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Are Japanese natives generally exclusive?

 Language Learning Forum : Specific Languages (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post Reply
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William Camden
Hexaglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4381 days ago

1936 posts - 2333 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish, Russian, Turkish, French

 
 Message 9 of 66
13 September 2009 at 10:53pm | IP Logged 
Polish and Turkish speakers mostly fall into categories 1 and 2. The latter tend to be particularly surprised by me speaking their language.

No. 4 happened when I was entering Turkey. The border guard at the desk looked at my passport, which was quite old, and gestured at his own moustache area. (He did not speak English.) He was drawing attention to my having a moustache in the passport, but I was now clean-shaven due to changes in the world of fashion. I said in Turkish that, yes, it was an old picture. Hearing me speak Turkish, his eyes narrowed. He said, "Where did you learn Turkish?"
"I taught myself."
He gave me a long look, then handed back my passport and just jerked his finger towards the door behind him. I went through it, collected my case and left the airport.
Border guard types are suspicious by profession, I think.
    
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hombre gordo
Triglot
Senior Member
Japan
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184 posts - 247 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Japanese
Studies: Portuguese, Korean

 
 Message 10 of 66
13 September 2009 at 11:32pm | IP Logged 
maaku wrote:
but I've met the people (some from Japan, some from China, although I'm sure it's global) that strike up a conversation with you in English but totally lose interest when you transition to their native language. That attitute would be language rape.


I know those type of people and I would never act like them for the sake of my own honour! Those kind of user type people are probably just self-centered jerks in every aspect of life (not just in the world of languages) and are probably best ignored and avoided. I have read about these people on Parasitius's blog link. I would never like to come across as one of them, so here in England I have a policy of at least establishing a relationship and gaining the trust of people before I make any attempts to use any other language. I hope this is the right way to do things.

This is the criteria I use on judging people when I am overseas. If a person approachs me with an attitude best decribed as "the divine right of kings" (as Parasitius rather amusingly puts it) and immediately fires a load of over-eager English at me and does't seem to care what I think of it, I classify that person as a user only trying to squeeze some English practice out of me. In that case I choose to take a derisive attitude towards them (like Willian Camden's category 2 approach) as an hope that they will go away. I usually speak very broad and incomprehensible English so they can't understand and then insist that we speak Japanese for the sake of understanding. That way their ego gets damaged too! Or sometimes when I am not in a good mood I just tell them directly and abruptly that I will not speak English and then give them an honest answer why.

If they at least start off in Japanese and gain my trust I am more likely to see them as genuine people and be more willing to do them favours once in a while. Too bad most people are not smart enough to do this, take the first approach and fail my judgement test.



Edited by hombre gordo on 13 September 2009 at 11:53pm

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hombre gordo
Triglot
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 3692 days ago

184 posts - 247 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Japanese
Studies: Portuguese, Korean

 
 Message 11 of 66
13 September 2009 at 11:49pm | IP Logged 
qklilx wrote:
Personally the closest thing to that I've come across in respect to Japanese is a pair of friends who rarely spoke to me in Japanese, and eventually after a couple minutes would demand, happily and jokingly, but serious at the same time, that I speak English because my Japanese is good enough and their English isn't. Well, that was true to a certain extent so I obliged them. When I was in Japan on vacation the only Japanese people who spoke to me in English were ones who already knew how to have a conversation in it or those who had no choice because I didn't understand what they were saying.

I've never had a Korean deny me my right to speak Korean, and unless they don't care about English they usually do a lot of code switching when they talk to me even if they are horrible at English.

I don't think you'll have anything to worry about when you're in Japan. As long as you act stupid with the high school students who "practice" English with you you'll be fine.


Highschool students who "practice English"? Do you mean the dumb kids who approach the white guy and say "Herroo" then "goodbye" over and over again then laugh an leave? Once I went to a baseball game and had some kids do this to me! I couldn't stop laughing at their dumbassness.

You mentioned code switching didn't you? If ever I encounter a Japanese person who "mixes" languages ever two sentences I just tell them "to speak properly" because I absolutely cannot stand code switching in any language. (so that's tagalog off my language wish list). Code switching just irritates me that's all. Once a Japanese woman said to me "My husbandはあなたに心からthankします"! I felt like slapping the taste out of her mouth for butchering the two languages so much! I just can't bear to listen to that kind of butchery. Let's keep languages pure guys.
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maaku
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3683 days ago

359 posts - 562 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 12 of 66
14 September 2009 at 1:04am | IP Logged 
hombre gordo wrote:
I know those type of people and I would never act like them for the sake of my own honour! Those kind of user type people are probably just self-centered jerks in every aspect of life (not just in the world of languages) and are probably best ignored and avoided. I have read about these people on Parasitius's blog link. I would never like to come across as one of them, so here in England I have a policy of at least establishing a relationship and gaining the trust of people before I make any attempts to use any other language. I hope this is the right way to do things.

Agreed. FYI, I hope I didn't come off as accusing you of anything, just clarifying the discussion that's all.
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lancemanion
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3681 days ago

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Speaks: English*, Spanish, Thai
Studies: French, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 13 of 66
14 September 2009 at 2:32am | IP Logged 
hombre gordo wrote:
But I will bear their reactions in mind when I go to Japan. I will be heading there pretty
soon. When any Japanese people approach me in English I will be sure to give them the same cold responses I got
when I tried to use Japanese back home. I am sure people will think I'm a jerk for it. But all I am doing is the same
thing that the Japanese people were doing back in my country.

Not recommended. Why not try taking the high road instead?
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bitterbug
Newbie
Canada
atommo.com
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6 posts - 7 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Japanese

 
 Message 14 of 66
14 September 2009 at 4:23am | IP Logged 
What about a polite approach like, "I'm learning the language so I prefer to only speak (insert native language here) in the evening."
They might think you're a nut, but now you're a nut with rules :)


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hombre gordo
Triglot
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 3692 days ago

184 posts - 247 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Japanese
Studies: Portuguese, Korean

 
 Message 15 of 66
14 September 2009 at 2:37pm | IP Logged 
lancemanion wrote:
hombre gordo wrote:
But I will bear their reactions in mind when I go to Japan. I will be heading there pretty
soon. When any Japanese people approach me in English I will be sure to give them the same cold responses I got
when I tried to use Japanese back home. I am sure people will think I'm a jerk for it. But all I am doing is the same
thing that the Japanese people were doing back in my country.

Not recommended. Why not try taking the high road instead?


Hi Lancemanion,

I'm sorry I haven't quite understood the meaning of your post. What exactly does taking the high road mean in this context?
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Ichiro
Triglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
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Speaks: English*, Japanese, French
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 Message 16 of 66
14 September 2009 at 3:37pm | IP Logged 
hombre gordo wrote:
When any Japanese people approach me in English I will be sure to give them the same cold responses I got when I tried to use Japanese back home. I am sure people will think I'm a jerk for it. But all I am doing is the same thing that the Japanese people were doing back in my country.   


How do you know the Japanese haven't already met some English guy in Japan, with whom they tried to speak English, but who cold-shouldered them. They could then have come to England and given you the same treatment because all they are doing is "doing is the same thing that the [rude English people] were doing back in my country".

Why not break the cycle? If someone speaks in English to you, respond courteously in English, so they form a good impression of yourself and your culture. Perhaps they will be more inclined to offer Japanese if and when they come to England.

If you are going to Japan, you will be meeting more than enough monolingual Japanese to satisfy your immersion requirements. You can afford to humour the odd enthusiast who would like to practise a bit of English.

hombre gordo wrote:
Once a Japanese woman said to me "My husbandはあなたに心からthankします"! I felt like slapping the taste out of her mouth for butchering the two languages so much!


Modern Japanese speech makes copious use of such loan-words   I have heard my Japanese friends use such expressions as マイワイフ (maiwaifu) or マイホーム (maihoomu) not just discussing these concepts with me, the foreigner, but in normal unselfconscious speech with each other. That makes them part of the modern Japanese language that you should attempt to be speaking too. And I certainly wouldn't dream of slapping my friends because I had made a personal decision about how they should express themselves.


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