It is a pretty much known thing that Japanese are among the nationalities in the world who are not blessed with English speaking skills. While it is an obvious thing from the people of Japan, many are still wondering why this nation, for decades, hasn’t really improved in the English speaking area. Well, let us dive into the reasons why Japanese people are not good English speakers.
#1. Japanese Educational System
Japanese schools must be the ones who promote better English language education to the Japanese learners. Unfortunately, these institutions themselves are one of the main reasons why there aren’t decent, if not good, English speakers in the country of Japan.
The fact that Japanese begin learning the English language at the age of 12, recently English is taught in kindergarten, already gives you an overview of the answer for the question “why.” Most of the countries abroad like Germany has been teaching the language starting in first grade. Thus, English is already introduced to the young ones and learning of the language will be much easier. In the case of Japan, the language is taken as an “option” and is not emphasized properly by the government.
Now, apart from that, participation during an English class is almost never encouraged. Instead, these Japanese learners of the English language are just being presented with vocabulary and grammar for them to memorize. Therefore, the actual use of this language is not practiced resulting to poor English speaking skills.
#2. Japanese are Shy to Use the Language
Actually, it is really not the thought that Japanese people aren’t good at English. It’s just that these people seldom express themselves through the language because they are afraid to be judged by others. Japanese seem to possess “perfectionism” trait when it comes to speaking the language.
The thought of being embarrassed and ridiculed by other people just because they are expressing themselves using the language hinders them to communicate well. In fact, if you will visit Japan, you will be surprised by the amount of English words these Japanese people know when you talk to them. Although equipped with enough knowledge of the language to connect with the others, they are put into a box due to the “shame culture” that dominates the country.
#3. Japanese Pronunciation and Accent
This is quite related to #2. Japanese pronunciation and accent when communicating using the English language sounds strange especially on the view point of a Native English speaker. If you will talk to a Japanese, you will be scratching your head due to the different sounds he/she is producing.
This is because Japanese people learn “Katakana English.” It is the pronunciation of English with the use of Japanese phonics rather than learning it the “native English speaker’ way. Consequently, when they converse with their fellow Japanese, they would be ashamed of their pronunciation and accent.
However, the case is surprisingly different when they are having a conversation with a foreigner. They would actually prefer to talk with the natives than with their own people.
Now, we have provided you with three reasons why Japanese people aren’t good English speakers. Let’s break our perception that Japanese people don’t know the English language or how to use it. It is only their communication skills that is lacking. If they can fully voice out their ideas and insights using the language without thinking about what others will think of them and the government decide to change its educational system for the English language then, we might expect more and more Japanese speaking the English language more often!