It seems to me that people living in Japan regard studying English or other foreign languages as an activity to go “outside” of the Japanese culture: special occasions, such as overseas travel, study abroad, business trips, or international exchange programs. This may be because the Japanese language is spoken by so many people in Japan that we can make ourselves understood in Japanese concerning anything, that is, shopping, studying in school, etc. However, in the world, it is not obvious if the whole neighborhood communicates with each other in one common language.
Pakistan, the field of my research, is a multiethnic and multilingual society. There is neither a specific ethnic group called Pakistani nor a language called the Pakistani language. In this country, there are several ethnic groups with various physical appearances and origins, and there are 30–60 spoken languages. These languages include several endangered minority languages and spoken languages in which no newspaper or journal is published. The national language established by the Pakistani constitution is Urdu, and the official language is English.
Emiko Sunaga(須永 恵美子)
Project Research Fellow at The Uehiro Project for the Asian Research Library (U-PARL) of the University of Tokyo Library System
B.A. in Foreign Studies (Urdu), Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
Ph.D. in Area Studies, Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University
“The Formation and Transfiguration of Contemporary Pakistan: Islamic Revival and Urdu Culture,” Nakanishiya Shuppan, Kyoto, December 2014 (in Japanese).
My study is about the relationship between languages, society, and religions in Pakistan. As I do research in Area Studies, a field investigating the knowledge about a specific area, my studies require me to constantly do field investigations. The COVID-19 pandemic has prevented me from going to Pakistan, but that has shifted my attention toward languages exchanged in virtual spaces.