Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Linguistics and Cognitive Science

Reader 1

Carmen Fought

Reader 2

Alan Hartley

Reader 3

Meredith Land

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© 2015 Shalina R. Omar


This thesis investigates native speaker attitudes towards English loanwords in Japanese and the ways in which these loanwords are used. The imperialism and hegemony of English can often cause anger or worry for the preservation of the cultural identity of the borrowing language. However, the results from a 9-page sociolinguistic questionnaire suggest that English loanwords are overwhelmingly seen as useful and necessary and are generally associated with positive attitudes. Additionally, many native Japanese speakers feel that loanwords provide more options for expression, both functionally and as a possible pragmatic tool for performing Japaneseness. On the other hand, overuse of loanwords—especially less common ones—can also exemplify the power imbalance between Japanese and the powerful and hegemonic English. The study also revealed how powerful the Japanese linguistic systems are at assimilating English into the Japanese language. With established and institutionally supported phonological and orthographic conventions in place, foreign-derived vocabulary can easily become nativized, assimilated, and considered to be Japanese in the minds of speakers.