The scope of Bilingualism in Japan

Original print publication: Japan Journal of Multilingualism and Multiculturalism, 1 (1), 36-43 (1995).


Defining the scope of the Bilingualism N-SIG*

(* A National SIG or research group of the
Japan Association for Language Teaching)

by Steve McCarty

Introduction and Purpose

Bilingualism can be seen as a branch of applied linguistics, a discipline with a canon of literature. Generally, it is the study of languages in contact, within, between and among individuals as well as groups such as families and societies. But what specific topics or areas of study are within the purview of bilingualism? Where does it border on or interact with other disciplines? For instance, where languages are in contact, does the study of the cultural factors involved belong to other disciplines or to bilingualism? Moreover, how and why are the concerns of bilingualism in Japan the same or different from those manifested elsewhere?

There is a Bilingualism N-SIG in JALT with about 200 members now because of the recognition that networking and sharing information in terms of this discipline can be helpful, among others for parents struggling to raise children bilingually in Japan. Language teachers know that theory and research inform practice, yet given our limited pedagogical results today, educators in this N-SIG recognize how much more of value there must be to learn about bilingualism. Thus our N-SIG officers and researchers do not have all the answers, for we are searching ourselves. Yet through surveys such as the one reported here, we have the benefit of researching each other.

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the scope of bilingualism, both as a worldwide discipline and as applied to the needs of foreign language teachers in Japan. By finding out the relative level of interest and relevance perceived by members in regard to areas of study possibly related to bilingualism, the N-SIG will gain some objective data by which to orient its activities in the future. Actually this is the second of two related investigations, both hypothesizing the same 27 areas of study in terms of which the scope and priorities of bilingualism might be discerned. The first was a "Citation Analysis of Bilingualism N-SIG Publications," which appeared in the bimonthly newsletter of this N-SIG, Bilingual Japan, Vol. 4, No. 4 (July/August 1995), pp. 7-10 (see also pp. 1-2). Those details cannot be repeated in this limited space and, by the same token, what follows are concise research notes. Nevertheless, there will be cross-references to the first investigation to shed light on what can be concluded from the second one presented here. With all the related questions not given full justice, readers are urged to draw their own conclusions from the data and help further define the mission of the Bilingualism N-SIG.

The Bilingualism Survey

A survey was sent to 83 Bilingualism N-SIG members in June, 1995, and 38 have been returned, a response rate of 45.6%. With limited research funds, however, the survey could not be sent to all members, so there was some selectivity toward longer standing members. Newer members not receiving a survey may have been spared a daunting task or the implied assumption of expertise, as people are welcome to join the N-SIG at first just to learn about bilingualism and our network. Thus, rather than making any claims for the response rate, let us later see what the results indicate about the expertise of the informants. For objective knowledge of bilingualism was sought along with, in effect, a data base of members' interests. The respondents are to be thanked, and they have represented the N-SIG through their input, which will be taken seriously in charting the future course of the Bilingualism N-SIG.

Now let us look closely at the survey instrument: four questions asked of each of 27 areas of study possibly related to bilingualism. The 27 areas are presented alphabetically as they appeared on the survey sheet, but to each category is added in parentheses the abbreviation used in the table of results to follow.


The Bilingualism Survey

Objective, general questions:
1A. How do you think these areas of study are related to the discipline of bilingualism?
1Aa: A central or integral part
1Ab: A minor or peripheral aspect
1Ac: Closer to another discipline
1Ad: Do not know
1B. Do you think these areas of study belong within the scope of Bilingualism N-SIG concerns?
1Ba: Central or integral to our scope
1Bb: A minor or peripheral area
1Bc: Not of particular concern to us
1Bd: Cannot decide/do not know

Personal, professional questions:
2A. How deeply are you interested in these areas of study?
2Aa: Very or actively interested
2Ab: Willing to learn about it
2Ac: Not especially interested
2B. In what ways are you interested in these areas of study?
2Ba: As an individual or student
2Bb: As a parent or spouse
2Bc: As a language teacher
2Bd: As a researcher or to publish
2Be: As a past or possible presenter

Some Possible Areas of Study:
Adult bilingual development, e.g. sequential, not balanced (Adult)
Biculturalism/biculturality/acculturation/cultural identity (Biculturalism)
Bilingual childraising methods, transmitting parents' L1 or L2 (Childraising)
Bilingual education in schools overseas (Bil Ed abroad)
Bilingual or minority language education in schools in Japan (Schools here)
Bilingualism in applied linguistics/applied to FL/SL teaching (FL teaching)
Bilingualism programs in universities, graduate schools (Univ progs)
Bilingualism-related organizations/networks (Networks)
Biliteracy/minority language reading (Biliteracy)
Brain organization/neurolinguistics (Brain)
Childhood bilingual development, e.g. simultaneous, balanced (Childhood)
Family bilingualism/international families (Family)
Individual bilinguality/cognitive effects/psycholinguistics (Individual)
Intercultural communication (Intercultural)
Japanese-English/English-Japanese bilinguality and bilingualism (English-Jpse)
Language attrition/shift/loss (Attrition/loss)
Language processing/interference/code-switching/code-mixing (Processing)
Language pathologies, e.g. aphasia (Pathologies)
Language policy/planning/administration/history/politics (Policy)
Maintenance, e.g., of returnees' L2, immigrants' or minorities' L1 (Maintenance)
Minority language educational materials, e.g. picture books, videos (Materials)
Minority language home education, Saturday schools, play groups (Home Ed)
Multilingualism/combinations other than Japanese and English (Multilingual)
Second language acquisition/age-related factors, e.g. critical period (SLA)
Societal bilingualism/sociolinguistics/dialects/diglossia/conflicts (Societal)
Theory/methodology/definitions/measurement, e.g. of bilinguality (Theory)
Translation/interpretation (Translation)
Other: _____ (Other/gen'l [Bilingualism in general or sources thereof])



Four questions were asked regarding 27 areas of study hypothesized as related to bilingualism, plus an optional "Other." At the risk of considerable overlap and hardship for the informants, the aim was to be thorough and to go somewhat beyond the scope of bilingualism for its borders to be discerned. The survey results should help to refine the categories, combining or discarding some of them, toward a more definitive taxonomy of bilingualism for language teaching in Japan.
Respondents were asked to check one box for items 1A, 1B & 2A, and zero to five boxes for item 2B on the survey sheet. Zero was an option particularly for those who chose c for item 2A. The formula to rank the importance to members of the areas of study will disregard blank spaces along with indecisive choices such as 1Ad and 1Bd or checks in between two boxes. The ranking of combined interest and relevance of the areas of study will be calculated simply by subtracting unequivocally negative choices from unequivocally positive ones. That is, the 27 areas of study will be ranked in importance to members in Table 1 according to the following formula: (1Ba - 1Bc) + (2Aa - 2Ac) = CR (Combined Rating of Relevance & Interest). Ties would be broken by a larger total 2B, the sum of all the facets of interest enumerated in items 2Ba-2Be.

In parentheses next to each area of study ranked in the results is the number of times out of a total 205 this area was focused upon in BNSIG-sponsored publications or conference presentations since 1990, according to the "Citation Analysis of Bilingualism N-SIG Publications" (CA in the table of results). The three boldface abbreviations CA, CR and 2B will appear in Table 1 in addition to the totals for each survey item.

Differences of more than three between corresponding items in 1A and 1B will be underlined, indicating that the area of study is perceived as being more relevant either to bilingualism abroad or to our N-SIG in Japan. The largest number in each item will be italicized, indicating that informants are most in agreement on this point.

Table 1
Bilingualism Survey Results

Areas of Study ranked according to CR, Combined Rating of Relevance and Interest


(CA) 1Aa 1Ab 1Ac 1Ba 1Bb 1Bc 2Aa 2Ab 2Ac CR 2Ba 2Bb 2Bc 2Bd 2Be 2B

Childhood (12) 36 0 0 36 1 0 32 4 1 67 16 28 11 17 9 81
English-Jpse (13) 29 6 0 35 0 0 30 4 0 65 26 24 19 11 7 87
Family
(8) 29 3 1 35 2 0 28 8 1 62 17 32 8 12 9 78
Biculturalism
(8) 30 4 0 30 5 0 29 5 1 58 23 25 19 17 8 92
Childraising
(45) 32 5 0 31 5 0 28 4 3 56 15 29 7 9 9 69
Processing
(2) 32 3 1 29 7 0 27 8 2 54 20 21 20 14 5 80
Schools here
(5) 30 6 1 30 5 0 24 10 3 51 9 19 17 12 3 60
Biliteracy
(20) 29 6 1 30 5 1 21 12 2 48 12 27 16 12 8 75
Networks
(2) 22 13 0 28 7 0 21 12 3 46 18 20 12 7 2 59
Home Ed
(3) 22 9 2 26 10 0 22 10 4 44 10 26 10 9 6 61
SLA
(0) 28 3 4 24 9 2 23 10 2 43 12 13 16 12 4 57
Individual
(3) 30 3 2 25 7 1 20 13 3 41 18 11 15 12 5 61
Attrition/loss
(1) 26 7 3 22 11 2 21 13 2 39 21 20 18 10 6 75
Theory
(6) 32 2 1 28 7 0 15 15 5 38 17 8 15 13 2 55
Materials
(12) 18 13 3 21 15 0 20 12 4 37 11 23 12 4 4 54
Maintenance
(12) 25 9 3 25 12 0 17 16 5 37 10 12 18 6 5 51
Adult
(0) 30 2 2 23 9 2 13 20 3 31 23 8 20 7 2 60
Intercultural
(10) 19 6 10 21 9 7 19 13 4 29 21 22 22 11 7 83
FL teaching
(1) 24 6 3 21 9 4 13 18 4 26 8 6 19 5 2 40
Societal
(6) 26 6 3 18 13 4 17 12 6 25 16 10 16 14 4 60
Multilingual
(10) 29 6 1 20 12 2 9 16 10 17 15 8 12 11 3 49
Bil Ed abroad
(2) 23 14 1 15 11 7 10 18 7 11 9 15 14 5 1 44
Brain
(2) 11 9 10 9 19 5 13 12 10 7 14 9 14 9 3 49
Univ progs
(5) 18 13 2 11 16 5 7 22 8 5 10 3 15 5 0 33
Policy
(7) 19 11 5 12 17 4 7 17 12 3 11 6 15 6 2 40
Translation
(0) 7 13 15 6 11 16 10 12 11 -9 22 6 11 3 1 43
Pathologies
(0) 3 10 21 2 16 13 6 15 14 -19 10 3 7 7 2 29
Other/gen'l
(10)

Totals 659 188 95 613 250 75 502 331 131 414 434 398 260 119 1625



Discussion of the Results


Before detailing each area of study ranked above according to its Combined Rating of Interest and Relevance (CR), let us look at the results overall. First, in considering the questions calling for objective knowledge of bilingualism, what do the results indicate about the informants themselves in terms of expertise and hence reliability? With five facets of interest (2Ba-e) distinguished for each of the 27 categories suggested, the total number of boxes that could be checked for item 2B in the survey was 27 x 5 = 135. The total facets of interest indicated must then total between zero and 38 x 135 or 5,130. Informants actually checked 1,625 boxes in total for item 2B, indicating an average of 42.8 facets of interest per respondent. That is, informants checked 31.7% of all the possible boxes in item 2B. The informants thus showed a remarkable extent of multifaceted interest in the topics hypothesized.


The total of item 2Bd in particular, interest as a researcher or to publish, was 260 out of a possible 1,026 or an average of 6.84 areas of research per respondent. By another measure, 25 out of 38 respondents showed interest in researching bilingualism.


Item 2Be elicited interest in the areas of study as a past or possible presenter, and 19 or fully half of the respondents indicated a total of 119 areas on which they could give a presentation. Furthermore, there were respondents who would consider presenting on all but one of the 27 areas suggested.


Regarding the Bilingualism N-SIG as a whole, we know that there are even more than 19 potential presenters. A number of past presenters were not included or shied away from indicating their ability to present. There must also be others who are researching areas of bilingualism but did not receive a survey. They have been encouraged to request a survey sheet from the Bilingualism N-SIG Chair for follow-up studies and to help complete a data base of potential speakers nationwide.


Continuing with the overall results, we can gauge the extent to which items were left blank, undecided or not known, by looking at the totals for items 1A, 1B and 2A, then subtracting the mean number of responses from the total number of respondents for each item. Placing topics within the purview of our N-SIG (item 1B) might seem more difficult than relating them to the discipline of bilingualism (item 1A), but the total for 1B was only four fewer. The depth of interest (item 2A) predictably had the fewest blanks, with a mean of nearly 35 responses out of 38 respondents. Whereas the mean was nearly 34 for item 1A and nearly 33 for item 1B, perhaps the most difficult to decide. The informants as a whole thus gave unambiguous responses to over 90% of these three items.


One might expect bilingualism in Japan, as indicated by item 1B, to be narrower than the whole discipline (item 1A), but how much so? Again, taking only unequivocal responses, (1Aa - 1Ac) - (1Ba - 1Bc) = 24, a small difference compared to 38 respondents. Although many more items were considered minor or peripheral to our N-SIG (250 for item 1Bb vs. 188 for item 1Ab), according to the above equation the perceived scope of bilingualism in Japan touches upon 95.4% of the discipline as a whole.


On the other hand, how (and why) does bilingualism differ in Japan? Most of the literature, which could not be reviewed in this space, tends to emanate from Europe, Canada and the U.S. Then there is the whole infrastructure of bilingual education in such places, including some controversial issues. Among the countries not included in the above image of bilingualism, Japan is relatively large and the most wealthy. Although its monocultural reputation is founded more on ideology, pluralism in Japan does involve a relatively tiny minority. Through such observations we can distinguish between bilingualism in Japan and elsewhere, while Japan shares some characteristics with countries where English and other non-native tongues are generally learned as a foreign rather than as a second language or via bilingual education.


To bring some objective data to bear on the above matter, let us examine the items underlined in the table of results where the situation in Japan is seen as different from abroad. Near the top with CR = 65, Japanese and English are clearly of more interest in Japan, while multilingualism (CR = 17) is more relevant abroad. Bilingual education abroad (CR = 11) is not of great interest to the respondents. Family bilingualism, networks, home education and materials are perceived as more important in Japan, presumably because of the foreign language environment. Theory, SLA, university programs, individual and adult bilingualism are of moderate interest but less in Japan than abroad. Combined with the higher rating for children's concerns, the imperative in Japan could be seen as more practical than academic.


If there is significance in the figures for language attrition/loss, it was seen as more relevant abroad, yet members showed a multifaceted interest in it (2B = 75). There are relatively few immigrants in Japan to be threatened by subtractive bilingualism (L2 replacing L1), while the situation the respondents tend to perceive here is not folk but elite bilingualism with additive phenomena such as cognitive benefits within reach.


Societal bilingualism and language policy are also perceived as more important abroad, perhaps indicating a reluctance to fight city hall in a country like Japan, with enough intercultural negotiations on the home front. For foreigners there is a delicate balance to be sought between assimilation and cultural imperialism.


Brain organization and pathologies had quite differing results, though they could perhaps be more profitably combined. These results could therefore be considered inconclusive. After going through each area of study as ranked, there will be some categories to review, combine or discard from our purview.


Next, what do the highest figures in each grouping tell us, besides that the respondents are of a consensus? Among the facets of interest 2Ba-e, the total interested in bilingualism as a parent or spouse (2Bb) was the highest, followed closely by 2Ba (as an individual or student) and then 2Bc (as a language teacher), but the totals in all categories could be considered remarkably high.


As an individual or student, English and Japanese scored highest, reflecting the concern of the parent or teacher for his or her example as a bilingual. As a parent or spouse it was family bilingualism, the explicit profile of 32 out of 38 respondents. As a language teacher it was intercultural communication, quite an interesting finding. As a researcher or to publish, biculturalism was tied with childhood bilingual development, which, like the previous items, shows how the cultural concomitants of bilingualism are all-pervasive and crucial to the linguistic factors. As a past or possible presenter, bilingual childraising, family bilingualism and childhood bilingual development revealed nine potential presenters, while there were eight for both biliteracy and biculturalism, with seven for intercultural communication as well as English and Japanese. These findings profile the expertise of the N-SIG members responding.


Now, turning to a discussion of each area of study as ranked, to avoid repetition let us continually refer back to the table of results. The ranking will be in the same order, but this time they will be numbered from 1 to 27. Then, in parentheses following, rather than the number of entries found in the Citation Analysis, they will be similarly ranked from 1 to 23 with (X) meaning that there were no entries for those four categories. In this way we can compare the relative interest and relevance of each topic with the relative amount of attention it has received thus far in our publications and conference presentations.


The combined interest and relevance levels go down very gradually, so there are neither clear groupings nor a significant difference to be claimed for adjacent items. Most areas of study as formulated earn a more or less positive rating, but relative priorities can be discerned in the range of CR scores from plus 67 to minus 19.



1 (4). Childhood bilingual development. This categorization may be most highly rated because of its breadth, or because it represents a perspective by which members would most like the N-SIG to be oriented. The examples given of simultaneous or balanced bilingual acquisition could be seen as ideals to aim for, not without difficulties. Interest was multifaceted, as shown by items 2Ba-e, but highest as a parent or spouse. Considering its overlap with several other categories rated highly, this topic has not lacked attention in our publications. Compared to the much less positive rating for adult concerns, however, childhood bilingual development may now be seen as providing a conceptual framework central to the mission of this N-SIG.


2 (3). Japanese-English/English-Japanese bilinguality and bilingualism. This category could be seen as including adults as well as children, academic as well as practical concerns with these two languages. While in the Citation Analysis it was difficult to quantify this category, the Bilingualism Survey shows that the N-SIG would do well to explicitly focus on English and Japanese while also welcoming the study of other language combinations. Interest is deep and multifaceted, particularly in the three capacities of individual or student, parent or spouse, and language teacher, for a total of 87 facets of interest indicated. Only this item had no responses placing it at the periphery of the bilingualism discipline or of this N-SIG, and it was unanimously considered central or integral to our scope.


3 (10). Family bilingualism/international families. There is much overlap with other categories and its coverage in our publications is difficult to quantify. Intermarriage is often part of the equation here. Perceived relevance to bilingualism and the N-SIG is higher than members' interest, and it is chiefly as a parent or spouse where this topic scores highest.


It might be noted in passing that all these topics are objects of study regardless of the personal situation of members. Although most respondents to this survey fit a certain profile, the N-SIG wishes to welcome everyone interested in this area of applied linguistics regardless of their marital status.


4 (10). Biculturalism/biculturality/acculturation/cultural identity.
While the Citation Analysis was inconclusive, the Bilingualism Survey results place the cultural concomitants of bilingualism firmly within our purview. Interest is deep and multifaceted, with the highest overall number of facets of interest indicated (92), including many willing to research or present on this challenging area. Now our N-SIG can unreservedly identify with biculturalism along with bilingualism and develop this dual focus.


5 (1). Bilingual childraising methods, transmitting parents' L1 or L2. This area was overwhelmingly first in BNSIG written publications, while here it is not far from the top in interest and relevance. Its scores resemble those of item 3 above on families, but not everyone is presently involved with childraising. Though this topic was second to biliteracy in the number of conference presentations sponsored by the BNSIG since 1990, here it is tied for the largest number of possible presenters among the informants.


6 (19). Language processing/interference/code-switching/code-mixing. Although there is some overlap with other categories, here we could say that the area has been relatively neglected in our publications, as members show wide interest in it. Research findings on how and why language mixing occurs could help dispel the common misconception that children should be spared the confusion of learning more than one language at once.


7 (15). Bilingual or minority language education in schools in Japan. One suggestion by an informant in the "Other" category was to add the education of language minority students in Japanese schools. Let us instead broaden this item to encompass schools in Japan, as opposed to home education, spanning such topics as immersion, international schools, language minority students in mainstream Japanese schools, and the school system in Japan. Even as presented, the topic scored highly in relevance, and was of particular interest to members as parents and as language teachers. Seeing that it ranked 15th in the citation analysis, here is another topic to accord more attention in our future publications.


8 (2). Biliteracy/minority language reading. In the Citation Analysis this area was first in conference presentations and second in written publications. Here it is of much interest to members as parents, and is seen as relevant to bilingualism, but the interest level is not so high. Perhaps as one skill its score is limited, but literacy is known to reinforce language acquisition and maintenance. There is no problem of any topic being overrepresented in BNSIG publications. Biliteracy will remain an area of relevance and interest.


9 (19). Bilingualism-related organizations/networks. This is not an area within the study of bilingualism per se, but members living in Japan do find networks of relevance and considerable interest. The N-SIG itself is a network for information exchange and mutual supportiveness, but there could be more explicit attention to this area in our publications.


10 ( 17). Minority language home education, Saturday schools, play groups. As with school education in Japan, home education has not received attention in our publications in proportion to its importance. Members find this area of high relevance to the N-SIG and of fairly high interest, although a bulk of it is as a parent.


11 (X). Second language acquisition/age-related factors. This area has not been addressed in our publications, yet members find it integral to bilingualism. Correlating the Citation Analysis results, however, with no entries in this area, and considering that the informants are language teachers, a closer look is needed into how second language acquisition research (SLAR) relates to bilingualism. SLA might be viewed as an area of research whose findings inform both classroom language teaching and the broader development of bilingualism.


12 (17). Individual bilinguality/cognitive effects/psycholinguistics. Individual bilinguality includes children, but concerns specifically for the latter were rated more highly. This area was considered highly relevant but not so deeply of interest, perhaps because the category as presented was complex and specialized. To the individual level of bilingualism, recognized as distinct from the societal, has been added a representative issue and a methodological approach suitable to this psychological area. The purpose of this combination was to distinguish the category from several others with which it would overlap. Psycholinguistics is not subsumed under bilingualism but serves as an auxiliary discipline to it at the individual level.


13 (23). Language attrition/shift/loss. Language attrition and loss have not been neglected in our publications, but tend to be the downside of areas such as maintenance, particularly for returnees (kikoku shijo). In that sense more explicit attention to this area might be in order. Interest is moderately high and multifaceted. One scenario relates to cognitive effects in the above item. Language shift in individuals immigrating to Japan in early childhood without a valorized L1 and changing to Japanese would raise the specter of subtractive folk bilingualism in a country where additive elite bilingualism seems to be the norm. Both the upside and the downside thus need more research.


14 (13). Theory/methodology/definitions/measurement. High relevance was recognized, but considerable disinterest was also shown. The practical applications of bilingualism are evidently an imperative as compared with more academic concerns scoring in the lower half of the 27 areas of study suggested. Stephen Ryan has noted in private correspondence that there is a distinction between a research group and a research-based group such as our N-SIG. Members can network and learn about all these areas of bilingualism without being obliged to engage in such research.


15 (4). Minority language educational materials. In this foreign as opposed to second language environment, L2 materials such as videos and picture books cannot receive too much attention in our publications. Here the moderately high interest and relevance indicated was chiefly as parents.


16 (4). Maintenance, e.g. of returnees' L2, immigrants' or minorities' L1. Here the interest was moderate and more as language teachers than any other facet. Correlating the Citation Analysis findings where it was tied for fourth, the limited interest may be a result of the most attention being given to returnees, with whom many informants do not have direct experience. Like the Hindu trinity of creator, preserver and destroyer, acquisition, maintenance and attrition are the ubiquitous trinity facing language teachers and researchers.


17 (X). Adult bilingual development. This area is acknowledged as part of the field, but it seems to lack the imperative, compared to concerns for children, to surface in our public agenda or publications. Or, because of overlap with other categories here, it may be eclipsed by specific targets such as EFL or JSL.


18 (7). Intercultural communication. In our newsletter there has been criticism of the intercultural training school of thought which developed out of the intercultural communication discipline amid the explosive growth of cross-cultural commerce. There was thus some question whether this area was within our purview as an N-SIG, but this and biculturalism were two of the top three in total facets of interest indicated. Without attempting to swallow the discipline whole, as it were, we can draw from intercultural communication as an auxiliary discipline to develop our knowledge of culture and communication as they relate to bilingualism and language teaching in Japan.


19 (23). Bilingualism in applied linguistics/applied to FL/SL teaching. The respondents acknowledge this connection, but it does not yet appear to move them. It is rather on the frontier and may seem theoretical until it is experienced. When we develop a better knowledge of bilingualism, its role as an auxiliary discipline to language teaching may become clearer and lead to practical applications.


20 (13). Societal bilingualism/sociolinguistics. Beyond the family level the concern seems to become less acute and more cautious. Sociolinguistics is another branch of applied linguistics, but which lends methodologies of the social sciences to bilingualism. It can serve as an auxiliary discipline to discern the social context of bilingual concerns and possibly to help navigate the way of bilinguals in society. Therefore it may be better for the N-SIG not to shy away from social issues but to bring academic rigor to bear on them.


21 (7). Multilingualism/combinations other than Japanese and English. As the Citation Analysis also indicates, the N-SIG welcomes the treatment of other language combinations while giving the most attention to English and Japanese due to our historical circumstances.


22 (19). Bilingual education in schools overseas. Members realize that we have to sift through much recorded experience overseas to find how bilingual education could be applied to Japan, such as through immersion programs. Members may therefore prefer to try and design our own future, as it were, here in Japan.


23 (19). Brain organization/neurolinguistics. The relation of this new area to bilingualism met with anything but a consensus, and some reformulation may be needed. A comment from one informant leads to combining this category with the 27th and last, Language pathologies such as aphasia. Their combined rating might then be more positive, i.e. that this constitutes a border region of bilingualism to match its pioneer status. It may be helpful to see neurolinguistics functioning as an auxiliary discipline to bilingualism here, even while it is a branch of applied linguistics and a discipline in its own right.


24 (15). Bilingualism programs in universities, graduate schools. This area might be considered academic in the pedantic sense, but many parameters can be set more reliably by the community of scholars than otherwise. The most attention and funding has accrued to bilingual education, but courses do exist on bilingualism per se, with textbooks representative of the discipline. This was the only area that did not elicit a potential presenter, and specifics about such programs have not yet appeared in our publications, all the more reason to call for such information.


25 (12). Language policy/planning/administration/history/politics. These topics are acknowledged as part of the discipline but do not engage many members actively. Again this may manifest a reluctance to delve into social issues. As an alternative formulation, regardless of social activism, these topics might combine with Societal bilingualism to form a stronger category and be seen more clearly as objects of research.


26 (X). Translation/interpretation. The combined rating of this area was negative, yet a majority found it at least peripheral to bilingualism. The nature of this work is clearly akin to bilingualism. But translators and interpreters have their own professional organizations and specialized literature. This area can thus be seen as an auxiliary discipline to bilingualism. Its methods could bolster our concerns in Japan, for example the reliability of cross-cultural investigations with similar numbers of English and Japanese native speakers, by strengthening the intercommunicability between English and Japanese.


27 (X). Language pathologies. We have seen that this category cannot stand on its own in a taxonomy of bilingualism, but it could be combined with Brain organization/neurolinguistics where it would find a link to medical science. At the same time, the growing body of scientific findings in this area could enhance our understanding of bilingualism.


28 (7). Other. If any category emerged in addition to the 27, it was bilingualism as a whole. The Ci