Language and Identity Workshop I: Theory and Methods of Linguistic Identity - Tokyo College

Language and Identity Workshop I: Theory and Methods of Linguistic Identity

2023.02.02 @ 18:30 – 19:30
Language and Identity Workshop I: Theory and Methods of Linguistic Identity
Zoom Meeting
Date(s) February 2, 2023 18:30-19:30 JST

Zoom Meeting (Register here)

Registration Pre-registration required
Language English

Jeconiah Dreisbach (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, PhD Candidate)

 An Ethnographic Linguistic Landscape Analysis of Transnational Migrant Spaces: A Study on the Filipino Community in the United Arab Emirates” 

The Filipino diaspora is the fourth largest migrant community and consists of ten percent of the population of the United Arab Emirates. Beyond the Philippine schools that were established to cater to the needs of the community, transnational brands and local business establishments were also founded by the Filipino population which creates a transnational ethnolinguistic space for the people to practice their cultures and speak their mother tongues beyond the official Arabic language and English as lingua franca in the Emirates. Moreover, the only Roman Catholic Church in the Emirate of Sharjah says their Holy Mass in Tagalog multiple times a week for the Filipino Christian faithful. This study will present the preliminary findings of an ethnographic linguistic landscape analysis by the researcher on the linguistic accommodation and creation of transnational ethnolinguistic spaces by the Filipino people in the Emirate of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Through a multilingual linguistic landscape analysis of signs, sights, and spaces in the mentioned area, this work will impart the ways in which the multilingualism and multiculturalism of the Filipino population are negotiated in an Arab public space.


Yao Sun (University of Oxford, DPhil Candidate)

“Apologies for My Ese-Kansai-Dialect”: Language Ideologies and Language Ownership of Kansai Dialect in Online Space

 Following its national popularity since 1980s, the Kansai dialect has been a valuable linguistic resource seen on screens and expressions from the dialect are often nominated as buzzwords of the year. Issues of authenticity and language ownership arouse as the regional dialect became spoken and heard outside of the region. Ese-Kansai Dialect (Ese-Kansai-ben, EKD) is a word coined in recent years to denote the Kansai dialect used by non-natives with “unnatural traits”. Literature on this subject refers to the so-called EKD as a variation of the “real” Kansai Dialect. However. common linguistic features of EKD were not found to support the existing argument about EKD.
To understand what is EKD, this study investigates the public narratives on EKD from Twitter and analyses how and what people talk about it. Analysis demonstrated that shared insecurity among non-native users of the dialect is prominent and many would apologise or ask for permission when trying to use the dialect. EKD is used as a shelter term to deny oneself of their language ownership before potential criticism. In addition, criticism towards EKD is rarely on linguistic failures in using the dialect but on the identity of the speakers. This study concludes that EKD is an ideologically constructed notion that reclaims ownership of the dialect for the native speakers and to mark the illegitimate speakerhood of non-native speakers. In an age where dialects in Japan began to transcend regional boarders, language ideologies are playing a much bigger role in shaping the future of the dialects.


Diana Romero (Columbia University, PhD, Lecturer)

“Critical Sociolinguistics in the Spanish as a Heritage Language (HL) Classroom: Empowering Heritage Spanish Learners Ethnolinguistic Identity”

Heritage language instructors concerned with how to make our practice relevant within a social justice framework must constantly examine how our language and pedagogical practices, even when well intentioned, might be reproducing dynamics of social exclusion. (Zavala, 2019)
In this talk I will explain how a sociolinguistic approach to HL instruction, while being an invaluable tool to empower heritage language learners´ ethnolinguistic identity, might contribute to perpetuating linguistic ideologies of exclusion by focusing on appropriateness. I will elaborate on how a truly empowering pedagogy anchored in critical language awareness and critical pedagogy (Freire; Parra, 2016) can provide us and our students with essential tools to help unveil monoglossic and prescriptive linguistic ideologies with their underlying discriminatory and oppressive social practices. Such a framework can help keep our own practice in check while providing students with the necessary tools to help them not only question but also change oppressive power structures.
I will end with a brief description of ways to integrate key concepts of sociolinguistics, critical language awareness, and critical pedagogy in the design of activities for a more inclusive HL classroom, one where US Spanish and multilingual practices and repertoires are freed from monolinguistic deficit perspectives of language acquisition.


For more information about the keynote of this workshop please click here 

To learn more about the “Language and Identity” Series click here




18:30-18:50 (15 min talk+ 5 min Q&A)

Jeconiah Dreisbach (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, PhD Candidate)

 An Ethnographic Linguistic Landscape Analysis of Transnational Migrant Spaces: A Study on the Filipino Community in the United Arab Emirates

18:50-19:10 (15 min talk+ 5 min Q&A)

Yao Sun (University of Oxford, DPhil Candidate)

“Apologies for My Ese-Kansai-Dialect”: Language Ideologies and Language Ownership of Kansai Dialect in Online Space

19:10-19:30(15 min talk+ 5 min Q&A)

Diana Romero (Columbia University, PhD, Lecturer)

Critical Sociolinguistics in the Spanish as a Heritage Language (HL) Classroom: Empowering Heritage Spanish Learners Ethnolinguistic Identity


Speaker Profile


Jeconiah Dreisbach
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, PhD Candidate


Yao Sun
University of Oxford, DPhil Candidate


Diana Romero
Columbia University, PhD, Lecturer


Maria Telegina
Project Assistant Professor, Tokyo College, The University of Tokyo

Organized by Tokyo College, The University of Tokyo

Upcoming Events

International Women’s Day Symposium “Understanding Feminist Movements Across Borders: Building Transnational Solidarity”


Friday, 31 March 2023, 10:00-11:30 am

In honor of International Women’s Day, Tokyo College’s “Gender, Sexuality & Identity” collaborative research group will host a panel that will explore the role of translation in practices of transnational feminist solidarity. Panelists will discuss the recent protests in Iran for “Woman, Life, Freedom” as a case study for contemplating how women led movements may be translated into different contexts to facilitate multi-directional relationships of learning and solidarity.

Animals, Disasters, and Mountains: Rethinking Environmental Humanities (Prof. Haruo SHIRANE )


Tuesday, 4 April 2023, 4:00-5:30 pm

What is the relationship of humans to animals and to mountains in Japanese culture? To natural disasters? How can these complex relationships help us generate an environmental ethics relevant to the present? Shirane proposes an “ecology of disaster, afterlives, and rebirth” as a means to rethink the relationship of the human to the non-human.

Japan’s Language Policy and Assumptions about Learner Identities: Promotion of English Language Teaching for Japanese and Japanese Language Teaching for Foreigners (ft. Dr Kayoko Hashimoto)


Monday, 17 April 2023, 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm (JST)

The embedded notion of the inseparable relationship between the nation, the language, and the people has shaped Japan’s language policy. In this talk, Dr.Kayoko Hashimoto (The University of Queensland) discusses how learners’ identity has been constructed in so-called “English education” in Japan and how learners’ identity has been assumed in the promotion of Japanese language teaching overseas.

Loanwords and Japanese Identity: Inundating or Absorbed?


Wednesday, 19 April 2023, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm JST

Is our language inundated by loanwords? Or is it being enriched by absorbing foreign vocabulary? We often hear such discussions in contemporary Japan. Loanwords and Japanese Identity: Inundating or Absorbed? explores the relationship between language and identity through an examination of public attitudes towards lexical borrowing in the Japanese language.

Cancer research – Inspiration from the Nobel Prizes (Lecture by Prof. Carl-Henrik HELDIN)


Saturday, 22 April 2023, 4:00-5:30 pm (Doors open: 3:30 pm)

During the last 122 years, almost 1000 Nobel Prizes have been awarded in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace. The Nobel Laureates and their great achievements are a tremendous source of inspiration, including for cancer research aiming at understanding why and how we get cancer, and how it can be treated, which is the theme of the presentation.

Previous Events

“Chromosome Function and Maintenance – Propagating Life” (Prof. Camilla BJÖRKEGREN)


Friday, 10 March 2023, 4:00-5:30 pm

Prof. Björkegren’s research focuses on the helical nature of DNA. The lecture will give a background to this analysis, presenting the structure and function of chromosomal DNA and how these features influence cellular growth. This will set the stage for a final discussion on how and if the organization of the hereditary material into a double stranded helix shapes the identity and development of our cells.

Exploring the Changing Perceptions of Masculinity in Asia and Beyond through the Lens of Sociolinguistics (ft. Dr. HIRAMOTO Mie)


Wednesday, 1 March 2023, 15:00-16:00

In this presentation, Dr. HIRAMOTO Mie explores the changing ideas of masculinity in Asia and beyond through the lens of sociolinguistics. She focuses on the relationships between sociocultural stereotypes and masculinity ideologies, as well as the ways in which genre, style, and medium shape our understanding of these concepts. Drawing mainly on Agha’s works, the theoretical concepts of mediatization and enregisterment, as well as figures of personhood, will be employed in the analysis of three case studies.

Mary Wollstonecraft: An English Woman Observing and Writing the History of the French Revolution (Prof. Pierre SERNA)


Monday, 27 February 2023, 4:00-5:30 pm

The general public is more familiar with Mary Wollstonecraft’s daughter Mary Shelley, who imagined Frankenstein as a monstrous metaphor of modernity. Historians are also aware that Mary Wollstonecraft died giving birth to Mary Shelley.
However, among scholars, the two texts of Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Men as a response to Edmund Burke and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, are of foremost importance. In this lecture, Prof. Serna will introduce another less-known and long-depreciated text titled An Historical and Moral View of the French Revolution; and the Effect it Has Produced in Europe. He intends to show that it is one of the first great histories of the French Revolution, proposing a new narrative and a new historiographic epistemology.

Affective (Kansei) Robotics in Japan: Designing and Programming Gender and Emotions in Humanoid Robots (ft. Prof. Jennifer ROBERTSON)


Monday, 20 February 2023, 4:00-5:30 PM

A number of humanoid robots in Japan have been supplied with gender and emotions, qualities that are stereotyped and greatly simplified in order to create algorithms. Artificial intelligence (AI), which is comprised of numerous algorithms, is useful for tasks that rely on pattern recognition, but AI can also perpetuate and reproduce the everyday social biases of their human designers. In this presentation, Prof. Jennifer Robertson discusses these robots and the implications that their design has for other industries, including surveillance.

Life Support: Youth, Life and Viability in Rural North India (Lecture and film screening)


Wednesday, 8 February 2023, 4:00-5:30pm

Professor Craig Jeffrey and Associate Professor Jane Dyson will show how young people in rural Uttarakhand, north India, attempt to make viable lives as they respond to environmental and socio-economic crises and engage in everyday social action. They will also screen Professor Dyson’s documentary film Spirit, which explores related themes.