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Ten years in Japan and refuses to speak Japanese

den4

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I dunno....
this guy sounds like a real enlightened individual spending 10 years in Japan and unable to speak rudimentary Nihongo....


Foreigner in Japan 10 years but refuses to speak Japanese!


I'm sorry, but he just sounds like an idiot to me....:D
yeah, I know it's fictional, but I've met people like him.... :(
 
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I knew a guy- 8 years in Japan- and he'd go into McDonalds and order everything in English: "Yeah, can I have a Big Mac, large fries........"

"Sumimasen, chotto...."

"A BIG MAC. And large fries...."

:(

Idiot.
 

Iron Chef

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Heh, I remember meeting a guy (American if memory serves)who had been in and around Sapporo for going on seven years whose Japanese was very basic and rudimentary at best. I think that a lot of this refusal to immerse oneself in the language (and culture) stems from the fact that, simply put, many people actively choose not to participate for whatever reasons. Instead of getting involved in the community, I knew many non-Japanese who decided to spend their time socializing and hanging out with other Gaijin on a day-to-day basis.

If you surround yourself with English-speaking Westerners, for example, you'll only be putting yourself into situations where you may tend to fall back on familiarity and rely more heavily on it. The opposite holds for learning Japanese. Without a doubt, absolute and total immersion IMHO without surrounding myself with English-speaking friends was the best way for me to learn (granted, the first few months can be rough, but the payoff is there).

In all of my experiences, I can't recall too many instances where I've seen groups of native English speakers who were versed in Japanese individually that did not lapse into their language because perhaps Japanese felt forced or awkward for some reason? I know that I tend to be a bit more conservative when speaking Japanese with my American friends who also know the language than if I were with my Japanese friends. Interesting stuff to think about, though, for sure.
:)
 

Elizabeth

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On the other hand, It is hard to argue that Japanese nationals shouldn't be able to communicate more proficiently in English given their 6-10 years of schooling devoted to it or that they shouldn't make it easier to establish immigrant neighborhoods and communities. There are hundreds of thousands if not millions of Hispanics in the US I'd venture to say that cannot speak even rudimentary English, obviously much easier to pick up than Japanese, so in a way it should be up to the individual. But you also must know what is in store making the decision to move to Japan.....:).
 

kirei_na_me

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True Elizabeth.

Moto's co-workers' English is pretty--no, really bad and they've been here for several years. Also, Moto has a tendency to get me to call places for him and do his business for him, but I've gotten to the point where I all but refuse. If he wants something done for himself, he should learn how to take care of it on his own. Especially if he has permanent residency here and doesn't plan on living in Japan ever again.

His excuse as to why the Japanese still can't use English after studying it in school is that it's required. They are forced to study it, so most don't learn it.

Anyway, another thing that can go both ways...
 

Himura

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Dewa... I just can speak for me... (but I think it would be the same with everyone in this forum^^)
>>In 10 years living in a foreign country, you would and would have to learn the language!
 

Dream Time

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what the heck?
this guy lives in a foreign land and never want to learn their language,and only make friends with people who speaks your language?
go home,dude.

"This is Japan. The Japanese people should be able to understand the international language of the world"


Japan is a Japanese-speaking country,the students are forced to study English,but they don't have much chances to practice English in Japan,so it is not there fault of not being able to get better at English.
right,this is Japan,
so "This is Japan.The foreign people who lives there should be able to understand the official language of the country"
 

Elizabeth

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Originally posted by Dream Time
Japan is a Japanese-speaking country,the students are forced to study English,but they don't have much chances to practice English in Japan,so it is not there fault of not being able to get better at English.
That is true to some extent, but the observation that Japanese are poor language learners goes back at least to the Edo period. And my experience has also been it is difficult to get them to practice even when I and other English speakers are around. Evidenced by their extremely low test scores. Japanese students consistently rank near the bottom, along with North Korea, of all Asian nations in English ability. Which makes me think it is something cultural, such as a fear of commiting mistakes or a relative indifference to things literary or just the way it is taught there.
 

Dream Time

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Originally posted by Elizabeth
That is true to some extent, but the observation that Japanese are poor language learners goes back at least to the Edo period. And my experience has also been it is difficult to get them to practice even when I and other English speakers are around. Evidenced by their extremely low test scores. Japanese students consistently rank near the bottom, along with North Korea, of all Asian nations in English ability. Which makes me think it is something cultural, such as a fear of commiting mistakes or a relative indifference to things literary or just the way it is taught there.

um,yes

I've heard it is because when speaking Japanese,it only makes the right brain works,unlike English which makes both side of the brain work..hope you get what I mean,although I am unsure of this

but I wonder,the Japanese grew up in Western countries,they still learn Japanese,but they speak perfect English,just like singer Utada Hikaru.

also,some Japanese who moved to Western countries,they still like to keep themselves in the Japanese community,which reduces the chances of practicing English

it is true,some Asian students are afraid of making mistakes,especially the Japanese,they are well-known of being perfectionists..
.
 

Dream Time

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learning languages

my experiences,I came to Vancouver when I was nine,I was very poor at English abilities when I was in Hong Kong,
so then I had to enter ESL class,
I'd say I learn quite fast,like within a month or two I could talk to English speakers quite smoothly,
although I never put time to study,
it is because I was never afraid of making mistakes,I communicated with English speakers although I still had my group of Chinese friends.
and I was really into basketball,I would watch lots of basketball games on TV,hearing those commentators speak,and they speak quite fast,and I play basketball with non-Chinese speakers,like white people,black,philipino,Koreans

so now I speak perfect English,although I still suck at writing,and needs to improve my vocab.

to be honest,
I feel English is an easy language to pick up,compared to the Chinese and Japanese
 

Elizabeth

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Originally posted by Dream Time
um,yes

I've heard it is because when speaking Japanese,it only makes the right brain works,unlike English which makes both side of the brain work..hope you get what I mean,although I am unsure of this
Actually I think if anything it would be the opposite since language is inherantly a left brain activity, but Japanese and others have pictorial/graphic information ("right brain") information to process as well. The same thing with auditory distinctions which is one reason mastering the intonations of Mandarin Chinese, for instance, is so tremendously difficult for English speakers.
 
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Dream Time

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Originally posted by Elizabeth
Actually I think if anything it would be the opposite since language is inherantly a left brain activity

yea I just screwed it up
thanks for correcting.
 

Dream Time

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Originally posted by Elizabeth
Actually I think if anything it would be the opposite since language is inherantly a left brain activity, but Japanese and others have pictorial/graphic information ("right brain") information to process as well. The same thing with auditory distinctions which is one reason mastering the intonations of Mandrin Chinese, for instance, is so tremendously difficult for English speakers.

Chinese females learns languages much faster and better than Chinese males..

Chinese words are like puzzles,
maybe thats another reason why Chinese people do math so much better? (although I suck at it now,I used to be very good at it)

I do not know how difficult it would be for English speakers to learn Chinese
but I think Chinese learns English quite fast if they are willing to put some efforts into it...especially the females
 

Gaki

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Originally posted by Dream Time
Chinese females learns languages much faster and better than Chinese males..




That's not true ~ i'm a male and i speak more languages than most Chinese females ~ Cantonese / Basic Japanese / Basic Korean / Basic Mandarin / English (i used to know french but lack of practice made me forget)
 

Elizabeth

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Originally posted by Gaki
That's not true ~ i'm a male and i speak more languages than most Chinese females ~ Cantonese / Basic Japanese / Basic Korean / Basic Mandarin / English (i used to know french but lack of practice made me forget)
I think Dream Time just meant on average. Of course there are going to be a huge number of exceptions ;). Anyway, these sex differences do show up in English, but if Chinese have to use different parts of their brain maybe you would expect to get more convergence on controlled tests such as brain scans, achievement tests etc.
 

Glenski

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Left brain, right brain. Not important.

Japanese study English in junior high and high school for 6 years, then a couple years in university, HOWEVER...

their studies are almost completely focused on reading and writing,
their studies are almost completely conducted in Japanese by Japanese teachers,
their studies are almost entirely aimed at passing entrance exams for the next level of their education, and those exams do not involve speaking; moreover, those exams do not test conversational English, but deal with obscure grammatical structures.

So, is it any reason that Japanese find it hard to speak English?
Not really, no matter which side of the brain you use.
 

kaz

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It is interesting that Elizabeth implies that for hispanics English is not so hard to learn (but many don't) because .. this morning I was watching Spanish TV to learn it. Actually she is very right. Spanish very often sounds like English to me. I am serious. Soy serio! It's very similar. Es muy similar. Almost identical. Casi identical! Sounds rediculous, but ... Sunido rediculoso, pero... (actually I may be wrong about the last one).
 

kaz

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The story abour the use of right/left brain is just a myth. Supposedly, the myth says Japanese use one and westerners use the other. Come on, it is just a myth. Japanese also believe that their intestine is longer than westerners because they eat rice. I am serious -- I mean they really believe it.
 

kaz

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I think Japanese way of learning English is very inefficient. They impose too much grammar stuff from A to Z. This morning I was trying to study French by using a book that i bought in Japan. It is to prepare for a French test administered by the government. It just has so much stuff that I would not need for everyday conversation. My Spanish is functional despite that I have not rigorously studied all the grammar items that are out there.

We should focus on basic conversation first--perhaps the first three years in middle school. Just let kids have fun with ENglish. And then slowly we can let them study grammar.
 

kaz

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It really annoys me that the tax money that the government spent on english teachers' salary is not getting a return in terms of productivity that students gain and can use to navigate today's globalized world.

If students cannot even greet in English after studying it for six years, I think we should just scrap the program.

But to think that particularly Americans are better at learning a foreign language than Japanese is a bit strange??? But they don't really need to learn one because the rest of the world speaks English. And it's okay. They should not feel bad at all about it.

Actually many people living in America are bilinguals because of training at home, not at school.
 

Elizabeth

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Are the teachers really still mostly Japanese? I thought that had changed radically in the last decade or so. And I'm also quite skeptical that they can read English to any minimal standard.
 

Elizabeth

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Originally posted by kaz
The story about the use of right/left brain is just a myth. Supposedly, the myth says the Japanese use one and westerners use the other. Come on, it is just a myth. Japanese also believe that their intestine is longer than westerners because they eat rice. I am serious -- I mean they really believe it.
Here's the citation to a recent study on non-native speakers processing Mandarin tones and brain activation. Maybe you have access to a set of contradictory findings, I don't know.

 

alexi32

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Yeah, well, I was at a Japanese rock gig last night in London with my sister, and to really annoy her, I spoke in 'Nihongo dake. ' She didn't like it. It's like the opposite of warui gaijin in japan. Hihihi!

As it was, the gig had a lot of Nihonjin. Sadly they laugh at my poor grammar!
nakimashita yo!
 
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