Volume 25, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0920-9034
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9870
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This paper investigates changes in the dialect of a group of northern Japanese immigrants from the Tôhoku dialect speaking areas who migrated to Hawai‘i. The speakers moved to Hawai‘i as sugar plantation workers between 1899 and 1923 and the data were recorded between 1972 and 1975. Being latecomers to the plantations as well as a linguistic minority in the Japanese community in Hawai‘i, Tôhoku immigrants experienced dialect discrimination by other Japanese immigrants. The data tell us that the traditional Tôhoku dialect forms were replaced almost completely by the non-Tôhoku dialect forms after the speakers’ immigration. This study suggests that obvious dialect stigmatization led to the Tôhoku dialect speakers’ adoption of non-Tôhoku dialect features in order to gain acceptance in the local Japanese communities. Interestingly, however, the speakers transferred their Tôhoku dialect phonology to the newly acquired non-Tôhoku dialect forms. The findings support current second dialect acquisition studies that adult speakers acquire lexically-bound features more easily than phonological features.


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