SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Miho Zlazli

  • Research
  • Publications


Miho Zlazli
Miho Zlazli
Email address:
Thesis title:
A case study of Master-Apprentice initiative with new speakers of Ryukyuan languages (Working Title)
Year of Study:
started September 2017 - Part-time
Internal Supervisors


I am an indigenous Ryukyuan researcher, born and raised in a minority Christian population in a village lying in the politically dominant region across the Ryukyus - Okinawa. I had an assimilated Japanese identity and a monolithic view on diverse Ryukyuan communities until I started visiting other Ryukyuan regions for my PhD research.

Several relocations to a larger city in Okinawa, Kyushu region in mainland Japan, Istanbul in Turkey, and London in England, searching for better opportunities for education and freedom; having Ryukyuan relatives in Tokyo and Osaka as well as in-law Turkish-Syrian and Arab-Kabyle families including political refugees; and my emerging Ryukyuan identity through my PhD research have made me interested in pluralistic identity of people who cross visible and invisible boundaries in the public eye.

I currently conduct collaborative autoethnography and participatory action research with new speakers of Ryukyuan languages to explore challenges of language acquisition in the context of non-standardized endangered languages as well as new speakers’ identities and what it means to be a citizen in sustainable Ryukyuan communities.

PhD Research

I conduct an action research project called MAI-Ryukyus (Master-Apprentice Initiative in Ryukyuan languages) with new speakers from different backgrounds such as people from different Ryukyuan indigenous territories in Japan or Ryukyuan diasporas across the world, incomers who live in Ryukyuan communities, and those who are interested in Ryukyuan languages, based on Leanne Hinton’s Master-Apprentice Language Learning Program. The study explores challenges of language acquisition in the context of non-standardised endangered languages, as well as new speakers’ attitudes and identity.


  • Presented 'Reframing language efflorescence from perspectives of New Speakers: a need for broad interdisciplinary collaboration' In: The 12th Symposium of the Ryukyuan Heritage Language Society, 28 March, 2021, Hosted online by Ryukyuan Heritage Language Society, Japan
  • Presented 'Effects of Gender on Language Revitalization & Documentation in the Ryukyus' In: The 7th International Conference on Language Documentation & Conservation (ICLDC) 2021, 4-7 March, 2021, Hosted online by University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, US
  • Provided Support Hours of "J100: Elementary Japanese" (2020/21) as a Graduate Teaching Assistant
  • Presented 'A Case Study of Master-Apprentice Initiative with New Speakers of Ryukyuan Languages' In: International Symposium on Autoethnography and Narrative (ISAN) 2021, 2-3 January, 2021, Hosted online by International Association of Autoethnography and Narrative Inquiry, US
  • Presented 'A Case Study of Master-Apprentice Initiative with New Speakers of Ryukyuan Languages' In: CHASE Virtual Encounters 2020, 3-4 December 2020, Hosted online by Birkbeck, University of London, UK
  • Reviewed articles for the SOAS Journal of Postgraduate Research, Vol 13 (2021)
  • Selected for a CHASE AHRC Studentship (2020/21 onwards)
  • Presented 'MAI-Ryukyus: Master-Apprentice Initiative with New Speakers of Ryukyuan languages' In: FEL 24 (2020) Teaching and Learning Resources for Endangered Languages, 23-25 September 2020, Hosted online by University College London (UCL), UK
  • Presented 'Master-Apprentice Initiative in the Ryukyu Islands' In: The 201st NINJAL Salons, 18 February 2020, Hosted by National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics, Tokyo, Japan
  • Received 600 € for the project “Master-Apprentice Initiative to promote intergenerational transmission of moribund Ryukyuan languages spoken in Japan” from the Society for Endangered Languages (GBS) in December 2019
  • Co-organised the 4th Linguistics Research Students Conference, 10-11 June 2019, at SOAS University of London
  • Joined a Field visit to the Isle of Man, 11-14 June 2018, organised by the Engaged Humanities project funded by Horizon 2020 EU


  • British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL)
  • British Association for Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language (BATJ)
  • Japanese Association of Sociolinguistic Sciences (JASS)
  • Japanese Cognitive Linguistics Association (JCLA)
  • Linguistic Society of Japan (LSJ)


  • discourse analysis
  • interdisciplinary collaboration
  • language acquisition/learning/teaching
  • language contact
  • linguistic anthropology
  • new speakers



Jump to: Articles | Others |

Zlazli, Miho (2021) 'While we are asleep: Master/Mentor-Apprentice language learning initiative in the Ryukyus'. SOAS Working Papers in Linguistics, (20), pp 142-164.

Zlazli, Miho (2021) '新しい話者の視座から見た琉球諸語の開花の取り組み (Efflorescence of Ryukyuan Languages from Perspectives of New Speakers)'. 島嶼地域科学 (Journal of Regional Science for Islands), (2), pp 163-181.


Jump to: Articles | Others |

Zlazli, Miho (2021) 'Constant fear of ostracism'. [Unpublished]


This list was last generated on Sunday, 14th August 2022, 12:44 Europe/London.