Wednesday, July 21, 2010

On English.

My native language is not English. I started to learn English only at the age of 12. Then my struggle began, as English and Japanese are two completely different language systems.

When I was 15, I went to a foreign country for the first time. In Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, I had the fortune of being touched by the warm hearts of people and being exposed to the universe of the English language in the day to day life.

Lots of water has flown under the bridge. Partly due to the internet (it probably gave the definitive, finishing touch), English has now established itself as the lingua franca of the new world, especially on the web.

Thus, people in the world are divided into two classes. Those who speak English as their native tongue and those who learn English later. There are many different kinds of people, for sure, along the spectrum, but roughly speaking, there are those two categories of people in the world.

Shortly after I started to write about general subjects in English, I realized that writing in the lingua franca is actually a way to connect not only to the native speakers of English, but also to miscellaneous people living in various parts of the world, who have learned English as a secondary language. Thus, communicating in English has broadened my world in two significantly different ways.


takuya514 said...

Mogi san,

Whereas I generally agree with your assertion that English has become a lingua franca, watching this recent TED speech by Ethan Zuckerman ( also made me realise that there still is a massive amount/volume/number of universe one has yet seen.

Takuya (

Anonymous said...

I also think so. Obvisouly, English is a good tool to know the world. When I went to Glasgow in Scotland, I was totally lost in their English, of which the accent is an absolutely nightmare for Japanese learners of English. However, it's definetely English and I realised that what we learned as the right English made me think their English was different. Anyway, after months, I came to love Glaswegian. Now though I'm in Japan, I sometimes miss it.
Your blog always gives me a motivation to keep learning. Thanks.

Greg said...

Trying to convey meaning and intention across languages that have different structures and resources is a daunting challenge, whether it is at the individual, institutional, or societal level. However, the reward is access to ideas and experiences that may not be available in our native languages. The challenges of reaching out and working together across differences, of which language is one, create opportunities not only for communication, but also for understanding and appreciation.

Little Dolittle said...

Recently, I have come to feel I was lucky to be born out of English.
Though it may be advantageous that the mother tongue is spoken as the lingua franca, I think it is unitary and too smooth.
Mixed emotions and dynamic re-composition accompany learning foreign language.

yuzu said...

I have written a daily in my little English ability sometime.
Some friends asked me that why?
I want to think of reaching people who are in all of the world with my talk.Even it is only in my mind. Nobody understand it.
But I will do it for me sometime.