I’ve been speaking Japanese for more than 25 years.
Also I’ve been studying English for more than 15 years.
And I think how well you can speak foreign language is about how well you can speak your mother language.
So here’s pros and cons as a Japanese speaker.
- You can watch the anime without subtitles.
- You can play Japanese games without subtitles.
- Since Japanese language has part of Chinese language, you will know about some Chinese cultures.
- You can talk to Chinese and Taiwanese people through writing.
These are the pros I can think of. First one and second one are the funny one though.
I learned Chinese poetry when I was a young student, and it was the part of curriculum. I really liked the Chinese poetry, how you read and the order was completely different with Japanese.
静 夜 思
牀 前 看 月 光
疑 是 地 上 霜
挙 頭 望 山 月
低 頭 思 故 郷
Read it left to write.
There’s some type of Chinese characters. Taiwanese, Chinese and Japanese uses a little bit different characters. But they look alike, so you can talk to Taiwanese, Chinese or Japanese through writing Chinese characters. I used to talk to Chinese or Taiwanese people when I work. Sometime they don’t speak English, so I wrote kanji to talk to them.
Adult Japanese is supposed to know 5000 type of Chinese characters, and they read and write about 3000-2000.
- It’s hard for Japanese to learn the other kind of grammar system.
- Due to the difficulty of learning other language, Japanese seems to like to stay and live in their own country.
- Chinese character has meaning in a character, so if I don’t know the word, I could stil understand what it would mean, but you can’t do that for English or other language.
- Japanese has 2 types of reading system, Chinese way and Japanese way. There are too many to learn. And even Japanese makes mistake to read, and learn.
- Remembering Alphabets and Chinese characters are totally different.
Those are serious cons that I thought of.
The grammar is too different with English or other major language. It’s really hard for us to understand how the grammar works.
And people often gave up to learn other language because of the difficulty.
You have to learn the meaning of the word in English, but if you know some of Chinese characters you could understand what it means.
There are 2 types of reading system in Japanese, and you have to learn how it works word by word. I have much to learn.
Remembering Alphabets and Chinese characters are totally different for me. I am really bad at remembering spelling.
I’ve imagined how it would be like if I was a British or American so many times. I mean a native English speaker.
A British guy told me, being British is not really good because they don’t tend to learn other language because of their mother language. They could speak English in the other country.
That’s true. Maybe I was lucky to be born in Japan. People says it’s the hardest reading and writing system in the world.
But I think of sometimes, if we only use one kind of character, there are so many that we don’t have to use our memory, and we could use it to remember more important things…
You can’t choose your family or nationality, but appreciating what you have is more important. So I appreciate who I am today, and I want to be interesting person.