Language Barriers


Language Barriers

discussion from Jan 29th

Language and Culture
Language and culture is likely to be seemed as over-lapping in Japan,
for Japanese people see their country as mono-ethnic.
However, the case is different in the U.S,
and language and culture can be discussed separately. Jin

Tolerance to foreign language speakers
People in multicultural areas such as the West coast, New York, Toronto, etc
has tolerance in using easy English to the poor English speakers.
Since they have lots of non-English speakers in their area,
the local people are used to understanding their poor English, and speaking easy English to them.
However, the Japanese people don't have the tolerance in speaking with
non-Japanese speakers, and therefore, a barrier is created between Japanese and non-Japanese.

'Thank you very much Jin! Can I add the comment on this?'

I think the reason if Japanese do not have the way to be tolerace in using easy Japanese
to the poor Japanese speakers is some Japanese have never experienced to talk with the poor
Japanese speakers. So Japanese do not know how to speak Japanese to the poor Japanes speakers.
I do not know how to improve my Japanese to them. Miki

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even in california, i heard from courtney, there are 2 kinds of people who can speak easier english and who cannot choose their english for poor speaker.
because some people have never learned other language and never been in situation unable to understand language.
but, anyways, solution is easy and the same. just realize that they don't speak japanese fluently, slow down speach speed, pronounce clearly, and when they dont understand, repeat and paraphrase until they understand.

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from my experience, oyr students seem they don't want to use japanese when they are playing (especially lower than J3). and some students said they don't want to be bothered with japanese outside of the class (mostly active party people) or tutoring is enough for the practice.

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this might be other topic, but...
"keigo" can be a barrier to communicate with people. in japanese, there is a custom to use "keigo" for elder or upper position people, otherwise it will be rude. especially first time to meet someone, try not to be rude, people should use "keigo." but this "keigo" is useful to show your respect or politeness, however, "keigo" keeps distance of their relationship from person to person. and once you use "keigo," it is hard to switch to "tame-guchi." "tameguchi" is a plain or casual form, but also for younger or lower postion people, and sometimes it can sound looking down people. so it needs to be careful to use "tame-guchi" at the first time.


  • I don't really agree that OYRs do not want to use japanese outside the class. I think most of them do, but the problem (specially for native speakers of english) is that most ICU students tend to speak to them in English. So rather than complicate things and make the conversation longer, they would not try to use that time for practicing their Nihonggo. -- Katrina (2008-02-07 00:28:00)
  • Actually, what I wanted to say was (not all but) OYRs cannot be relax when they are using Japanese, or cannot really enjoy when they have to use Japanese all the time. I know they want to use English as much as they can, and sometimes they try to use Japanese, but still its different from conversation only in Japanese. I think, to relax and enjoy conversation needs high level language skill -- Daisuke (2008-02-07 03:21:46)