The high-pitched voices and excessively polite expressions of Japanese elevator girls have long served as one of the stereotypical images of female speech abroad. Moreover, the fact that foreign students of Japanese learn gendered variations in language patterns in their classes reinforces a widespread international perception of linguistic differences between the sexes in Japan. Needless to say, many believe that distinctive female speech is not only a symbol but also a mechanism to reinforce the social oppression of Japanese women. After all, women are believed to have been fully socialized into submissive gender roles in a culture commonly associated abroad with its production of the artistic but servile geisha girl. It is no surprise, therefore, that Japanese women's speech, as Miyako Inoue, the author of this widely acclaimed study, observes, “now draws intensive international attention as indexical of how far Japan has progressed or caught up with America in terms...
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Book Review| May 01 2008
Vicarious Language: Gender and Linguistic Modernity in Japan
Vicarious Language: Gender and Linguistic Modernity in Japan. By Miyako Inoue.
Berkeley and Los Angles:
University of California Press,
Journal of Asian Studies (2008) 67 (2): 722–724.
Harald Fuess; Vicarious Language: Gender and Linguistic Modernity in Japan. Journal of Asian Studies 1 May 2008; 67 (2): 722–724. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021911808000983
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