Tag Archives: languages

Third Culture Kids and Hybrid Cultures

World on the face

Where are you from? If you’re like most people, the question seems easy enough to answer. But if you hate getting asked that question in the first place, then you might be a third-culture kid. This is a phenomenon not well-known to most people. Knowing about it, however, can be very helpful in understanding culture in general, the world in its togetherness, and our own identity. So what exactly is a Third Culture Kid (TCK)?

Posted in Culture, Psychology, Science, Social Psych | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Why Can’t Japanese People Say L’s or R’s?

Most Westerners who come into contact with Japanese people first wonder why they can’t seem to pronounce R’s and L’s. Those who are around them more often tend to observe that they actually can pronounce them, but they always mix them up. Neither of these assumptions are totally accurate. In order to understand the confusion with these English letters, we have to know a bit about the Japanese language.

Posted in Culture, Japan | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Are the ESL Programs in Japan Doing More Harm than Good?

When you see the same mistakes being made over and over by different people – which you will inevitably see in the English education system in Japan – then the problem is clear. It’s not an individual thing; it’s a systematic issue. Students are all somehow being taught the same mistakes, and/or not enough people are fixing them. There are hundreds if not thousands of small businesses and little organizations (especially in Tokyo) that are trying to beat the bad habits out of students, but you will be surprised at how far these mistakes reach. I didn’t have to look hard to find examples of this in the newspaper.

Posted in Culture, Japan, Media, Translations | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Love Plus Imagination – Part 3: Why Visual Novels (and Manga Comics) are More Popular in Japan

“Only a Japanese person would like that…” An ignorant and perhaps subtly racist statement, sure. However, for a different reason, there’s some truth to it when it comes to manga (Japanese comics) or visual novels (a video game genre that entails slow-paced story-telling, lots of reading, and pop-up options that can completely change the course of the game). To be clear, the statement is not true because Japanese people are inherently more inclined to like visual novels; but rather, they are more likely to give such games a chance and overlook issues that most English-speakers/Westerners would not tolerate as easily, because of their culture. The information below will reveal what the English-speaking world is ignorant of in several specific aspects of Japanese popular culture.

Posted in Activism, Culture, Japan, Psychology, Technology, Video Games | Tagged , | Leave a comment

What Does English Sound Like to Foreigners?

With most of the world vying to learn English, some native English speakers are beginning to believe that English is the most valuable language. When one surrounds themselves around the same language, and only that single language, they stop getting a sense of what it’s like for someone on the outside to learn the language. Below are two fantastic videos that give a sense of what it’s like for foreign people to hear native English speakers – specifically in an American/Canadian accent. For the North American native English speakers, this should help you appreciate the ESL experience.

Posted in Aggregators/lists/rankings, Culture | Tagged | 1 Comment

Is Japanese the Fastest-Sounding Language?

When you hear a language that you don’t understand, it always sounds like it’s whizzing by you at a million words per minute. People are also generally ignorant of the way they themselves contract colloquialisms and make their natural speech slurred and hurried. This is all natural. But recent research has given some interesting information regarding the speed of several common languages, including which has the most information packed into the fewest amount of syllables, and which language has the most syllables. Where does your language stack up?

Posted in Japan, Psychology | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

TED Gallery: Endangered or Forgotten Languages

Language is a massive part of culture. There’s absolutely no denying it. Anyone who speaks multiple languages that are from cultures that do not generally intertwine (i.e., not places like Pakistan, where they may grow up to speak three or more languages, such as Urdu, Hindi, and English) understand well. But the internet, along with a rapidly increasing desire to communicate with people across the world, is homogenizing us in ways that some say are detrimental to smaller cultures. I decided to make compilations of TED talks among various topics, and I’m going to start with linguicide, the death of a language. We’ll start with one person who is trying to decipher the script of the Indus people; another who has studied many cultures across the globe; and another who believes that we can unite the world under one language, without doing so at the expense of other languages.

Posted in Activism, Aggregators/lists/rankings, Culture, Science, TED | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment