Japan and English

This, in no way, is about Engrish. Well, maybe a little. The tough thing about English is we like to keep all our sounds a secret, a code that we natives inherently understand but phonetically have trouble simplifying. We can pretend that it’s just a matter of vowel shifts, but I have three words for you: tomb, comb, and bomb. It’s probably not too hard to learn to read English, but speaking it has got to be a cruel joke for many non-natives. In Japan, English words that have become a part of Japanese vocabulary are often shortened beyond recognition. Japanese doesn’t even contain dipthongs. But to be fair, it’s rather difficult to become fully literate in Japanese, and their literacy rate is higher than America’s. Despite what this map would have you believe, America’s rate is probably closer to 80% for full literacy, if not much lower. But Japan? They’re likely reporting a more accurate literacy rate. And they are smart. Not just “hopefully getting there“. You just can’t fake it with Kanji, I guess.


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