Jul 9, 2013


The other day it was a teacher-parent meeting at my daughter's school, and on the way back home I had a chance to talk about how to learn English with some mother, whose son hates English, daughter likes it, and her husbands curses it even he's working in a foreign company...

I feel sympathy for her husband knowing that he has to deal with all business writings in English by now. It must be quite stressful if you can't use Japanese at the company when you're living and working in Japan. If you were young, it could be possible to adjust yourself to a life style which you have to think in English at work and in Japanese at home accordingly. But once you hit thirty or so before becoming a fluent user of English, then it would be extremely difficult to change the way of communication between English and Japanese without struggling in your mind. 

It's not just the languages you've got used to it, but you need be aware of your developing another persona as you use different languages. Some people say that It's not like English is exceptionally different from Japanese and that makes us hard to learn the language. There are other languages which is as different from English as Japanese is, but the people who use those languages are not particularly a bad user of English. Some say that many Japanese are not as good a user as they're and that's simply because we lack the chance to user it or should apply other new methods to learn English. 

English wouldn't be this widely used if it were extremely difficult language. People all over the world use English as a tool to communicate each other and that has to be because it's rather easy a language for many to learn, as it's got clear structures in grammar. However, I think English can be dauntingly difficult for some Japanese because it's not the rules of grammar of vocabulary that we have to overcome to be able to use it freely, but rather getting used the pattern of thinking in English is the most challenging part of learning English. 

Don't you see any changes in your attitude or thought patterns when you're speaking in English. I think I'm becoming more assertive and taking more straight forward when in English. When I'm in among Japanese, before saying my own opinion, I tend to listen to what other people are thinking, then I kind of hesitantly begin to deliver what I'm really thinking. If there're many people who have different viewpoint from me, then I'd shut up and keep quite. I'd choose not to disturb the friendly atmosphere rather than make my position clear. This way of communication is nothing strange among Japanese. But when I'm talking with English speaking people, of course I don't hesitate to say what I actually think and make clear where I stand. As long as you're mindful and respectful to your friends, they'd listen to your opinion regardless of what you say.  

Well, I'll soon have a conversation time with some American, and I maybe talk about this issue more with him ...           

No comments: