Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Learning culture is useful (was: Re: basic vocab)

From:David Crowell <dpctrdk@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 19, 2000, 1:58
It is possible to learn languages without the culture, but language acquisition
is much more effective
when the culture is leaned.

I took two years of Japanese in college.
However, I didn't pay attention to the culture aspect of the class or of the
But some of the aspects of the grammar and the Japanese translations of American
novels I
study still confused me to some degree.

I finally got to Japan, knowing enough of the language to get by.
When I first needed  to get someone's attention,
I decided to use a Japanese translation of -Sir- or -Madam (Sensei)
becuase of the other languages I actually use such a translation to
politely get a person's attentions: i.e. Spanish, Catalan, French, English.
(señor, senyor, monsieur, Sir)
But to me it didn't sound right (because I have never seen it done like that
with Japanese in writing or in speech).

After awhile, I realized that the Japanese got the attention of others
by saying -sumimasen (a word I learned for -Excuse me- to interrupting others).
I felt so stupid (Homer Simpons -doh!)

Haviing experienced Japanese culture first hand,
a lot of the confusions I had with the language was clearned up.

Yu Ha Lee wrote:

> I once had a psychology major tell me that he learned nothing about > Japanese culture from high school Japanese, and that he didn't believe > learning language in general taught you anything about culture. I was > just boggled. Surely he learned something and didn't realize it? Or did > he really not pay attention? >