Research Project 4

Following an “orientation” session for our first class, in this week’s Research Project 4G we had our first content-based lesson. We read a Japanese essay by Levy Hideo in which he quotes a rather old-fashioned sounding piece of English prose. It was written by the famous Japanese novelist, Natsume Soseki. According to Levy, in the Meiji era, people knowing and using multiple languages was nothing extraordinary. It is only during the 20th century that we have become so attached to ideas like “mother tongue” and “native speaker”. We took Levy’s essay as a springboard to think about what makes “border-crossing” today different from “border-crossing” in the past. This focus on a historical perspective is something we will work on throughout the Fall semester. Next week we’ll be reading a short story by Natsume Soseki ourselves to think about this question in greater depth.