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Anglicisms, globalisation, and performativity in Japanese hip-hop


By: Yasutaka Hiwatari

This paper explores anglicisms in Japanese popular culture in the light of recent theoretical development of globalisation and performativity. The study of language contact in Japan is far from new in sociolinguistics, where the contact between Japanese and English has been mainly examined in terms of borrowings. However, this work historically focused on the categorisations and stylistic functions of loan words, and so foreclosed any appreciation of how anglicisms are produced to construct new meanings.

Pennycook’s treatment on hip-hop music (2003), based on globalisation and performativity, opens up a new way of viewing the phenomenon of borrowing. This paper builds on Pennycook’s research, aiming to identify 1. how anglicisms project multidimensional identities in Japanese hip-hop music, 2. what relationships pertain between globalisation and the process of constructing identities through anglicisms, and 3. what the characteristics of language as a transmodal performance in popular culture are. This paper suggests that use of anglicisms refashions identities in Japanese popular culture, and draws attention to the way that globalisation becomes a force to provoke such refashioning.

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