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Trump's claim Akie Abe wife cannot speak English generates buzz

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She speaks normal English well, but doesn't know enough swear words to have a conversation with Trump. She probably still wonders why Trump is so interested in women's cats.

33 ( +39 / -6 )

She would not be the first Japanese person to feign knowing no English in order to not have to speak much either.

31 ( +32 / -1 )

I need to use that trick more often! I am going to laugh myself sick!

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Many Japanese people have English speaking qualifications can understand but find it difficult to speak.

26 ( +27 / -1 )

Japan as well as Germany and France has aquired a quite infamous reputation of being countries with poorly english speaking population:( English is the world's lingua franca, and inevitable not to encounter in business and trans-national cooperation. Chinese is an emerging lingua franca, but meanwhile we just have to cope with english as being the worlds sole "common" language.

-16 ( +7 / -23 )

Dont really get why this deserves to be a top page news on JT today.

22 ( +26 / -4 )

This is a rather ironic statement from a man who mangles language like it's garbage.

18 ( +23 / -5 )

details of her English-language education in Japan

From experience this means little if anything.

Akie speaks "perfectly serviceable English." The video clip featured the first lady delivering a speech in English about coastal resilience.

Serviceable English? What's that supposed to mean? "I'm fine, thank you, and you?"

Oh and reciting a speech in English and conversing in English are two totally different things too!

And another thing, I have a hard time with understanding wtf Trump is talking about sometimes too. I hear the Trumplish, but I sure as hell can't comprehend the meaning.

14 ( +20 / -6 )

Who really cares?

19 ( +20 / -1 )

Speaking and understanding are two entirely different things. If you don't have a chance to practice a language, you will never be a fluent speaker despite being able to understand everything you hear. The most interesting case I've seen are the so-called 'receptive bilinguals', who are children of immigrants who's parents speak to them in their native language from birth but who always respond back in English. They are 100% natively fluent when it comes to understanding, but will struggle to put together the most basic sentence if forced to speak. It's a really fascinating phenomenon where the two things seem to be wired in different parts of the brain. So even if Akie Abe has a Toeic score of 990, she probably has nobody to speak with on a regular basis.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

fueling speculation in social media she might have pretended not to speak the language in order to avoid conversing with Trump.

And in her defense, terms like 'authoritarian nationalist', 'collusion', ‘obstruction of justice’, ‘perjury’, ‘selling out to Russian gangsters’, ‘watersports’, ‘serial philanderer’, ‘serial bankrupter’, ‘crime families’ (Trump’s and Kushner’s), 'extortion' and 'money laundering', among others used whenever Trump’s name is mentioned, are probably hard to translate.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

I often come across here different English from what I learned at school. When Americans are talking with other American casually, it is very difficult to follow them. I think Americans have more slang including swear words than us Japanese.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

I speak English, but I'd have a hard time making conversation with a twittering numpty like Trump whose own command of English, BTW, is suspect, given his notorious signature linguistic tic of uttering incoherent sentences. Sad!

14 ( +16 / -2 )

At least she is not like his wife .... do you all remember when she used Michelle Obama .......

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Mighty big coming from this baboon wonder if the twat can understand any Japanese.....maybe hes fluent in Russian.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

That sounds like Trump's excuse for going over to chat with his number one homey Putin.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I think this is a story because, A. by Trump saying she can't even say hello, his detractors are using this an example of him demeaning a woman. Something they say he always does, either by making comments about their looks or his actions. And B. this could be perceived as an insult to the leader of the free world, when you feign ignorance and try and ignore him. I'm sure Shinzo-kun is not happy right now with his wife for causing this small sh$t storm.

But look at Ichiro, he has lived in the US for more than years, but he will not do an interview in English, he always uses an interpreter. But with his teammates he is always talking and joking around. Only Munenori Kawasaki would try his hand at garbled English and the fans loved him for it!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Can trump's wife "melanie" speak Japanese? Can Trump speak Japanese? I bet both of then can't, so what are they talking crap about?

13 ( +18 / -5 )

So... can she or can't she speak casual English? You'd think this would have been proven immediately in the J-news, but I couldn't find anything other than a prepared speech she gave. Definitely not good PR for her, nor for her being a role model for English students -- to feign lacking English ability??!! Not good at all.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

J-news showed a Video of her giving a speech in English.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Can trump's wife "melanie" speak Japanese? Can Trump speak Japanese? I bet both of then can't, so what are they talking crap about?

Japanese is a fringe language. It is inconsequential to the world.

-15 ( +3 / -18 )

Pacint, anybody can get up and read a prepared speech, especially if it was written in katakana! I know lots of foreigners that use google translate to get the romanized version of Japanese, write it down, and read it. They sound pretty good, but really have no idea what they are saying. This happened at a conference we had, and when it came time for Q&A, the speaker couldn't answer any questions, and needed them translated.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Exactly how much Japanese did President Trump use in the conversation?

Communicating is a two-way street.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Just reportef what was shown on TV. Nothing more don't know hrr language abiliries.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Csn Trump speak spanish, french, german, etc?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

kurisupisu: Who really cares?

Mostly the Trump haters, who enthusiastically search for (often misguided) ways to label any Trump news as evidence of his shortcomings. ...as you can see above.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Trump obviously can't speak English, so maybe the interpreter had a difficult time "Trumping down" the use of ACTUAL English into dummy-speak for him. I mean, much of the man's NY Times interview, as well as the rest of his speeches, was unintelligible, so...

12 ( +15 / -3 )

What would you say if you had to sit next to Trump for two hours?

I would probably just shake my head a lot.

Trump commenting on someone's English!!! Shows much about his sense of the political or tact, and a double standard to boot.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Many if not most Americans, at least those with anything over half a brain, question whether Trump can speak English beyond a 5th grade level. He's hardly qualified to be making such a stupid comment. Especially when his own wife, the freaking First Lady speaks English like ....Henry Kissinger.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t69EoyGZ4Fw

Here's Melania...go to 1:40 if you wanna skip the clown.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_ey4CiNjuM

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Though your president speaks "gutter" English, but he speaks often to the point. I enjoy his speeches.

-14 ( +0 / -14 )

One thing my American friends and wife often forget is that to speak in English to most people in Japan, is to speak slowly and clearly and use well known vocabulary. If Trump was speaking like he usually does, I can see someone being intimidated.

But at the same time, she should be used to engaging with all types from all nations by now.

Is this even real news?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Well, listening to Trump at the debates, I wonder if he speaks English. He seemed to be speaking a list of random English words, but it was so muffled it was hard to tell.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Csn Trump speak spanish, french, german, etc?

If Trump spoke any French at a summit, that could finally be enough to turn his base against him.

Sprechen sie trash?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Csn Trump speak spanish, french, german, etc?

Yeah but ain't he the "America First" dude like all things American runs the planet?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Many Japanese people have English speaking qualifications can understand but find it difficult to speak.

From everything I have seen she can’t really speak it. She can definitely say ‘hello’ or greet people in English, even read a scripted speech, but protocol if nothing else would dictate not starting to speak with the US president when you are not able to hold a conversation beyond pleasantries.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I suppose it's a funny story if true, but given the weight of things like obstruction of justice investigations this really isn't front page material.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

strikebreaker:

Japan as well as Germany and France has aquired a quite infamous reputation of being countries with poorly english speaking population

Are you for real? Germany? That country, along with the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries have some of the best non-native speakers. The French may not be as willing to speak English, but to put even France in the same sentence with Japan is laughable. Get that N2O away from me.

I couldn't give a hoot about the Trumps or Abes. They can continue arguing. Someone just give me some popcorn. And reading a prepared speech does not mean you can understand the language.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Looks like the First Lady of Japan pretended not to speak English for nearly 2 hours to avoid talking to Trump

Ha ha! And just went up a few notches in my estimation in the process. He should feel privileged that real world leaders even sit at his table for dinner in my opinion, let alone deign to pretend to be enjoying it.

Japan as well as Germany and France has aquired a quite infamous reputation of being countries with poorly english speaking population

By whose estimation? Most French and German people I know speak several languages very well, English usually being one of them. From my experience, monoglots tend to confuse a slight accent for not being able to speak at all. I think your statement is rubbish.

I wonder how Trump's Slovene is? Or any other language that he speaks, though I am just assuming there are none.

Bogan.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The other point here is that an ability to speak English or not is no measure of anything significant at all.

This is merely American cultural imperialism and elitism shamelessly and ignorantly on display for all to see.

I hope she just sticks to her interpreter.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Talking to YOU is anathema for her -- and most other people concur.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

anyone know who the other 2 are in the pic?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Pretty clear now that deep convos are not Trump's forte, prefers (and excel at ) trivial, after-dinner chit-chat. "wow, you're in good shape (i.e for a woman your age)!", "Akie Abe? she didn't even speak English!". The potus ladies & gentlemen. The bloke has a no class.

Nosy old man of politics.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Yeah, okay I get the irony of Trump complaining about someone else's English ability.

On the other hand, she's the spouse of a world leader sitting next to another world leader. It's pretty bad to not even try to make conversation by asking a simple question like "can you eat sushi?"

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Akie used Japanese female custom. When they dislike a man they ignore him.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

But what a blessing in disguise, from Ms. Abe's perspective! Can you imagine having to converse for nearly two hours with that orange bloated sack of "alternative facts"!

At least Ms. Akie Abe can speak eloquently in her first language, Japanese. The same cannot be said about the current "president" of the USA, when it comes to HIS first language! SAD!

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Learn a foreign language, or miss out on a great deal.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japanese is a fringe language. It is inconsequential to the world. Japanese is still one of the top-10 for languages with the most native speakers in the world. This is out of 6000-7000 languages. Still English, French, Spanish and Mandarin will give you more opportunities overall (if you are looking for an extrinsive reason to learn another language).

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Akie used Japanese female custom. When they dislike a man they ignore him.

The thing is, this is a formal dinner between world leaders, not elementary school.

Pettiness is not a virtue.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

President Donald Trump as claiming she cannot even say "hello."

Covfefe, anyone?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

after a New York Times report

All you need to know. Stopped reading after this.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

He’s lying so as to have given himself a reason to leave and move over to Putin. Simple as that.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

TamaramaToday 09:55 am JSTThe other point here is that an ability to speak English or not is no measure of anything significant at all.

This is merely American cultural imperialism and elitism shamelessly and ignorantly on display for all to see.

No it's not American cultural imperialism or elitism. It's an idiotic comment by a person with no education, intelligence, experience or qualification to be in an international forum among global leaders and their spouses.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

sourpussToday 10:10 am JSTYeah, okay I get the irony of Trump complaining about someone else's English ability.

On the other hand, she's the spouse of a world leader sitting next to another world leader. It's pretty bad to not even try to make conversation by asking a simple question like "can you eat sushi?"

Why should she when she knows she'll get some dumb answer like "what's sushi?"

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Japanese is a fringe language. It is inconsequential to the world.

Oh come on man, are you serious? Is this really what you want to say, or have you structured your post strangely given what follows in your comment?

Because this is just a mind bender.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Ossan

Fair comment.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Mr. Turnip is an idiot. Who cares?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

yet this misses the more important question: why is Trump unable to speak English?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Fun to bash using off hand comments...?

There is NO standard or requirement that all Prime Minister's wives MUST speak English, just as there is NO requirement for Queen Elizabeth to speak Russian, Chinese or even Arabic. It is not "expected", is it?.

This article makes an issue for discussion and finger-pointing... a kind of harassment which occurs in all societies... gossip... gossip... of no value...

Sad that such articles must be used to attract readers...

Sadder still that we even respond to such an article...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japanese is a fringe language. It is inconsequential to the world.

It being inconsequential doesn't matter. Insulting someone who isn't a native English speaker is low when many native English speakers can't even grasp a basic second language.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The MSM Borges are out in force today. Cracks me up how you knee jerkers can get triggered so easily. Says a lot about your priorities. I'm wondering what would you all do if the NYT's ever became a legitimate news source again? CNNbart? LOL

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

I bet he didn't even try to talk to her.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"Looks like the First Lady of Japan pretended not to speak English for nearly 2 hours to avoid talking to Trump,"

Except the PM's spouse isn't The First Lady of Japan. If there was one, it would be Empress Michiko.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Every one is enjoying conversation except Trump.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Google this with the New York Times. President Trump stated he does not know where this quote is coming from. Fake News!

I love all this winning with Trump!!! Keep America Great 2020!!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Me thinks the lady is smarter than we give her credit for. I bet there are lots of others who wished they had the same idea.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Learn a foreign language, or miss out on a great deal.

Not necessarily. To take one example, the longer I stay in Japan, the more I feel that the Japanese people worth bothering with can speak English anyway.

The Abes strike me as insular, nationalistic types. I think we've all met these types before, in Japan and elsewhere, and they are not worth bothering with.

In Mrs Abe's defence, is it really worth investing the hours needed to communicate well in English in these situations when you have a top-drawe translator on hand? No use buying a dog if you plan barking at strangers yourself.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

And in her defense, terms like 'authoritarian nationalist', 'collusion', ‘obstruction of justice’, ‘perjury’, ‘selling out to Russian gangsters’, ‘watersports’, ‘serial philanderer’, ‘serial bankrupter’, ‘crime families’ (Trump’s and Kushner’s), 'extortion' and 'money laundering', among others used whenever Trump’s name is mentioned, are probably hard to translate.

I don't think so. If you understand English it is very easy.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

She said she doesn't speak English so she doesn't have to talk to President Trump. I would do the same thing also. Oh and why does post make it almost sound like that it's almost a requirement for her to know English?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I don't think so. If you understand English it is very easy.

I don't know about that. Do you think the following incoherent gibberish from Trump in an interview would pose problems to a non-native speaker?

Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart—you know, if you’re a conservativethink Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I'm one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you're a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that’s why I always start off:

If I spoke in sentences like that to my Japanese colleagues, all of whom are very proficient English speakers, they'd probably be utterly baffled and tell me to lie down for a while.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Why would Akie Abe not wish to speak to Trump? I mean, they have so many interests in common. They could discuss their experiences in real estate development and running educational establishments, for a start.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Google this with the New York Times. President Trump stated he does not know where this quote is coming from.

That's probably just his old-age making him forget. His exact quote:

Trump: So, I was seated next to the wife of Prime Minister Abe [Shinzo Abe of Japan], who I think is a terrific guy, and she’s a terrific woman, but doesn’t speak English.

HABERMAN: Like, nothing, right? Like zero?

TRUMP: Like, not “hello.”

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/us/politics/trump-interview-transcript.html

Fake News!

You people need to learn what fake news is. Hint: it doesn't mean news you don't like.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Trump is just confused in thinking Abe can't speak English. What Abe actually doesn't speak or understand is the language of Ignorance - which isn't English - which is why she ignored Trump, and let him conjure up wild ideas of how to throw someone under a bus for no reason.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Honestly what would anyones conversation be with Trump? PPAP?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I suspect Trump is correct although his version of English (or Trumplish) is indecipherable to many.

The problem in Japan is that English is taught in a never-ending series of courses and tests in order to generate cash for the language companies and schools. It's a huge business. English communication is not one of the objectives.......

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Physician, heal thyself....

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Translators around the world can't translate Trump because his grammar is so bad

What would a conversation be with Trump? Seen any good courtrooms lately? Weren't you fined for being a racist slum lord? Are these Trump steaks?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

So The Dumpster lied, again. What else is new? I saw an analysis somewhere stating that he lies about 2/3rds of the time. Why should this time be abnormal?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Akie used Japanese female custom. When they dislike a man they ignore him.

I imagine that this is not something particular to just Japanese women.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Two points: first, who could blame Akie for not wanting to talk to that lecherous buffoon, and second, how much Japanese does Trump speak?

Perhaps the 'Duck' got too 'personal' in Florida; he seems to imagine he's God's gift to women.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The media has clearly blown out of proportion an apparently casual mention by President Trump about what has been amplified, twisted and reported in the US media! Can't the media people use some common sense before fabricating a report on such trivial issues?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

What others are talking and smiling? In Abe's Calif. English? They should talk something Trump can understand.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Has anybody ever bothered to watch Akie's "Speech"?

She struggles through a tortuous 17 minute speech that should have taken about 5 minutes to deliver. She stumbles and fumbles her way through it, obviously having been coached for many hours on pronunciation beforehand, but it is obvious that she can't speak English.

But hey, why does that matter, the PM's wife can't speak the language the entire world has adopted for communication. Who cares right? I mean, her husband can't speak English either.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Well... how about him learning a foreign language?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Like it or not, English is now well known to be the common language or lingua franca. It's an undeniable reality. So I think it's a good idea to speak English without the aid of an interpreter, if possible. But when it came to Abe's wife Akie talking with Donald Trump in English may have been another matter. :(

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So I think it's a good idea to speak English without the aid of an interpreter

It depends on what you want. Almost all of the Japanese people I deal with in my neighbourhood speak next to no English. I'd estimate 80% of the people at my company as a whole can't speak English.

They seem perfectly content and make a living.

My partner is English. English is used in my department at work and Japanese is useful but not essential. If I'd had the chance to call on an interpreter when I needed to get something done in Japanese, I'm not sure I'd have invested all those hours of study. I'll be leaving Japan within a year and it will become basically useless knowledge. I might impress a few people in the pub for maybe 5 minutes.

Maybe Akie Abe had more useful things to do.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

She read script very well.

NYT is against Trump.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

She can speak English when it benefits her to do so, and can play dumb when that's in her best interest.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese began studying English at freshman in Jr HS. Read,write, translate.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Wow this is breaking news. Send this info to the Special Counsel immediately.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The guy with the white hair photoed on the left is Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots. had to do some digging, still cant find out who the other guy is.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Pres. Trump should have provided interpreter.  He needs to find a better protocol officer. 

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Jimizo Today 12:01 am JST

Makes sense to me. Thank you for the feedback.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Trump is a total and complete national and international embarrassment. IMO, it is time for members of Congress to come together in a bi-partisan fashion and remove him from office. As bad as Mike Pence would be, he is not Donald Trump.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

PTownsend:

And in her defense, terms like 'authoritarian nationalist', 'collusion', ‘obstruction of justice’, ‘perjury’, ‘selling out to Russian gangsters’, ‘watersports’, ‘serial philanderer’, ‘serial bankrupter’, ‘crime families’ (Trump’s and Kushner’s), 'extortion' and 'money laundering', among others used whenever Trump’s name is mentioned, are probably hard to translate.

OK, maybe not Russian gangsters or watersports, but she sure knows about authoritarian nationalist', 'collusion', ‘obstruction of justice’ and '(war) crime families'. You do know who she's married to?

Alfie:

Why would Akie Abe not wish to speak to Trump? I mean, they have so many interests in common. They could discuss their experiences in real estate development and running educational establishments, for a start.

Yeah, too right!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The Mass media seems to have no issue to discuss and they make donkeys into horses and horses into donkey. The mass media especially target Trump and seems to be obsessed with him. If any nation has to grow, it should keep at distance the media and watch it as a fun in the world of presstitutes.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If any nation has to grow, it should keep at distance the media and watch it as a fun in the world of presstitutes.

Or clamp down and let the state have the ultimate say?

No thanks; I'd rather Trump's every sneering utterance reported on than not. It's good to have a measure of the enemy, no matter how grating and unpleasant they are.

Trump's command of English is limited, so it's kind of ironic for him to cast aspersions on Akie Abie.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Above meeting photo conversation must be beyond under educated Trump's brain. He does not. Have college education.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

> wow, you're in good shape (i.e for a woman your age)!

Definitely not a compliment

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Supposed Abe's wife doesn't speak English and Trump's wife doesn't speak Japanese. Is there a problem?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hopefully everyone in the world will learn Japanese until the Olympics huh.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

She can speak English, she just didn't want to speak English to Trump, and I totally understand her.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

toshiko: Above meeting photo conversation must be beyond under educated Trump's brain. He does not. Have college education.

Neither does Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Richard Branson. What's your point?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

VERY WELL, I am sure , the current, Mrs Trump Speaks Japanese, Chinese, Arab, Russian, Indian & ....................................

without an transalator. I like Mrs Trump, May god bless U.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mrs Trump speaks five languages, without the need of a translator. Most of Trump's family can speak 2 or 3 languages or more.

Growing up with multilingual parents, Trump himself can probably understand one or two eastern European languages though he doesn't appear to be able to speak them. His entire family is very multi-lingual.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There is an old saying, "when in Rome do as the Romans do" My Japanese is not good, But i make an effort and I try,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Northernlife:

Mighty big coming from this baboon wonder if the twat can understand any Japanese.....maybe hes fluent in Russian.

Of course the twat can understand Japanese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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