Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Both Sides of the Fence...So to speak

If you haven`t noticed I have been living in Japan for almost a year now. Also, if you are just realizing that you much be living under a rock and haven`t seen any of the million YouTube videos I`ve posted or now about my Facebook fan page. That being said...I don`t really blog much anymore but from time to time I like to sit down and write something. Usually nothing of much substance (or grammatical accurateness sorry Ms. Weleski...you always knew I hated proofreading!). So, here goes...

I used to work in retail before moving to Japan. I was teaching part time but my main job was working at a video game retailer. I came across many people from many different walks of life. It was always quite amusing for me to see who would walk through the door next. We definitely had some unique costumers (to say the least) and they ran the gambit from rich to poor, small, tall, big, little, English speaking to needing a translator. The last group is who I want to focus on here.

Now, I know that there is the feeling in America that if you live in America you should speak American! I myself have vocally voiced this opinion and I stand by that. If you are living in a country you should try your best to learn that language. You should try to "fit in" as much as possible. The reason I put fit in, in quotations is because I`m not telling people they need to lose their identity. That is something very important and especially for people living in a country that is foreign to them. But, language shouldn`t be your identity. The language you speak doesn`t make you, you!

I understand that English is difficult to learn. Some people might laugh at that statement but think of this. How do you pronounce these words: There, Their, They`re...yeah...all the same. Try teaching that to a group of Japanese adults who have learned their entire lives that vowel sounds only have one pronunciation. How about you give this word a try...how would you pronounce Ghoti? Bet you wouldn`t have guess it`s fish...yeah? Well, I`ll prove it

  • gh, pronounced /f/ as in tough /tʌf/;
  • o, pronounced /ɪ/ as in women /ˈwɪmɪn/; and
  • ti, pronounced /ʃ/ as in nation /ˈneɪʃən/.

So yeah, English is not an easy language to learn. 

That being said learning a new language as an adult isn`t easy either. It takes years to learn a new language, and that`s if you aren`t lazy like me! But seriously, learning a new language is difficult because over the years we get comfortable in our native tongue. We speak it everyday, we read it everywhere, and everyone around us speaks it. 

That all being said. Take a lesson from the people I have met in Japan. They don`t have to be nice to me and help me out but they do. Even if they might hate me for it they aren`t all up in arms every time I miss pronounce something or use the wrong tense of a word. On the other hand I`m trying. So, weather (see what I did there?) you think people should speak Merican, or you are learning a new language yourself be patient. Learning a new language isn`t easy. Living in a country that doesn`t speak your language can be challenging and scary sometimes but it`s possible to learn new things!

Follow me on Facebook and Youtube! I promise it won`t be a total waste of time! 


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Anonymous said...
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