The Other Side of Lost in Translation


Oh English, how come it's so difficult? part 1

Most of Japanese believe that
they can learn fluent English
if they live in U.S. for a few years.
And that's far far far away from the truth.

But then, how come Japanese media does not tell us that?
They are always flooded with infos about U.S.
Then why can't they tell us
this simple very important information?
Well, because America is supposed to be
a dream land for Japanese,
it's supposed to be a glamourous, trendy, fashionable,
exciting and shocking fantasy to give Japanese
a relief from their daily realities.
Therefore all the infos possibly to crush
those fantasies are carefully sealed away,
like racism, stereotyping and descrimination against Japanese.
And this English thing is one of them.

For Japanese, speaking fluent foreign language is like a magic.
Most of them study English at least six years
during middle and high schools.
And additionally, many of them learn it at colleges
and at private English schools as well.
But after spending so many hours and so much money,
nobody speak English.
Why don't they realize something seriously wrong with this picture?
First of all, there is no hope to speak that language
if you learn from teachers who do not speak that language.
Well, I will talk about this some other time.

Anyway, the reason that
Japanese likes to believe they can learn fluent English
if they stay in U.S. for a few years is
because that is the fantasy they love to believe.

After one year sicne I came to New York,
I thought my hearing English ability had improved
when I watched TV news show.
Then, I tried to understand what they were saying
with my eyes closed.
But I was so disappointed that I almost cried
as I could not tell anything.
Actually it took about four years to understand it
for me, even though still it was not fully.

The biggest difficulty for Japanese
to learn to speak English is the lack of sounds in Japanese,
which exist in English.
non existnce of the diference between R & L is
the most famous one, but still many others like that.
Also a few vowels are missing in Japanese as well.
If you can not hear the difference,
pronouncing them is very difficult.
Basically Japanese has partial hearing and speaking impairment
when it comes to learning English.
And that makes it so hard for Japanese to learn English.

To be continued


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