Sunday, December 29, 2013

natasha nakamura's diary

People who find cause to speak to me in English in spite of my more or less Japanese features often apologize for what they call their "Japanese English." I invariably can understand what they are getting at because they never try to say anything complicated and in fact their communications can have a certain charm, so what's the problem? Is Japanese English so much different from French English or Sicilian English? Or for that matter is Des Moines English much different from Chattanooga English or Birmingham English? The answer is - of course it's different, but so what?

When somebody says "Sayonara, baby," is that English Japanese? I guess.

English is a vigorous language because pulls in words and phrases from other languages. It is only language schools in Japan that have a vested interest in convincing people that they will somehow be looked down on if they don't speak the English the schools are prepared to teach them - for 4,000 yen an hour. A language-school ad on the train insists there is a crucial difference between "to go up" and "to climb." Fuggedabowdit!" 

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