Written English is popular; spoken one is far from being so

Wingyellow   Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 09:47 GMT
I have just been to Japan and practically I met no Japanese who DARE to speak English except for the guys working for the airlines. I doubt if spoken English is really as popular as I expect outside USA, UK and other English speaking countries.
javier   Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 12:27 GMT
Speaking English is harder than writing it. Some think that since English is spread out everywhere, we are always expected to strike up a conversation in English as in our mother tongue. Regrettably, many times it does not happen, although those Pro-English linguists, like David Crystal, consider us as English speakers. The truth is that they are absolutely mistaken.
wingyellow   Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 16:14 GMT
Actually, speaking is easier than writing.
Ashley   Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 23:31 GMT
I guess it depends, writing English would be harder probably because of the spelling, I'm an American, so it is easy either way for me, but for a learner, writing it would probably be harder because you have to learn how to spell words, as far as speaking, you really do not need to know how to spell, but yet you do because you wouldn't know to pronounce most of the words, I suppose it depends on the person and how they learn the best, English is a very common language, but yet very hard to learn as I heard to people learning it. I'm so glad it's my native tongue.
Juan   Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 23:48 GMT
Au contraire my friend. Speaking is by FFFFFFFFAAAAAARRRRRRR(I dont know how to emphasise it evenmore) the most difficult aspect of the language. Let there be no doubt about that and take note this is coming from an ESL student not a native speaker like yourself who is obviously biased as you speak English with relatively no effort what so ever. English grammar and vocabulary are definitely challenging in themselves due to their inconsitencies and not being phonetic. But over time I've learnt to memorise this vocabulary and English grammar is fairly simple anyway(compared to Spanish that is).

The main reason speaking English (for me anyway) is so difficult is due to the fact that my mother tongue and English share very little in common in PHONETIC SOUNDS. So I have had to produce PHONETIC SOUNDS that are NOT NATURAL TO ME that are non-existent in my own language which takes me out of my comfort zone. And this is why you get German, Spanish etc etc etc accents when an ESL student speaks. Simply they are trying to speak English with the phonetic sounds from their own mother tongue that sounds closest to the English phonetics. I though that was just common sense, isn't it?
Jim   Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 23:58 GMT
You're right about written English; about the spoken one you're far from being so.

Many Japanese people may be a little embarrassed to speak English but many others would jump at the opportunity to strike up a conversation with a foreigner in English.

Japan is chocker-block full of folk trying to learn how to speak English. English conversation schools in Japan are huge business. English written and spoken is an important part of the curriculum in Japanese junior and senior high schools.

I think that you've been a little hasty in your assesment of the popularity of spoken English in Japan. Judging the popularity of English in the world outside the English-speaking parts on a trip to Japan is not the best thing to do.

I had a short trip to India a few years ago and came up with the exact opposite results. I couldn't sit down for more than ten minutes before someone would come and speak to me in English.

As for whether written or spoken English is harder, I think it all depends on the person.
Jaro   Thursday, November 13, 2003, 00:02 GMT
I agree with Juan completely.
Wingyellow   Thursday, November 13, 2003, 03:01 GMT

I am sorry to tell you that your accent will not be accepted as American. If you do not believe, you can send your accent samples to apply for a job which demands native speakers. I personally met no American who speak your accent.


Speaking should always be easier than writing. You think the other way around is correct because you were taught how to read (not talk) and write first and practically do not use English in your daily life or job.
Clark   Thursday, November 13, 2003, 05:03 GMT
I find it easier to read French than to speak it. I imagine that it would be the same with any language, Wingyellow.

The only good part about speaking when one is not fluent in the language, is that one can hide mistakes by speaking fast. For example, I could say "quoi neuf ?" to someone and they would probably not know that I left out the "de" in between the two words (this isassuming the person I am speaking with speaks French :-)

In spoken French, the "de" is often times barely there. One can hear it usually, but I have spoken to some French people and it sounded to me as though they left out the "de" entirely in these kinds of phrases.
wingyellow   Thursday, November 13, 2003, 05:33 GMT
Speaking should be easier. It is the nature of languages. We have sounds first and then words.
Clark   Thursday, November 13, 2003, 06:05 GMT
Yes, speaking English for me is far easier than writing in French. But speaking in French is harder for me than writing in French.
Jim   Friday, November 14, 2003, 00:05 GMT
It's not the same with any language. The Chinese characters in Japanese make it very difficult to read. I find Japanese easier to speak than to read.
Jim   Friday, November 14, 2003, 00:18 GMT
They make it difficult to write too both listening to and speaking Japanese I find easier than either reading or writing it.
uday   Saturday, November 15, 2003, 09:06 GMT
Wingyellow: STFU

I am from Minneapolis, the same city as Ashley, and her accent is 100% normal. I don't know where you people get off telling people their accent "won't be accepted as american" and everything that was said in that other thread. what a load of shit!