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Thread: Language barrier and acceptance.

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    You can catch someone rambling on and on about Japanese people insisting on talking to him in English (and such) here.

    http://academy3.2ch.net/test/read.cg...04353924/65-67

    The ironic thing is that he's posting to a Japanese bulletin board ... but he's writing in English. Maybe he's not so confident of his Japanese skills as he's making out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulTB
    You can catch someone rambling on and on about Japanese people insisting on talking to him in English (and such) here.

    http://academy3.2ch.net/test/read.cg...04353924/65-67

    The ironic thing is that he's posting to a Japanese bulletin board ... but he's writing in English. Maybe he's not so confident of his Japanese skills as he's making out.
    Give hime a break, Paul! He's had a hard life, and he's got it all twisted around.

    I think he's just too obsessed with the idea of learning Japanese.
    So obsessed, so eager to prove his achievement, that the friendly Japanese who offered to use English are seen as a threat to his ego, seen as "SELFISH." I think he's deluded.

    Poor guy! He's created his own hell, and now he's being laughed at for it!
    But you know Paul, since we're on the topic of "tolerance," couldn't we include him, too? What do you think?
    Z: The fish in the water are happy.
    H: How do you know ? You're not fish.
    Z: How do you know I don't ? You're not me.
    H: True I am not you, and I cannot know. Likewise, I know you're not, therefore I know you don't.
    Z: You asked me how I knew implying you knew I knew. In fact I saw some fish, strolling down by the Hao River, all jolly and gay.

    --Zhuangzi

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    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    But you know Paul, since we're on the topic of "tolerance," couldn't we include him, too? What do you think?
    Oh I don't know that we're laughing at him /that/ hard.

    I wouldn't even have smirked if he'd at least tried to write that in Japanese.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulTB
    Oh I don't know that we're laughing at him /that/ hard.

    I wouldn't even have smirked if he'd at least tried to write that in Japanese.
    Since you mention languages, I went back to examine his English; it isn't that good, either. I mean for a native-born British. Cokneyed, somehow. Maybe he's ashamed of his strange English, so hates the friendly Japanese for reminding him? Actually, after alll his struggle with the "selfish" Japanese, he seems to have lost all his ability to communicate in Japanese, especially on a Japanese board.

    On second thought, I begin to think the whole thing was made up, plagiarized from some stand-up comedy. It's a joke, Paul, definitely. They got you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    On second thought, I begin to think the whole thing was made up, plagiarized from some stand-up comedy.
    Nah, it's far too rambling to be stand-up comedy - he'd be bottled off the stage before he got to the end.

    You're right about the English not being very good - but lots of people write lousy English nowadays.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulTB
    Nah, it's far too rambling to be stand-up comedy - he'd be bottled off the stage before he got to the end.

    You're right about the English not being very good - but lots of people write lousy English nowadays.
    You're right. I guess I was wrong about that, but it's funny how people's eagerness to practice a new language can backfire, even unto (mild) hatred.
    Also, clear and succinct language doesn't come naturally. Especially if you're writing in a foreign language. I'd like to read your Japanese site, but I'll have to wait till I learn Japanese. Should have done it in school.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikecash
    an American and an Australian turning to Japanese to understand each other.
    You can't be serious, mate?

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    by lexico, My first language is Korean, and I barely understand all the 8 major dialects of my people. (People in the sense that I am not excluding N. Korea.) My Grandfather spoke the NorthWestern dialect, and I remember in my youth that I could never understand him very well.
    I had a Korean friend who tried to teach me how to say "pa" sound in Korean, and she told me that there were 5 different ways to say that sound, which she failed to help me distinguish.

    What makes Korean dialects so different from each other that you even have a hard time understanding? Is it the accent? Or, are there gramatical differences?

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    The Korean P, the Dialects, and the Snail

    Quote Originally Posted by misa.j
    I had a Korean friend who tried to teach me how to say "pa" sound in Korean, and she told me that there were 5 different ways to say that sound, which she failed to help me distinguish.
    Sorry for the late reply, Misa.J! I wanted to study this before answering; I quess getting questions really makes you learn things. I didn't find much, but ruled out some doubts about my own udnerstanding! LOL

    Coming to your first question. Are you sure it wasn't 3 different "pa"s? :)
    All I know is that Korean has a three-way-disctinction in the consonants.

    1. unvoiced p (like the French p but softer, i.e. without tensing your vocal cords)
    발 /pal/ "foot"

    2. tense p (like French p but stronger, i.e. with tensing the vocal cords)
    빨 /?pal/ "to suck"

    3. aspirated p (close to English p, which has the strong puffing out of air)
    팔 /phal/ "arm"

    The difficulty you had with your Korean friend is probably due to the different consonant sets in Japanese which I hear has a two-way-distinction;

    1. unvoiced p
    2. voiced b
    (I'm a little hesitent to write p becasue I read somewhere that Japanese P's has changes into F's or H's. Not sure, but this may also have something to do???)

    Korean doesn't have tones like Mandarin Chinese; which happens to have 4 distinct tones; high, rising, dipping, and falling; plus one neutral tone which is simply not having any tonality when a character falls on the second syllable. You could say Mandarin Chinese has 5 tones; but that's Mandarin.
    And I also wonder whether your friend wasn't including the F and V sounds on top of the 3 Korean p's; with so many loan words from Englsih, French, and what not, quite a few people can pronounce these "foreign varieties of p's." I wonder?

    When speakers from two languages having different sound systems hear each other, the effect is not that predictable. It actually takes quite some time being exposed to the sounds until one begins to get some feel for the other's sounds.
    Quote Originally Posted by misa.j
    What makes Korean dialects so different from each other that you even have a hard time understanding? Is it the accent? Or, are there gramatical differences?
    I would have to correct myself about the dialects; there are 6 major Korean dialects, not 8 as I said ealier. Coming to your question, the difficulty I had with my grandfather was both difference in the speech sounds and vocabulary. I gradually picked up his vocabulary, but the sound barrier (not the 330m/s barrier of course ) was impossible to overcome.

    There is one major dialect which involves this type of difficulty; it is the dialect of the Cheju Island.
    The Cheju Dialect is quite impossible to understand for mainlanders unless you've lived there for a while.
    The other major dialects on the Korean peninsula may have a slight accent or a strong intonation but the sounds themselve are not that different.

    My difficulty with the regional dialects come mainly from the words.
    Words are quite varied. I only found out this year that there are at least a dozen ways to say "snail" in Korean.
    In how many ways can you say "snail" in Japanese?

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    Hey lexico,
    Thank you so much for your reply.
    by lexico: The difficulty you had with your Korean friend is probably due to the different consonant sets in Japanese which I hear has a two-way-distinction;

    1. unvoiced p
    2. voiced b
    You know, after reading your post, I started to remember how my friend kept telling me to say the sound softly or strongly, so your explanation makes a lot of sense.

    by lexico: My difficulty with the regional dialects come mainly from the words.
    Words are quite varied. I only found out this year that there are at least a dozen ways to say "snail" in Korean.
    In how many ways can you say "snail" in Japanese?
    I only know one way to say "snail" in Japanese,
    "KATATSUMURI" that is.
    BTW, I know Korean and Japanese share a few nouns such as "KIRIN" for a giraffe, umm that is the only one I can think of right now, and I thought it was quite interesting.

    I recently learned some Okinawan dialect, which seems almost different language. It must be facsinating to listen to old Okinawan people talking in their dialect.

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    Thank you for posting back.

    I'm glad it helped! I didn't know exactly what to say; so I kind of rambled on.
    Quote Originally Posted by misa.j
    I only know one way to say "snail" in Japanese,
    "KATATSUMURI" that is.
    I recently learned some Okinawan dialect, which seems almost different language. It must be facsinating to listen to old Okinawan people talking in their dialect.
    One reason I asked you about the word for snail is because I love snails; (/TALPHENG'I/ in Korean) in fact I have about 30 water snails in a fish tank. They are a very happy creature. I know for a fact that Spongebob's pet Gary is no exaggeration! Wonderful pets, too. They'll eat almost anything, and clean up after!

    But the other reason was; I've read in a textbook about Mr. Yanagita Kunio (1875-1962) who studied snail words in Japan; In his time, he collected 4 different snail words propagating outwards from Kyoto; let me list them.

    ....dedemusi (central Kyoto)
    ....maimai
    ....katatumuri
    ....tuburi (outskirts of the city)


    I've noticed your word for snail is Mr. Kunio's third snail word. (Where have you heard people say /KATATSUMURI/? Do you have a place name so I can find it on a map?)
    But I would really like to ask you this; does any other form sound familiar, even as a provincial or kiddy word? And might you know what snail is in Okinawan? Or even Ainu?

    Quote Originally Posted by misa.j
    BTW, I know Korean and Japanese share a few nouns such as "KIRIN" for a giraffe, umm that is the only one I can think of right now, and I thought it was quite interesting.
    i /kirin/ is indeed the same in Japanese & Korean. It is both the mythological "unicorn" and the giraffe we see at the zoo!
    A couple I found interesting are

    HARA (Jap. "field")......: PO:L (Kor. "field, mud patch")
    FATA (Jap. "field")......: PATH (Kor. "dry field")
    MORI (Jap. "forest")....: MOI (Kor. "mountain")
    MURE (Jap. "multitude): MURI (Kor. "multitude")
    NATA (Jap. "sickle")....: NAS (Kor. "sickle")
    WADA(Jap. "navigate"): PATA(Kor."sea")
    NAY...(Ainu "river").....: NAI(Kor. "river")

    There are tons of others I can quote, but I wondered if you thought these Modern Japanese words and meaning are written correctly? And are any of them old usage, ancient Old Japanese, not used now?

    Quote Originally Posted by misa.j
    It must be facsinating to listen to old Okinawan people talking in their dialect.
    Where did you go to learn Okinawan? Are there classes?
    Once I've learned enough Japanese, I would like to study Okinawan and Ainu! I can hardly wait for that!
    Last edited by lexico; 05-01-05 at 16:47. Reason: scythe has long rod; sickle has short rod

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    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    I've noticed your word for snail is Mr. Kunio's third snail word. (Where have you heard people say /KATATSUMURI/? Do you have a place name so I can find it on a map?)
    But I would really like to ask you this; does any other form sound familiar, even as a provincial or kiddy word? And might you know what snail is in Okinawan? Or even Ainu?
    I grew up in Kantou area of Japan where people speak "Hyoujungo" which with, the most books are written, but also "DENDEN MUSHI" is used in a song about snail for kids. I remembered after reading your post.

    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    Where did you go to learn Okinawan? Are there classes?
    My husband was into Okinawan style of Karate a while ago, and he taught me a few Okinawan words that he had learned from a book.

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    Thank you, Misa.J

    Thanks for sharing your personal memory.
    Now I can picture the snails in my mind,
    with people in Kantou Japan who call them katatsumuri,
    and children who sing den~den~mushi!
    It has become a memory for all to share,
    till the end of the computer age!
    Take care, Misa.J!

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    I have been learning French for four years I still make mistakes in French. There are some sounds I just don't pronounce well. With Eastern European people, I can only understand the young ones, the people over 30 except one most speak an alien language to me. The old French people some are rather nice but most are not fond of people who can't speak French. I have learned to understand all sorts of accents, but really have trouble with people who pronounce words with too many R sounds. I still have difficulties to understand Canadian french, I prefer to speak English with them.



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    Quote Originally Posted by ragedaddy View Post
    ...I think the difference between Japan and the US is that in America the nationals are expecting that if you are living there you should know or at least be attempting to learn the language. However, in Japan it seems like there is no expectations for foreigners living there to learn the language (these are just my observations, so I could be wrong).
    This is a good observation. Here in the US, there is a social expectation that people who move here will make an honest attempt to learn English, and due to this, there is widespread tolerance of, and even acceptance of, people who are making that honest attempt. As much as people around the world claim that Americans are boorish and rude, this is one aspect where Americans may actually be more tolerant than others - criticizing a foreigner for "poor" pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary is simply not socially acceptable, and those who do criticize are looked down on as rude (cf. "Grammar Nazi"). Being seen as a "Grammar Nazi" is not cool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertColumbia View Post
    This is a good observation. Here in the US, there is a social expectation that people who move here will make an honest attempt to learn English, and due to this, there is widespread tolerance of, and even acceptance of, people who are making that honest attempt. As much as people around the world claim that Americans are boorish and rude, this is one aspect where Americans may actually be more tolerant than others - criticizing a foreigner for "poor" pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary is simply not socially acceptable, and those who do criticize are looked down on as rude (cf. "Grammar Nazi"). Being seen as a "Grammar Nazi" is not cool.
    I think in Anglophone countries there is more tolerance towards ethnic minorities and their languages. In NSW Australia, where they have more funding than other states, there are even jobs where they hire people to take care of ethnic minorities with language difficulties.

    In France, people are less tolerant of ethnic minorities and their differences, they don't approve of ethnic minorities keeping their culture. One French teacher I know from Thuré even went ahead to criticize what people can or cannot do in another country, just because the norm does not fit his norm. This is a Frenchman from a little village, who has little contacts with foreigners. I find his vision very narrow minded. He is a hypocrite because he cannot accept how in another country, people can live their lives this way and yet he wants to befriend with foreigners.

    By contrast my French friends who are very international are quite the opposite of him. Having said that, there are many of those types of French or other Europeans who do not like changes. In some villages in France, they dislike anything different from them, they are so conservative to an extent that they just keep on getting married within the people in their village and they produce children with disabilities more often then those who mix more.
    Last edited by Minty; 28-01-17 at 10:13.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragedaddy View Post
    Hey Misa J.,

    There are lots of Americans who will listen and try to understand you even if you make mistakes. I think since this country is so diverse many people are used to listened to non-native speakers. The other reason is the typical American is not bilingual, and so they have no choice in trying to communicate in any language other than English. I guess this pretty much goes for anybody in any country that only speaks their native language. If they didn't attempt to communicate in that certain language then you probably wouldn't be able to communicate hardly at all. For example, My Mom and Dad can only speak English (Not a suprise there), and my Wife can speak Japanese, Korean, and a little English. Therefore, if they don't try to communicate in English then it would be impossible for them to ever communicate(Unless I had to constantly translate). The point is that there are a lot of Americans who are interested in people of different cultures, and even if they make some mistakes, it is not a big deal.

    The same went for me when I was studying in Japan, there were a lot of people who couldn't speak English, so there was no choice other than us speaking in Japanese (Even if I was making hardcore mistakes). Learning a foreign language is not the easiest thing in the world, and more than being perfectly gramtically correct it is more important they have some type of understanding of what you are talking about.

    I think the difference between Japan and the US is that in America the nationals are expecting that if you are living there you should know or at least be attempting to learn the language. However, in Japan it seems like there is no expectations for foreigners living there to learn the language (these are just my observations, so I could be wrong).
    I disagree. They have expectations from foreigners who really intend to stay there to learn their language. The period you stayed in Japan must had been short.

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    I have been in South Africa recently. It was a very nice holiday.
    Although everybody speaks English there I noticed most people could understand a few words when we spoke Flemish to each other.
    With a few of them I spoke a few sentences in Flemish/Afrikaans and then we switched back to English because it was easier for the both of us.
    Speaking a similar language gives a feeling of a connection, some common ground.
    Dutch and Afrikaans diverged some 300 years ago, Flemish and Dutch diverged even earlier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    Dutch and Afrikaans diverged some 300 years ago, Flemish and Dutch diverged even earlier.
    Do you mean that Flemish and Dutch are more diverged than Dutch and Afrikaans? I regard the Flemish as the more 'purist' Dutch speakers, party caused by controverse with the French speaking Belgians. In writing contests in Dutch language, the Flemish are almost every time the winners! Afrikaans is some derived language from the Dutch golden age....so a kind of seventieth age language especially influenced by the dialect of Holland and, near to Belgium, Zeeland....


    Sent from my iPad using Eupedia Forum

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    Quote Originally Posted by Northener View Post
    Do you mean that Flemish and Dutch are more diverged than Dutch and Afrikaans? I regard the Flemish as the more 'purist' Dutch speakers, party caused by controverse with the French speaking Belgians. In writing contests in Dutch language, the Flemish are almost every time the winners! Afrikaans is some derived language from the Dutch golden age....so a kind of seventieth age language especially influenced by the dialect of Holland and, near to Belgium, Zeeland....


    Sent from my iPad using Eupedia Forum
    Flemish and Dutch are still neighbours, so they keep on influencing each other, which is not the case with Afrikaans which is isolated since 300 years.
    You may be right, to our surprise the Afrikaners claimed that it is easier for them to understand Flemish then Dutch.
    We did not speak to the black Khoi people in Flemish, but we picked up some words when the Khois were talking to each other which certainly have Afrikaner roots and were very understandable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    I have been in South Africa recently. It was a very nice holiday.
    Although everybody speaks English there I noticed most people could understand a few words when we spoke Flemish to each other.
    With a few of them I spoke a few sentences in Flemish/Afrikaans and then we switched back to English because it was easier for the both of us.
    Speaking a similar language gives a feeling of a connection, some common ground.
    Dutch and Afrikaans diverged some 300 years ago, Flemish and Dutch diverged even earlier.
    Ya, I've been to RSA recently too.

    The way I see it, people speak a little accented English but clear and easily understandable, and then they would switch to Dutch, frequently within a single discussion, and all understanding would be lost for me. Though I can understand some written Dutch and Afrikaans, when I hear it spoken I can't grasp a word.

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