Lexical variation in Japanese dialects revisited: Geostatistic and dialectometric analysis
Since the end of the 19th century in Japan, the official language policy enforced using Standard Japanese, based on the variety spoken in Tokyo (formerly Edo), in all official situations and in schools. Since then, Japanese dialects have been dwindling and ‘flattening’ (i.e., they retain less regional variation). Nevertheless, differences of language varieties keep being important topics and they reinforce the feeling of belonging and group formation in Japan, similarly to most languages with dialects. This study explores the spatial patterns in Japanese lexical variation based on digitised dialectal survey data (using the Linguistic Atlas of Japan) and presents first results of a dialectometric analysis, quantifying a number of factors assumed to affect lexical variation in Japanese.