‘It’s a pity that they have to choose between French and English’: Language ideologies at a Japanese overseas school in Belgium

Yuta Mogi

Abstract

This article is based on my doctoral research, a qualitative study of a nihonjingakkō in Belgium where students choose either English or French after primary 3rd year. Nihonjingakkō is a full-time day school for children of Japanese sojourners. The study investigates the complex language ideologies circulating in the school. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the school principal and language teachers, and were supplemented by other datasets such as questionnaires and analysis of teaching materials. Drawing on the conceptual framework of imagined communities (Anderson 1991; Kanno & Norton, 2003), this paper attempts to illuminate the fact that English receives higher language status than French. However, this article will mainly focus on English. To conclude, Japan’s school and university entrance examination system can be seen to make students lose interest in learning foreign languages other than English.

Keywords

Belgium, English, French, Japan’s Overseas School Education, language ideologies

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