Ana María Díaz Collazos

Ana María Díaz Collazos is a linguist interested in the relationship between language and society. She studies the history and evolution of Spanish as connected to the social changes. She also likes to explore the problem of language usage in bilingual communities. She has an MA in Spanish linguistics from the Instituto Caro y Cuervo. She is a PhD candidate in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of Florida. In her spare time, she writes short novels for children, and has published for books.

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The Colombian Nikkei and the Narration of Selves - Part 4 of 4

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4.5 Non-Nikkei

In the 1980s the Japan economy underwent a significant growth that allowed many Japanese to become world travelers and adventurers. Most Japanese travelers to Colombia in the 1990s were not forced to do so. Moreover, they had spouses or children in Japan and planned to return. Interviewees 10 and 11 are JICA (Japanese Internation Cooperation Agency) volunteers who went to Colombia to work on programs of cooperation. The JICA donates machinery to an institution of instruction in technology called SENA (Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje, ‘National Service of Learning’). Interviewee 11 worked during more than ...

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The Colombian Nikkei and the Narration of Selves - Part 3 of 4

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4.2 Nisei from early immigrants

I interviewed only one individual who was born in Colombia from one of the 1929-1935 arrivers. Interviewee 21 grew up in the same conditions as the group described in the previous section: she only had contact with her family, and other Nikkei in the Japanese school. She lived with her parents in the plantation of El Jagual, in which the community lived without much need of having contact with Colombian people. Her isolation caused her to exhibit similar Japanized features in her native Spanish such as omissions of articles. Example (2 ...

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The Colombian Nikkei and the Narration of Selves - Part 2 of 4

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3. Learning a foreign language

One of the most challenging issues for Japanese learners of Spanish is the usage of articles. What do I mean by the word “articles”? These are words like the and a. Among other differences between Japanese and Spanish, Japanese lacks articles, while Spanish has a system of articles that differs in gender (masculine and feminine) and number (singular and plural). Table 2 presents a summary of the Spanish articles:

Table 2: Spanish articles.









Definite (the)





Indefinite (a/some)




unos ...

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The Colombian Nikkei and the Narration of Selves - Part 1 of 4

1. How this research came about

I am a Colombian. Whenever I discover foreigners in my country, especially from far away Japan, I wonder what kind of strange motivation brought them to such a hidden place in the northern corner of South America. A great geographical and cultural distance between Colombia and Japan existed and continues to the present day. Economic reasons could not have prompted the emigration because Colombia, at the peak of the emigration, was not noted for a robust economy. Thus, the emigration is nothing short of astonishing. It was perhaps stimulated by Jorge Isaacs, the author ...

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