Martin Dahlin comments

Posted in: Why are Japanese so bad at English? See in context

About 10 years ago when I was still in upper high school, I used to talk to a japanese guy named Hiroki over ICQ (or maybe it was MSN). Considering that he was japanese, I found him very, very good at english. When asked about he explained that he did watch a lot of american sitcoms, movies, read a lot of english books and so on - and that he had had this interest for "western" culture since he was about 10 when he started playing computer games (not arcade games) such as Doom, Quake and other "western made" games. So in a way he was like the opposite of a class mate of mine (who read manga, watched japanese movies, studied kanji and was a real "jap nerd"). He also said that he think the english they got in school "sucks" - especially the "teachers" - and he blamed the government/board of education/whatever for not really caring about that part of education. He told me that he was easily the best guy at english at his school, and credited it all to those american sitcoms and western movies which he watched pretty much every day. EXPOSURE is the key here and I could really identify myself with him. I also got a computer at a young age and started learning english even before it all started in school. And I've always been something of a movie-geek. On top of this: in Sweden the only movies and TV-shows that gets "dubbed" is those meant for children. Even teen-movies are in english.

Once again: it all comes down to exposure. If you moved to japan and lived there for 6 months - being FORCED to learn the language (and not sitting around by yourself in a hotel room), then you WOULD learn japanese for sure. No doubt about it.

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