Language - draft




- courtney

The natural barriers to communication and making friends caused by language.

  • katrina
Language includes both verbal and non-verbal communication.
non-verbal communication stuff moves to the other pages.
 we should only talk about verbal communication here.
                   - Jin, Daisuke, Courtney, Yoshimi

  • To Katrina-
I think non-verbal communication is the topic for everyday conversations/Manners.
So, I will copy your comments there, is that OK!?


- Analysis 1 - Tolerance to non-native speakers : Jin
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.

- Analysis 1 Response - Miki
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

- Analysis 1 Response - Daisuke
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.

-Analysis 1 Response - Yoshimi
yea,,, there are some people who have tolerance in speaking with non native Japanese speakers in Japan and
of course, there are some people who does not like communicating with non native English speakers in the U.S..
I think this is a matter of propotion. So, I basically support Jin's analysis.
and, I want to add that young people (especially teens) tend not to have a tolerance in speaking with native speakers
from my experience spending years both in Canadian highschool and Japanese schools.

- Analysis 3 - Keigo : Daisuke
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.

- courtney
ICU is a particularly stressful environment when it comes to communicating. There are so many people that are fluent in English and Japanese that those of us that aren't have anxiety about trying to speak a language that we are not fluent in. Also, the environment of ICU allows for NOT speaking Japanese/English...there is always a way to get something done in either language. Which makes practicing a foreign language even more difficult, because people can automatically talk to you in the language you understand, making it simply inconvenient to practice the foreign language.

  • Analysis 4 - Non-verbal language [katrina]
One thing that OYRs (and other students who come from different cultures) must look out for in the course of their interaction with the Japanese is ambiguity. Understand that it is part of their culture to say things indirectly and that you are expected to at least be able to 'read the atmosphere' watch the Japanese call, 'KY.'

Examples / Actual Cases

- Analysis 2 - Daisuke
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.

- Analysis 2 Response - Katrina
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)

- Analysis 2 Response - Daisuke
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)

  • Analysis 4 - Non-verbal communication - Katrina
At the welcome party for new comers held in our dormitory, we (the OYRs) were given the privilege of getting food first. After getting our share, we immediately started eating while everyone else stood quietly in line to get their food. Some time passed by when suddenly, one of our dorm mates (who was American) told us to stop eating. Me and my fellow OYRs were shocked and immediately stopped eating. Turns out we were supposed to wait for everyone to get their food and then eat together. When we asked why no one told us, she said they were too shy to speak up. I scanned the room and all I could see were expressionless faces who are trying to avoid looking at our direction. It really felt awkward.

Solution / Recommendation / Suggestion etc.

(response to Japanese people having low tolerance for non-native speakers, by Daisuke)
solution is easy. 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.

- courtney
It is also important to realize that the language you speak upon initially meeting someone often determines the kind of language that relationship will take on, weather that be English, Japanese, or a combination of both.

  • katrina
Listen when your Japanese friends are talking amongst themselves. Try picking up important words or commonly-used expressions, know the context or situation they are spoken, and try to use them as much and as casually as you can in conversations. I think it's a good way to loosen up a conversation and let your Japanese friends know you're actually interested in speaking the language with them. With regards to non-verbal communication, the best thing to do is to be sensitive.