Early-Career Scholar Forum

Mediatized Language and the Reification of Everyday Stereotypes in Fiction: Katakana Transformation and “Foreigner” Characters

Friday, 16 September 2022 | 12:15 - 13:00 (JST)
Zoom Meeting
  • Hannah Dahlberg-Dodd Tokyo College, the University of Tokyo
  • Sawako Shirahase TCJS Director
Event Description

Language use in popular media is inherently “metadiscursive,” providing linguists with insights into the ideological and semiotic processes involved in structuring discourse for a given genre, context, and imagined audience. In other words, we can think of mediatized language as reflecting simultaneously the linguistic stereotypes held by the creators and what stereotypes those creators believe will be found acceptable by the intended audience. This presentation explores this relationship between language ideology and scripted language through the lens of “foreigner” characters in fictional settings. More specifically, I discuss how katakana’s long-time use as a way to represent linguistic disfluency has evolved as a means of designating a speaking character as “foreign,” both in everyday settings and beyond.

About the Speaker

Hannah Dahlberg-Dodd is a Project Researcher in Tokyo College at the University of Tokyo. Her research is primarily concerned with language use in popular media and how that language relates to broader sociocultural ideologies. Some of her recent publications include “Katakana the Mediatized Other: Script Variation in Fantastical Narratives” (Japanese Studies, 2022), O-jōsama kotoba and a stylistics of same-sex desire in Japanese yuri narratives” (Mechademia, 2020), and “Voices of the Hero: Dominant masculine ideologies through the speech of Japanese shōnen protagonists” (Gender and Language, 2018).