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Cuz it ain’t in the dictionary

This morning in my English composition class, composed mainly of Japanese speakers, I came upon another pitfall of relying on “in the dictionary” as a test of acceptability. The verb ‘ruralize’, which rarely appears in books published after 1940, is nevertheless present in bilingual dictionaries.

Grammar in the news

Word choice played an important role in Japan and South Korea’s agreement to support one another’s applications for UNESCO World Cultural Heritage listing. Japan’s Foreign Minister told reporters that ‘forced to work’ does not mean ‘coerced labor’. But that depends on what “mean” means.

Anthropology News: Contact and Its Allure

The latest SLA column at Anthropology News is now available. Shunsuke Nozawa’s “Contact and Its Allure” explores phatic communion, isolation and social relations, the role of technology, and more in Japan’s “It’s me” fraud. Nozawa draws on his own field work, Japanese media coverage, and a range theory in anthropology to analyze how fraud is experienced and understood in contemporary Japan.

Shock. Lehman shock.

Japanese media use the label “Lehman shock” to refer to the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent shocks. The phrase “financial crisis” occurred frequently in 2008 but has dropped ever since. “Lehman shock” endures, even though Lehman Brothers was neither the first nor the largest institution to fall.

Can analysis of discrimination help overcome fear?

Chad Nilep reflects on work with Akiyo Cantrell to analyze reports from the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 and its aftermath. Evacuees from Fukushima face discrimination based on vague fears of radioactivity or other danger. Nilep expresses hope that academic work can make a positive contribution to recovery.

“Ordinary” language use

In “Lesbian bar talk in Shinjuku, Tokyo” Hideko Abe shows how identity positions are constructed and claimed through language use. One passage, which shows how use of the word futsuu (ordinary) includes homosexual and heterosexual subjects in the same category, bears additional analysis.

Linguistic Anthropology Roundup #15

There hasn’t been a Roundup post made since September, and I have a horrible sinking feeling that the person who was meant to post the missing Roundups was me. So with apologies and without further delay, here is Roundup #15.