Japanese are not so English

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Japanese are not so English

Postby Prometheus_Yoshiro » Sat Nov 21, 2009 2:20 am

I never thought that Japanese couldn't speak English so much. Why aren't they?
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Re: Japanese are not so English

Postby tamagoyaki » Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:29 am

I'd find it very strange if they did speak a lot of English, considering the history and location of the country. There aren't any English-speaking countries near Japan, so it seems natural that they wouldn't have any need to speak it. I live in Texas (U.S.) and we have a lot of Spanish-speaking people here. Even though I had studied Spanish for three years in high school, I have never had a need to speak it. In my line of work (software development), I have never encountered someone who was not conversationally proficient in English. Without a need to speak Spanish, or an interest in studying it, I stick to my native language.
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Re: Japanese are not so English

Postby kaleb_zero » Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:21 pm

Without sounding rascist or anything - I really dont mean this that way - I'd say Japan is so sufficient with its own wealth and culture and language that it really doesn't /need/ the english language in the way that some South American or SE Asian countries countries might (the OP is from Malaysia so maybe he was comparing Japan to there?). It's really a compliment to the Japanese I suppose. :thumb:
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Re: Japanese are not so English

Postby Khyron » Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:11 pm

kaleb_zero wrote:It's really a compliment to the Japanese I suppose. :thumb:


I view it as a criticism of the Japanese educational system. It's not like they don't try learning it because they are so self sufficient... it's just that their implementation of a learning approach is so short-sighted that at the end of 5 years of study they can't hold a basic conversation with a native english speaker. Note that this is not a criticism of Japanese students (who try very hard) or any aspect of the culture/country, but instead a criticism of the bureaucracy that controls the implementation of education in Japan.

I honestly don't know how they expect teachers who are not fluent in English themselves (I know, I have met a few) to teach students to a high level. The allocation of native-speaking resources that they do draw from overseas is also a joke... my friend who is fluent in Japanese (he just passed 1級 a little while ago) went over on a JET program. What did he do? He sat in the corner and was asked to repeat select words a few times by the teacher.

That's right, he was a human tape recorder.

Instead of using him to converse with the teacher (or even better the students) in an interactive manner to allow them to actually practise and reinforce what they were learning his ability to speak English was restricted to the point where a CD would have done the same job as effectively.

He said that part of the issue was that most of the teachers English levels were not so great and they didn't want to appear uncomfortable speaking in English in front of the students. He said that the teachers he spoke to who were actually more fluent and competent didn't want to go against the lesson plans and try something new- just follow blindly with what they were told to do.

So yeah... not a fan.
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Re: Japanese are not so English

Postby kaleb_zero » Thu Nov 26, 2009 4:04 am

Meh, on the other hand a lot of my Japanese friends have pondered the question of "who decided english would be the world language, and why do we need it" in fact Japanese society has gotten along quite well without it and I'd even argue it's been a blessing - and yes sometimes a curse - but it's offered some protection to their domestic market from being so easily outsourced or taken-over / dominated by foreign conglomerates. Think of the tens of thousands of customer support jobs that we in the western world find outsourced to india or the philipines each year - I know because I work at a call center and have constantly been moved to new departments as my old jobs keep getting shipped off to india where wages are lower.

Of course there are drawbacks to this but really I think the preservation of Japanese language is extremely safe thanks in no small part to a poorly implimented and questionably useless English education system.

I do agree though that definately, the system is flawed. I just don't happen to think that's necessarily a bad thing. :shuriken:
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Re: Japanese are not so English

Postby Khyron » Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:58 am

kaleb_zero wrote:Meh, on the other hand a lot of my Japanese friends have pondered the question of "who decided english would be the world language, and why do we need it" in fact Japanese society has gotten along quite well without it and I'd even argue it's been a blessing - and yes sometimes a curse - but it's offered some protection to their domestic market from being so easily outsourced or taken-over / dominated by foreign conglomerates. Think of the tens of thousands of customer support jobs that we in the western world find outsourced to india or the philipines each year - I know because I work at a call center and have constantly been moved to new departments as my old jobs keep getting shipped off to india where wages are lower.

Of course there are drawbacks to this but really I think the preservation of Japanese language is extremely safe thanks in no small part to a poorly implimented and questionably useless English education system.

I do agree though that definately, the system is flawed. I just don't happen to think that's necessarily a bad thing. :shuriken:


As for who decided the language, I would say the biggest driver would be "economics", which is in turn a result of historical circumstances.

In order to convince others to target learning a language, you need to have some form of goal. Making money is a good goal.

Being the largest market in the world, it makes sense to target america for trade/business. Japan is #2 now, but it wasn't always that way. Also, since the japanese domestic market tends to favor japanese companies and as such it's difficult to break into those markets.

It tends to be countries in "lower economic positions" that really focus on learning Japanese- China, the Philippines etc... they have a relatively large number of ppl trying to learn japanese. Mainly to work in relatively lowly-placed jobs, or jobs that japanese have no choice but to outsource due to incredibly high demand and low supply- e.g. aged-care nurses etc. This is partially because japanese are very exacting in the levels of customer service that are expected, so any such jobs normally would not favor non-native speakers, simply because they could not guarantee the required minimum level of customer service that is expected.

Not to mention that technological implementation of CJK languages was much harder than latin-based languages- the fundamentals of computers and the internet were based on english, though any language with a simple-to-display small-sized character set would also have worked well. Stuff like arabic and farsi is a bit tougher than english to display, but japanese/chinese/korean is another ballgame all together. The standard english/french/german/swedish/spanish/italian etc is really trivial.

Japan can live in isolation as a country as much as it likes. It will suffer the frustration of not being given any of the political power that it craves as a result, however. It is trying to push for a permanent seat on the UN security council, however whilst it maintains it's isolationist stance I cannot see that eventuating in the near future, no matter how much money it throws at the issue (they are the #2 contributor of funds).
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Re: Japanese are not so English

Postby planeteuropa » Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:41 am

Khyron is right; at the end of the day it all boils down to dollars and cents. If you'll notice all of the counties that speak English as their native language are reletively rich...U.S.A, United Kingdom, Canada, Austrailia, South Africa, New Zeland (yes even New Zeland; my country Nicaragua would kill to be New Zeland). In my opinion, English has been the king of all languages ever since the English defeated the Spanish armada on August 8, 1588. that decisive victory gave the English(and their language) the right to be the world power because now they could conqure the new world with no interference fom the previous world power--Spain. Although Spain was able to conqure all of Central and South America including some Carribien countries it had no choice but to let England do as it wanted. The English went on to spread their influences almost every where on the globe...Austrailia$$, Canada(previously all french)$$, U.S.A.$$$$$$$$$$$$$(although the yanks did run them out and shot at them :lol:) . But the damage was already done England had already globally F$%$ed many nations. I think that if the Spanish armada had won they would have gone on to take over many other countries and the world language would have been Spanish. but in the Armadas defence 21 countries speak spanish as their official laguage.

Argentina,
Bolivia,
Chile,
Colombia,
Costa Rica,
Cuba,
Dominican Republic,
Ecuador,
El Salvador,
Equatorial Guinea,
Guatemala,
Honduras,
Mexico,
Nicaragua,
Panama,
Paraguay,
Peru,
Puerto Rico,
Spain,
Uruguay,
and Venezuela.

So I guess it wasn't all a total loss :wink: . In conclusion Money=power and that is something that none of these 21 have.

P.S. 56 counties either speak english as their official language or have it as their official 2nd national language :wink:
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Re: Japanese are not so English

Postby Kurisuti.Chan » Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:26 pm

From my experience, at highschool (which is age 10 or 11 in the UK) kids are to choose out of French, German, and sometimes Spanish, to learn for 4 years. And most end up only knowing very basic phrases. I think part of it is assuming English is the most important language. I also think it's lack of motivation. If you think you have to GO to France to speak French, I don't think it seems as useful as say maths for working out the shopping bill or something.

However, what I've learnt from self studying Japanese (or beginning to), is the NEED to have the motivation and drive to really want to progress. Drumming up motivation to hundreds of kids would in my opinion be exciting and fun, but my most boring learning was at school!!!

I also think that if Japan was more *English*, it would make me sad on many levels. I think a language barrier is worth it for the things that are able to stay Japanese- not to be racist or anything. I even think having English as a really global language has put native English speakers at a disadvantage. We've lost a big motivator in learning other languages, because other countries are more motivated to learn English.
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Re: Japanese are not so English

Postby Eijioo » Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:35 pm

My guess that Japanese are only motivated to speak Japanese either by reasons for commuinicating with businesses of English speaking countries or just a general interest in the western culture. Otherwise there is not much need to speak English. I believe they do have some English languages in high school. If there were no foreign visitors or relations with Japan, they would not have any need to speak English at all.
Correct me if I am wrong. Chinese and Korean would most likley be the second languages and more spoken than English in Japan. Even with the large population of Brazilians in Japan, I would not be surprised if more Japanese spoke Portuguese..
I mean, come on, Japan is a small, isolated country in the Pacific Ocean off of China and Korea. ..Give them credit for speaking any English at all.
That's like the Japanese people expecting Americans to know Japanese when our bordering countries are Canada and Mexico.
That all being said, when I was there. Many Japanese, more than I expected, spoke English or enough English to help me when I was not able to speak Japanese.
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Re: Japanese are not so English

Postby cynsny » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:37 pm

I know that situations like today blow my mind. I was out shopping at the mall and decided to get a snack. I stood outside to get my order down so I could say it to the person at the counter and when I place my order he repeats it back in perfect English...UGH! Well, at least I know I ordered right. ;-)
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Re: Japanese are not so English

Postby planeteuropa » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:24 am

HA! The Japanese speak more English than the Americans or Brits speak Japanese and that's the truth!!!
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Re: Japanese are not so English

Postby Eijioo » Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:19 am

planeteuropa wrote:HA! The Japanese speak more English than the Americans or Brits speak Japanese and that's the truth!!!


I believe that.

I've read that within the large population of China, there are more people who speak English than in the U.S. which seems possible considering China has a population of over 1.3 BILLION versus just over 300 MILLION in the U.S.
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English are not so Japanese

Postby Musouka » Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:31 am

I never thought that English couldn't speak Japanese so much. Why aren't they? ;-)
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