The Fall of Language in the Age of English

Hardcover | January 6, 2015

byMinae MizumuraTranslated byMari Yoshihara, Juliet Winters Carpenter

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Winner of the Kobayashi Hideo Award, The Fall of Language in the Age of English lays bare the struggle to retain the brilliance of one's own language in this period of English-language dominance. Born in Tokyo but raised and educated in the United States, Minae Mizumura acknowledges the value of a universal language in the pursuit of knowledge yet also embraces the different ways of understanding offered by multiple tongues. She warns against losing this precious diversity.

Universal languages have always played a pivotal role in advancing human societies, Mizumura shows, but in the globalized world of the Internet, English is fast becoming the sole common language of humanity. The process is unstoppable, and striving for total language equality is delusional-and yet, particular kinds of knowledge can be gained only through writings in specific languages.

Mizumura calls these writings "texts" and their ultimate form "literature." Only through literature and, more fundamentally, through the diverse languages that give birth to a variety of literatures, can we nurture and enrich humanity. Incorporating her own experiences as a writer and a lover of language and embedding a parallel history of Japanese, Mizumura offers an intimate look at the phenomena of individual and national expression.

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From the Publisher

Winner of the Kobayashi Hideo Award, The Fall of Language in the Age of English lays bare the struggle to retain the brilliance of one's own language in this period of English-language dominance. Born in Tokyo but raised and educated in the United States, Minae Mizumura acknowledges the value of a universal language in the pursuit of ...

Minae Mizumura was born in Tokyo, moved to New York at the age of twelve, and studied French literature at Yale University. Acclaimed for her audacious experimentation and skillful storytelling, Mizumura has won major literary awards for all four of her novels-one of which, A True Novel, was recently published in English. She lives in...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:January 6, 2015Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231163029

ISBN - 13:9780231163026

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Read an excerpt from "Under the Blue Sky of Iowa: Those Who Write in Their Own Language," the introduction to The Fall of Language in the Age of English

Table of Contents

Preface to the English EditionIntroduction, by Mari Yoshihara and Juliet Winters Carpenter1. Under the Blue Sky of Iowa: Those Who Write in Their Own Language2. From Par Avion to Via Air Mail: The Fall of French3. People Around the World Writing in External Languages4. The Birth of Japanese as a National Language5. The Miracle of Modern Japanese Literature6. English and National Languages in the Internet Age7. The Future of National LanguagesNotesSelected BibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

Translators Juliet Winter Carpenter and Mari Yoshihara have done a superb job of rendering [the text] into clear, readable English.