Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Professor Ian G Malcolm

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan Kaldor

Third Advisor

Dr. Graham McKay


This study was designed to investigate the nature of English as an International Language (ElL) in Japan from both a diachronic and a synchronic point of view, drawing some comparison with countries in South East Asia and Africa. Using comparative material from socio-historical and sociolinguistic literature from other countries it was possible to examine the use and cultivation of English in Japan and compare it with that in other countries where English fulfils different roles. The material on Japan was supplemented by research based on data obtained from questionnaires both at the high school level and within business corporations. From a diachronic point of view the study tried to determine a range of factors which have contributed to the cultivation of English in Japan and to understand how they have influenced policies related to language planning within Japan, In particular it sought to clarify the relationship of English to the process of modernisation against the background of the wider role of English as an international language. From a synchronic point of view the study sought indicators as to the success of teaching and learning English as a performance variety in Japan. It has considered how such success or failure is affected by language-in education planning both on the part of the Ministry of Education (Mombusho) and of other bodies. Furthermore the study sought to understand how the substantial Japanese participation rate in studying English at both education and business levels contributes to the spread of English worldwide. Finally, the study tried to formulate a broader definition of ElL, assuming the fact that ElL is not a variety but a status designation of various Englishes in the present world.