyse its data corpus. For the former, certain criteria from conversation analysis and discourse analysis (Fairclough’s 2003 criteria) are applied.

The study investigates 43,295 Keitai-mail exchanged for the purpose of personal communication by 60 young people aged 18 to 30 who are familiar with Keitai-mail practices. The 1-to-1 ratio of male and female, the participants' domiciles in several big Japanese cities (e.g., Tokyo, Osaka), with a fairly randomised sample which reveals the general trend of language practice among young Japanese people.

These findings characterise Keitai-mail as a context-based literacy practice, in which people actively devise techniques to maximise the effectiveness of communication.