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Challenging to make Enlgish Second Official Language

Cat: LAN
Pub: 2000

Yoichi Funabashi (船橋洋一)

up 14729


English Language Amendment


Global literacy; English Speaking Asia; English second language; Soft Power; Linguistic Right; Education by immersion; Submersion Policy; English Plus; Toubon Law; Counter argument; Official Language Act of Japan;
  • Dialogue is most important to develop trust relationship, which is essential for peace and prosperity.
  • Language is a typical soft power, which is effective no less than economic and military power in globalized and networked society.
  • Historical awareness is important to maintain good neighbor policy, which is mostly communicated by language.
  • English is not only a foreign language, but also lingua franca, which should be considered as Japanese strategy issue rather than educational issue.
  • We had induced Chinese characters as a notational system about 1,500 years ago.
  • 対話は信頼関係を気付くには最重要であり、平和と繁栄のためには必須である。
  • 言葉は典型的なソフトパワーであり、グローバル化したネットワーク社会では、経済力、軍事力に劣らず効果的である。
  • 歴史認識は善隣関係を維持するには重要で、それは主に言語によって対話される。
  • 英語は1つの外国語であるばかりでなく国際語であり、それは教育というより戦略問題である。
  • 我々は約1500年前に、漢字を日本語の表記法として導入してきたのだ。
Original resume
Japanese resume

0. General Overview Worldwide::

  • The author is an editor of Asahi Shimbun, having affirmative opinion of this issue as a member out of 16 members of 'Japan's Goals in the 21st Century', an dvisory committee for Obuchi cabinet.
  • The report of the committee (Jan. 18, 2000) states that:
    1. (2) Enhancing global literacy
      The advance of globalization and the information-technology revolution call for a world-class level of excellence. Achieving world-class excellence demands that, in addition to mastering information technology, all Japanese acquire a working knowledge of English—not as simply a foreign language but as the international lingua franca. English in this sense is a prerequisite for obtaining global information, expressing intentions, and sharing values.
    2. Of course the Japanese language, our mother tongue, is the basis for perpetuating Japan’s culture and traditions, and study of foreign languages other than English should be actively encouraged. Nevertheless, knowledge of English as the international lingua franca equips one with a key skill for knowing and accessing the world.
    3. To achieve this, it is necessary First to set the concrete objective of all citizens acquiring a working knowledge of English by the time they take their place in society as adults. We should think about organizing English classes according to students’ actual level of competence rather than their grade in school, improving training and objective assessment of English teachers, greatly increasing the number of foreign teachers of English, and contracting language schools to handle English classes.
    4. We should also think about requiring the central government, local governments, and other public institutions to produce their publications, and home pages, in both Japanese and English.
    5. In the long term, it may be possible to make English an official second language, but national debate will be needed. First, though, every effort should be made to equip the population with a working knowledge of English. This is not simply a matter of foreign-language education. It should be regarded as a strategic imperative.

0. 序文:

  • 著者は、小渕内閣の21世紀日本の構想懇談会(2000/1/18)の委員の一人
  • グローバル・リテラシィに関する答申:
    1. グロバリゼーションとIT技術の必要性。特に英語は戦略回第として必須
    2. もちろん国語、他の外国語教育も重要
    3. 国民全体のグローバル化にとっては実用的な英語教育が必要。
    4. 中央・地方政府の出版物のHPは日英バイリンガルで実施
    5. 英語の第二公用語化について、広く国民的議論を実施。これは外国語教育問題というより日本の戦略問題として捉えるべき。

1. Crazy English:

  • 疯狂英语 (fēngkuáng yīngyǔ, Crazy English); non-traditional method of learning English in China by shouting out loud, you learn; they overcome they shyness.
    • English language intensive training camp for volunteers to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
    • Lǐ Yáng, the inventor of this methodology, proclaims, "Studying English is the road to self-improvement, breed patriotism and builds a strong country."
    • He even emphasizes that "the present China is behind US, Europe and Japan. Let's make China stronger, then Chinese language would be the same level of English. In the future, we would teach them Chinese in their countries which would be our good market.
    • Globalization advanced since 1990s after the collapse of Berlin Wall. Internet booted further globalization. English language is also similar heaving wave of globalization.
    • Chinese coastal zone represented by Hong Kong and Shanghai will have the biggest English speaking population. (now nearly 200M English speakers in this zone, which is already bigger than US English learners.)
  • Crazy English movement in Vietnam:
    • Vietnam, former French colony, also following this trend, particularly since joining ASEAN.
    • ASEAN countries preside more than 300 International conferences, whose working language is English.
    • Vietnam government strongly recommended official staff under 50 should learn English
    • Vietnam government also distributed English textbook used from junior and senior high school students, which was jointly developed by Vietnam and US private companies including Coca Cola; until then English textbook was developed by USSR.
    • The World Bank, Australia, UK, etc. cooperate with Vietnam to promote training programs for English teachers in Vietnam.
  • Expanding to ASEAN countries:
    • These movement proliferate to Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar, who joined ASE.
    • Most emerging 'English Speaking Asia'
  • Former English-US colonized countries:
    • India, Malaysia, Singapore, and Philippines; these are higher diffusion ratio of English.
    • Back office business using English;
    • Call center of AOL in Philippines (former Clark Military Base)
    • Philippine is the most non-structured English speaking nation in Asia; service industries using English is the most proper king of jobs.
    • Globalization is a king of global food chain; to which Philippine succeeded to join and can get nutrition from it.
    • India also operates back office call center Hariyana state, such as GE Capital.
    • Software and medical services are growing in India.
      • There are about 35K Indian-American medical doctors in US
      • India has 18 official languages; English is sub-official language. "Global Literacy"
    • Kim Dae-jung: "Language is the biggest asset which human has."
  • English appear as an international language in 20c, and restart as lingua franca in 21C.
    • English native speakers: 377M people
    • Second language 375Ma
    • English speaking people: around 1B people covering almost all continents.
    • Advent of Internet gives English network externality.
  • eLearning: may change education system, or knowledge industry.
    • Industrial age requires obedient people without having excessive questions.
    • Information age required autonomous people having unique and ingenious questions.
    • eLearning guarantees and promote lifelong learning.
    • Illiteracy does not means people who cannot read and write, but means ones who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.
    • Globalization and IT revolution mostly revolutionized education, changing education dimension from 'learning about' to 'learning to be'.
  • 李光耀 Lǐguāng Yào, the first premier of Singapore:
    • emphasized English, Chinese as official languages.
    • Japan is the most talented country in catching up, but in the Internet age, English is indispensable to catch up.
  • Anticolonialism and de-English movement:
    • Anticolonialism is conjugated with de-English in 1960s in Tanzania, Malaysia and Bengal region of India (from Calcutta to Kokkata)
  • Globalization and English: English second language
    • Globalization is making English as global language; from English to Englishes; increase of English speaking people as second language (not second foreign language).
    • Globalization needs both standardization and diversification; English has such two features.

1. クレイジー・イングリッシュ:

  • 中国における英語熱:疯狂英语


  • さらにベトナムなどASEAN各国に伝搬


  • 振興地域:英語を話すアジア


  • 旧英領各国の新ビジネス


  • グロバリゼーションとIT革命が最も革命をもたらしたもの:教育
  • 何かを学ぶ→何かになる次元へ


  • シンガポールの生き様:インターネットを考慮し、中英2つの公用語
    • 日本はキャッチアップがうまく国だが、インターネットの世界でキャッチアップするには英語が必須


  • グロバリゼーションと英語


  • 第二公用語ではなく第二言語

2. English Divide:

  • Factors as lingua franca:
    • Historically, language was proliferated by soldiers and sailors.
    • Political and military powers backed such proliferation, such as Greek, Latin, Arabic, French, and then English.
    • Pax Britanica: 19C UK pr0liferated English in 5 continents and 7 oceans; in addition US added Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii.
    • Pax Americana: is sustained by 1) Scient & Technology, 2) Economics & Finance, and 3) Military & Strategy.
    • In Renascence age, new terms was proliferated by poems; but in 20C, new terms are related to Science & Technology, such as telephone, airplane, computer, internet, biotechnology (DNA), which are mostly made in English.
    • In medical terms were once made in German, but not in English.
    • Scientific theses need to be posted to English science magazines like 'Nature' of UK, or 'Science' of US.
    • Economic and financial terms are mostly made in City in UK, then Wall Street and Silicon Valley in US, including terms related trade, finance, accounting, patent, legal.
    • 40% of world GDP is English countries.
    • English also is used as emergency langue in shipping and aviation.
    • In cold war age, MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) , a doctrine of military strategy is based on proper communication in English; USSR learned English and US nurtured Kremlinologist (learning Russian)
    • NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) adopted English as official language, while Warsaw Treaty adopted Russian.
  • Scenario of relative decline of English:
    • Status of English may decline according to decline of US.
    • Emerging pivotal states: EU, China, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil.
      • Brazil and France are intensive learner of TOEFL
    • Language population may change: User share of Chinese and Spanish will increase.
    • Bilingual population: English & Chinese, and English & Spanish will increase.
    • Ancient Latin ramified into French, Spanish and Italian under tyranny of distance.
    • Influence of English media: US CNN, UK BBK, Hollywood, Bollywood, German English broadcast; Singlish (from Singapore)
  • Machine translation:
    • In 2-50 years, machine translation will develop drastically skillful and cheap:
      • English make no more needs for translation, or the cost of machine translation become null.
    • But the weak point of machine translation is the topic suddenly jumps
  • Soft Power:
    • Strength of US is more soft power: English itself is soft power.
    • Soft power is effectively performed in the followings:
      • Policy dialog
      • CBM (Confidence Building Measures)
      • Accountability
      • Transparency
      • education system attractive to foreigners. Students from abroad to US account 481K (Asia shares 277K.) like a melting pot.
      • French language proliferated from top-down approach, keeping strict clearness and theory, including gender expression; (Madame la ministre).
      • English is a flexible language, which can absorb new terms; 20K terms per year, account about 1M terms in tall..
  • Most of international unions established in 20C:
    • League of Nations (French & English); United Nations (E+F+S+C+R+A); NATO; EU
  • English Imperialism:
    • India in 1947: Banish English Movement; Only Hindi became official language.
      • Kolkata movement in West Bengal province; but 1967 English approved as second language in Bengal.
      • English contributed literacy education in middle class, and communication among states as the basis for Indian democracy.
      • English speaking specialists (IT, medical, lawyer, scientist, economist, officer) are the strength of modern India.
    • English Imperialist doctrine:
      1. Teach English alone.
      2. Use English native speaker
      3. Start English earlier
      4. Study English much
      5. Avoid to use other language
    • Other Language Imperialism:
      • French, Spanish, Russian language Imperialism
  • Linguistic right, or right to use language:
    • Screening or selection of language:
    • 6,000 languages in the world, in which 2000 in Africa; Eradication risk.
    • Esperanto movement; pursuing neutral and democratic global communication via Esperanto.
    • Equalizer function is important, particularly for people who use minor languages87
    • Lega Nord;Independence of Lombardia
    • Sakha Republic in Siberia:
    • Anti-apartheid movement in South Africa:
  • Ethnic Identity:
    • Language is the center of cultural identity
    • Remove of ñ from keyboard used in Spain.
  • Globalization accelerates standardization and diversity:
    • Global language and local language

2. イングリッシュ・ディバイド:

  • 世界語の要素


  • 英語の強み



  • 英語が衰退するシナリオ



  • 機械翻訳の進歩





  • ソフトパワー
    • 政策対話
    • 信頼醸成措置
    • 説明責任
    • 透明性


  • 20Cは国際機構の世紀


  • 英語帝国主義


  • 言語権


  • 民族アイデンティティ



3. Bilingual:

  • Education by Immersion
    • Spanish (7), Japanese (3), French (2), German (1) teaching elementary schools in Fairfax, VA, US;
    • Official Languages Act of Canada: Bilingual education (English & French9:
      • Bilingual In Parliament and law
      • Official gazette, court procedure
      • 4.5M people (16% of total population) became bilingual as of 2000; 2.2M (12%) in 1961
        • Federal officers 29% of 215K are bilingual (19% in 1974)
        • Effect of bilingual immersion education: two doors to clear a path for future.
        • Bilingual raised Canadian status in global community, like diplomats, UN officers, and PKO, etc.
    • Usefulness for children:
      • Bilingual children tend to analyze the meaning of things, and to compare the expression of the other language,
      • Language education is not zero-sum;
      • Immersion class shows better marks in English, National language, and Mathematics, but a litter poor in Science and Sociology.
      • Immersion education vs. Submersion education; methodology aims completely different.

3. バイリングアル:

  • イマージョン教育;没入教育

4. English Plus:

  • In US, there are three slogans; 1) US English, 2) English First, 3) English Only.
    • 25 US states adopted English Official Language Act.
    • Submersion Policy: English was survival language for immigrants to US. Their original languages must be submerged under English.; "Sink or swim!"
    • 1968 Bilignual Educagion Acgt in FL; to subside Spanish education for refgees from Cuba.
    • 1983: English First organization was established in CA.; then English Only movement proliferated in 25 US states.
    • "English Plus" movement, which is counter movemnet of English First:
      • SALAD (Spanish American League Against Discrimination) in FL.
    • Clinton Adminsitration: US Supeeme Court actually support this 'English Plus" policy, admitting biligual education, including bilingual immersion education
    • In US, biligual educationn is a controversial political magma.; Sometime in 21C, hispanic ans asian american will becom majority in US society.
  • Singpore: indepenced in 1965.
    • Four official languages English, Chinese, Malya, Tamir languages.
    • Official document must be published in English.
    • Singapore should be one of most sticky country, having deep rood in tradaiton value and languages, as well as having capability to use English effectively.
    • succeeded 89% of elementary schools and 85% of junior high schools adopted English-based education.
    • Then, Singapore started to use Manjarin Chinese as second offical language. But actually even among Chinese-Sigaporean, Chinese are used for speaking and English for writing due to difficulty of learning Chinese characters.
    • Singlish phenomenon: easy localized English used in Singapore.
    • Other multi language policy countries:
      • India, Belgium, Luxenburg
      • EU; 1995 Leonardo Da Vinci Program; multi language vocational training
    • France:
      • At the time of French Revolution, 6M people were French illiteract and antoher 6M coud not speak French fluently out of total 23M population.
      • 1989 Jospin Act (Education Fundamentals Law) in France: approved non-French language education, particularly in Alsace state.
      • But France sticks to maintain the status of French as much as possible.; Toubon Law

4. イングリッシュ・プラス:

  • サブマージョン政策
    • sink or swim
  • English Plus運動


  • 各国の多言語政策
  • シンガポール
  • インド
  • EU
  • フランス:

5. Strategy for making English Official Language:

  • Objective: to survive in 21C globalized world, to avoid disappearing from one of major players.
  • English literacy is needed for not only a limited elite, but also most of Japanese people.
  • The status of English should be enhanced to the second language from the first foreign language; which aims to share with people of English second language (more people than nation English)
  • The major challenges to 21C for Japan are 1) Globalization, 2) IT revolution, and 3) Less children and aging society.
    • Global literacy will be recovering measure for these issues.; Digital Divide and English Divide.
    • English Divide will make Japan more open and transparent country for foreigners.
  • Messages Japan should dispatch:
    • Way of Japanese life; humor; witness; thoughtfulness; passion; mission; sense of unity, etc.
    • bottom-up global communication by Internet.
    • recognition of multi-national Japan; particularly status of and collaboration with Chinese-Japanese and Korean-Japanese, etc. (Total 1.55M)
  • Recognize that language is the (soft) power, meaning to engage into the field.
    • Evaluate and analyze message of the counterpart, and then respond it.
    • Engagement (pledge, agreement, battle, being in gear) is inevitable.
    • Japan looks like a society which avoids being questioned; a society confining the capability of communication.
    • Japanese tends to choose ambiguous or euphemious expression, avoiding direct debate or argument.; training and simulation of debate is quite insufficient.
    • Communication is composed of not only careful listening, but includes exchange of logic and reasoning, pursue of solution or collaboration through negotiation.
    • Japan should be a country which could say yes or no.
    • In 21c, most area of China, Korea, and ASEAN will be the biggest English second language zone.
  • Enhancement of overall English literacy:
    • Government and Diet must have major responsibility; linguistic message is their major output.
    • There will be no authority without authorship.
    • Multilateral dialogue is more difficult than bilateral dialogue; Chairman is required to function to pursue high-level solution and arbitration.
    • At interaction conferences, the attendants should be English speaking specialists of the theme; not depending on international division who are English speaking generalist.
    • Cf: (Sogo-shoha, or trading firms are Japanese unique cooperations which mostly function as agents for manufacturers. They are basically generalists without having their own R&D, design and making facilities.)
  • Historical trauma of Japan:
    • Hall Note: Last negotiation just before WWII of Codell Hall, Secretary of State (1933-44) and Kichisaburo Nomura, Japanese Ambassador to US )1939-40), Nomura's poor English was a handicap in negotiation. Hall said later, "His English was marginal. .... he spoke a certain - sometimes an uncertain - amount of English."
    • Then Japanese government 'ignored' unconditional surrender by Potsdam Declaration dated July 26, 1945; where 'ignored' is understood as 'rejected.'
    • Edwin O. Reischauer (1910-1990) appealed Japan to get rid of linguistic isolation and knowledge isolation.
  • Counter argument of English second language debate:
    1. The contents matter. Expression in English is useless if it is without contents.
    2. It comes from English complex. It is a matter of only language.
    3. It is enough to make bilingual people who are required to use it. It is unnecessary for all Japanese to use English.
    4. It may cause a new social disparity between English able and disable.
    5. English second language education may exacerbate Japanese language education which is deteriorating.
    6. English learning may deteriorate Japanese culture and identity
  • Counter-counter argument of the above:
    1. both contents and container are necessary; in communications container (=language) prescribes contents.
    2. should promote Japanese first and English second language, together with learning other foreign languages.
    3. Establishment of each individual and creation of publicness are needed for communication
    4. Define English second language, which should be widely used in general social life, avoiding from being casualty of English divide in globalized world.
    5. Having another viewpoint of our space of language and consciousness. Particularly in public discussion, we should avoid facade cliché, cant, jargon of specialized circle, and aphasia due to linguistic consanguineous marriage.
    6. Open national interest and open identity; enlightened self-interest. (Identity is a risky concept, if it is uses an context of 'national identity', which may cause undervalue individual or personal value.
  • English second language is a process for internalization of others' viewpoint.

5. 英語公用語論 - SKR:

  • 目的:21Cのグローバル世界で日本が生き抜くため
  • 21Cの挑戦:グロバリゼーション、IT革命、少子高齢化
  • デジタルデバイドと英語デバイドの克服
  • 言語はパワー。
  • 全国民の英語力UP
  • 中国韓国ASEANは、最大の英語第二言語圏
  • Author(起草)なくしてAuthorityなし
  • 歴史的トラウマ:
    • 日米開戦前夜;
  • 英語第二言語化への主な反論
    1. 中身ないのに英語か
    2. たかだか1外国語に過ぎない
    3. 英語が必要な人に任せれば良い
    4. 公用語にすると新たな社会格差をもたらす
    5. 日本語がさらに劣悪になる
    6. 日本文化のアイデンティティが損なわれる
  • その反論の反論
    1. 中身も器も必要。形が内容を規定する
    2. 多言語主義の中での英語第二言語化
    3. 日本社会による個の確立と公の巣出
    4. むしろ国際社会でのEnglish Divideのならぬため
    5. 英語は知的用心棒。日本文化の伝承が弱体化していることが問題。英語は知的営為に必要
    6. 多角的な枠組みの中での開かれた国益とIdentity.
  • 他の観点の内部化






6. Proposal for making English Official Language:

  • Make Japanese the first language, English the second language.
  • Target: In 30 years Japanese bilingual population 30% of the total; 50% of the central government officer.
    • In the case of Canada, they attained 16% of the total 29% of the federal officer inn 30 years. But Canadian west coast states have no serious incentives to learn French.
    • In Japan, there are more incentives to learn English.
  • Official Language Act of Japan: be enacted in 2001, will be enforced in 2010. 
    • Cf: (This book is written in 200o, and did not adopted this proposal. the bilingual would be still probably around 1% or less even in 2014. EU published in 2005 that bilingual ratio is around 50% of all population in EU area and 80% in students.)
    • In decade, bilingual population 10% in total and 20% in the central government officer.
    • in two decades. 30% and 50% respectively.; English literacy must be used evaluation (TOEFL, etc.) in recruitment.
    • Japan aims multilingual nation; will not eliminate to learn other languages than English.
    • English education aims to master English as global communication means, not to learn Anglo-Saxon culture.; (aiming to learn Englishes)
    • Official document should be published in bilingual; budge, minutes of the Diet, public gazette, legal procedure, patent, property right, emergency communication (police, fire fighter, natural disaster, traffic, etc.); Air control is already using English in both international and domestic flight.
    • Bilingual description is required in medical and consumer products.
    • Master and doctorate theses accept either language, requiring English abstract in any case.
    • Cooperation of utilization of English with ASEAN countries.
    • Inducement of immersion education as optional from public elementary schools to senior high schools; also active invitation of English teachers (5,000 annually)
    • University entrance examination by the national center: writing Japanese history and culture in English as well as referring TOEFL at third grade of senior high school.
      (There will be no more traditional English test.)
    • Expand of other foreign languages like Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Russian, German, French, Arabic, etc. Special attention to Chinese and Korean is needed.
    • Obligating TOEFL test for English teachers in five years, and refreshed in every tree years as well as large scale of studying abroad program.
    • In addition, English literacy should be obligatory for cabinet ministers as well as publishing of the Diet members.

6. 英語公用語論 - 提案:

  • ASEANの英語必要度
    • 外務省
    • 通産省
    • 財務省
    • 鑑定
    • 法制局
    • 警察
    • 軍隊
    • 税関
    • 入国管理
    • 観光
    • 航空
  • In globalized world, we are fighting each other by finance, knowledge and language, not by physical arms or even nuclear power.
  • In particular during the severe last battle with dinosaurs, we mammal could win by the power of knowledge and language, not by physical strength.
  • So, we should take up lingua franca as our arms.
  • グローバル世界では我々は相互に金融、知識および言語で闘っている。物理的な武器でもなく、まして核兵器でもなく。
  • 特に、恐竜との厳しい闘争において、我々哺乳類は、物理的な力ではなく、知識と言語で勝利できた。
  • それ故、世界語を我々の武器にしよう

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