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Engrish, do you speak it?

  1. I don't mean to bash anyone or Japan in general but this has been bugging me for quite some time. First I'd like to point out that I don't come from a native English speaking country myself nor do I have very high qualifications in the language.

    I've always noticed quite a bit of bad English in Japanese anime & music (usually nonsensible context rather than incorrectly spelled words) and it has always puzzled me how is this possible when they have adopted so many words from English and have such an advanced educational system?

    I'm posting this because this came to my attention again recently when I witnessed two Japanese tourists in their 30s struggling ordering coffees, a feat that should come off as relatively simple to a middle schooler. Of course it's possible that they were just terrible at English or maybe just had never used it in real situations before. I just don't want to catch anybody saying that I claimed they all suck at it.

    I have a few questions concerning this I'm sure some of you either living or having lived in Japan for a time can answer:

    * At what age/educational level are English studies usually started in Japan and on average how many hours per week does it include?

    * How much does a Japanese person need or see English in day-to-day situations, for example;
    -Do they subtitle or dub foreign TV shows/commercials?
    -Do they need to use English internet sites at all?
    -Foreign music?

    * What is the nation's attitude towards the English language and is it even considered to be of importance when looking for a job in Japan?

    * Is there a lot of underperforming or low standards in these particular studies?

    * Is it especially challenging for a native Japanese speaker to learn a foreign language for some reason?

    Thanks in advance if some of you can take the time to answer these.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  2. My part-time job is tutoring Japanese students English online, and it surprises me how proficient most of them are with grammar construction and usage.

    They're just unable to speak it properly because they have no one to practice with. You can know all the tricks but not be able to get the message across because your environment doesn't allow for regular immersion.

    The advanced educational system clause doesn't apply to all. Every country has it's share of ne'er-do-wells and stubborn mules who refuse to study the language properly.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  3. The most important reason is that they have no reason to practice English at all. Unless you have foreign friends, no matter how much you study, if you don't practice it, you'll never be proficient in any language

    Now, Japanese put a huge importance in test results, so even a person who can communicate reasonably, but with a toeic score of 400, will have a tougher time finding a job than somebody who cannot communicate at all, yet has a toeic score of 600.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  4. Hazandyne said:
    They're just unable to speak it properly because they have no one to practice with. You can know all the tricks but not be able to get the message across because your environment doesn't allow for regular immersion.

    this^^

    When I was younger, my folks would ship me off to "visit" relatives in Japan, so they would have a guinea pig to practice with.
    Sure I'd pick up some Japanese & the nuaunces necessary to appreciate Japanese (the language). But being grilled by the older ones, was not fun because they simply didn't have anyone to practice day to day dialog in engrish.
    Fortunately I grew up mainly in Hawaii where its common practice to speak in Pidgin Engrish. Its vaguely like the common city speak, from the movie Blade Runner.
    Where as they would pick up bits of Italian or Chinese, Laotian, and Thai.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  5. fxc2 said:
    I have a few questions concerning this I'm sure some of you either living or having lived in Japan for a time can answer:

    * At what age/educational level are English studies usually started in Japan and on average how many hours per week does it include?

    English education now starts in 5th grade in Japanese public schools. This happened only recently, however, in 2010. Before that English education started in the 7th grade in junior high.

    However, English education in elementary school is hardly uniform and elementary school teachers are not required to be able to teach the language. This has resulted in the use of Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs), native speaking assistants, coming in to make up for defiencies. However, the qualifications for such assistants is not uniform, and they are not licensed instructors, resulting in a large variation in educational quality.

    * How much does a Japanese person need or see English in day-to-day situations, for example;
    -Do they subtitle or dub foreign TV shows/commercials?

    Almost all TVs shows are dubbed, with the occasional English word seeping through. You can however, change the language to English with certain TV sets.

    -Do they need to use English internet sites at all?

    No. Japan has a huge amount of information on the Internet in their native language and do not need to depend on English unless it is incredibly high-level academic work or of an international nature.

    -Foreign music?

    It's popular, but there are translations for most albums.

    * What is the nation's attitude towards the English language and is it even considered to be of importance when looking for a job in Japan?

    English is being considered more and more important in the business world as Japan's big companies are trying to get more competitive overseas. TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) is the big test utilized by much companies. However, despite this test being a judge of English ability, it only measures the passive skills of English, reading and listening. The productive skills, writing and speaking, are not tested at all.

    * Is there a lot of underperforming or low standards in these particular studies?

    Most teachers come from the "test English" era. They studied grammar, vocabulary, and translation to pass entrance exams for college. They are very good at those areas, but when it comes to speaking, they have much less practice than say a country that took a more communicative approach to English, such as Russia.

    * Is it especially challenging for a native Japanese speaker to learn a foreign language for some reason?

    Well, there is a lot of theories, but the biggest obstacle is that English really isn't necessary, for business or everyday life. The easiest way to learn a language is make it a necessity, and that just doesn't happen in Japan very often. They have a huge network of academic knowledge and very advanced technological know-how that they all have laid out in detail in their native language.

    I heard an interesting comment from a Japanese businessman:
    "I think it's better to just make people from other countries learn Japanese and translate for us rather than make Japanese people learn foreign languages."

    Posted 2 years ago #
  6. renstalon said:
    I heard an interesting comment from a Japanese businessman:
    "I think it's better to just make people from other countries learn Japanese and translate for us rather than make Japanese people learn foreign languages."

    That's just a dumb thing to say. English is the international language of business; why would a businessman, of all people, think that way? That's like a politician saying it's useless to learn French.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  7. I like to pretend speaking engrish sometimes. It's fun.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  8. Avatar Image

    Nin

    giascle said:
    That's like a politician saying it's useless to learn French.

    Best politician ever.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  9. Ninsheart said:

    Best politician ever.

    Reminds me, it was Ishihara that said something similar to this about the French language

    Posted 2 years ago #
  10. giascle said:

    That's just a dumb thing to say. English is the international language of business; why would a businessman, of all people, think that way? That's like a politician saying it's useless to learn French.

    Very true. But it is a sad representation of a lot of the Japanese that believe they have some sort of handicap when learning a foreign language.

    Hopefully all the changes in the educational system coming soon will help alleviate the problem.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  11. Engrish is awesome. Why challenge your fate when you push the rush of exciting limit?

    Posted 2 years ago #
  12. I find Engrish highly amusing.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  13. Egnlish is better.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  14. Egnlish is the only thing I know how to speak.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  15. Engrish is amusing. Slang Japanese is pitiful and humiliating.
    I wonder if the Japanese find their country's Engrish just as humiliating.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  16. Hazandyne said:
    My part-time job is tutoring Japanese students English online, and it surprises me how proficient most of them are with grammar construction and usage.

    They're just unable to speak it properly because they have no one to practice with. You can know all the tricks but not be able to get the message across because your environment doesn't allow for regular immersion.

    The advanced educational system clause doesn't apply to all. Every country has it's share of ne'er-do-wells and stubborn mules who refuse to study the language properly.

    OMG CAN YOU TEACH MEH! IM SO BAD AT ENGLISH
    your mah savior

    Posted 2 years ago #
  17. moemerodii said:
    I find Engrish highly amusing.

    highry amujing*

    Posted 2 years ago #
  18. Lilith said:

    highry amujing*

    Wythe dis ^^

    The thread is officially derailed.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  19. Lilith said:

    highry amujing*

    hairi amyujingu*

    Posted 2 years ago #
  20. Say what again!

    Posted 2 years ago #

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