Language Acquisition of Mixed Roots Individuals in Japan

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Takara K. Allal, Konan University

In this study, individuals who have not only Japanese roots but also other ethnic roots (commonly referred to as haafu in Japan) were interviewed regarding their language proficiency and language acquisition experiences in Japanese society. There are high expectations in Japanese society regarding the language ability of mixed root individuals (MRIs). The aim of the study was to identify factors that influenced MRIs’ process of language acquisition. People in Japan often believe that children of international marriages can naturally and easily learn two languages. However, all MRIs interviewed said that they have experienced inferiority complexes while attempting to maintain their language abilities, while trying to improve them, or because of social friction, reflecting how their experiences with language acquisition was neither natural nor easy. Their language acquisition has been affected by the society surrounding them, and this in turn influenced psychological factors.