In a discussion with Jingyi Li, Christopher Joby discusses his latest book The Dutch Language in Japan (1600-1900). It is the first book-length account of the knowledge and use of the Dutch language in Tokugawa and Meiji Japan.
For most of this period, the Dutch were the only Europeans permitted to trade with Japan. Using the analytical tool of language process, this book explores the nature and consequences of contact between Dutch and Japanese and other language varieties. The processes analyzed include language learning, contact and competition, code-switching, translation, lexical, syntactic, and graphic interference, and language shift. The picture that emerges is that the multifarious uses of Dutch, especially the translation of Dutch books, would have a profound effect on the language, society, culture, and intellectual life of Japan.