Friday, March 12, 2010

Stab at a cultural parallel...

Japanese is the Spanish of Taiwan. Relative to the USA, I mean. Japanese here functions like Spanish in many parts of the USA. A lot of people know a little bit of the languages. Their cultures form a large part of the respective culinary customs. Many people feel an inchoate interest or sense of urgency to learn more of them or to visit a native country of that language. Both languages are seen as (somehow) "important these days." Even those who do want to learn them are intimidated by the difficulty of the grammar (compared to their mother tongue).

Oh, and I'm learning both of them with a serious interest to move to Japan.


orthocath said...

Is Japanese more complicated than Chinese? The school where I work (in Oregon, USA) is contemplating introducing Chinese as a foreign language.

The Codgitator said...


Grammatically, J is much more 'ornate' and exacting than C, but the requirements for real literacy in C are, I believe, vastly more challenging than for J. I have been studying J for only about a month, but I can already read and write pretty much anything I see and hear (because J has [two] phonetic alphabets), so even if I don't know what I'm seeing or writing, I can at least "produce" J and ask questions, etc. It took me months and years to achieve the same thing in C. But spoken C (Mandarin) is a breeze, once you get comfortable with the tones.


orthocath said...

Interesting. I'm working on Spanish and French right now. I've got a few others I'd like to study, but life is too busy :)

Where in Japan are you thinking of moving to?

In XC,

Dave Ignatius