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The Fall of Language in the Age of English by Minae Mizumura

Updated: Feb 12, 2019


The Fall of Language in the Age of English is a fascinating look at the rise of English as the world's universal language and the implication that has for national and local languages—and for Japanese in particular. Minae Mizumura is a force throughout, provocative and unapologetic in her often harsh assessment of the state of contemporary Japanese literature (it's easy to see how this book caused a stir in her home country). But her critiques are quite evidently borne from a deep love of her mother tongue, and her anguish over what she sees as the deterioration of the Japanese language is at times painfully palpable. Both an elegy and a call to arms, this book makes a case for safeguarding the integrity of local and national languages in an increasingly interconnected world. Translated by Mari Yoshihara and Juliet Winters Carpenter.