28 March, 2006

Foreign languages

Everybody knows, to master foreign languages is not easy in general. In fact, in spite of studying English for a decade in Japan, I cannot possibly say "I can use English." My writing is such as it is. Perhaps, it includes errors and unnatural expressions. However, I believe that the only way to break down this lack of confidence is to practice again and again. That is why I type as I take quite a long time.

By the way, even in recent English boom, bilinguals have scarcity value in Japan. Naturally, I still feel admiration for bilinguals. Here in Europe however, this was one of my biggest culture shocks, it is not so difficult to find trilinguals. Amazingly, at least in Germany, many people speak three or more languages.

Of course, there is a big advantage that many European languages have a lot of points of similarity. However, even if we put aside that, in terms of familiarness of foreign languages, how big the differences between an island country and countries connected by land are ! I feel strongly the big gap of the sence toward foreign languages between Japan and European countries.