*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Japan, you're doing it %$#@ing wrong.

You can see why your average Japanese ESL student is alienated from anything like natural English.  This is the norm in Japan's English materials: little use of international pronunciation symbols; less appreciation that the first thing to master is decent pronunciation of the host language's phonemes; and less understanding that the katakana-approximations will not be understood by any English speakers except those who already speak Japanese.  Guess what.  It's just as bad for other languages!  I saw some salaryman using a made in Japan text to study Korean, and the hangul had furigana under it, too.  $&@%!  You don't make yourself understood in another language by applying the phonemes of your own.

If only I could convince the native-wife that 'oudoburu' is not French.


  1. Note: It's オードブル(oudoburu) in Japanese.

  2. Yuu mehko a beri guddo pointo.

  3. In my second working life in Japan about fifteen years ago, a position in which I had fuck all to do, I had half a book written about this. Whoever is "in charge" of katakana obviously speaks none of the languages that are the source of any of the "loan words." Beyond the bad katakana is just a whole dictionary of words that have entirely lost their meanings.

  4. Sankyu Mistaa Ocutopusu.

    Jeffrey, as I am sure you know, the people who set the rules are the people least qualified to do so: the ones monomaniacal and unimaginative enough to grind through the rote-memorization needed to get into a school, where their future was so assured they need never learn anything again!