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Mixing Languages As A Transitional Phase Before Full Proficiency

Recently over on the le das Twitter, the great @papajohn and I have been having a ball using Chinglish with each other.

Below are some samples of our exchanges. John’s messages contained classified information, so I shan’t reproduce them here. Oh, I didn’t tell you? Yeah, we’re totally spies, dude. What, you didn’t think it was a little weird how invested we were in this whole language deal?

Aaah, screw it. I’ll reproduce the parts of papajohn’s communication that have no operational significance. Observe that John and I have generally used one language’s syntax with the other’s vocabulary, but we have stretches of full-on Chinese. We also switch across Mandarin and Cantonese, but that’s another story.

John’s Mandarin isn’t actually “transitional” — AFAIK, he’s a Mandarin princeling — but mine more or less is. Furthermore, we’re both native speakers of English […oh wait, I forgot — apparently, according to some people, I’m not 😛 ] so…we have English thoughts [That doesn’t sound dodgy…no siree], but we also have Chinese thoughts, having been raised Chinese since the age of twentysomething 8) . A lot of, at least, my motivation, is to communicate directly to the heart and not just the head, so this sometimes becomes a factor in choosing which language gets to be the substrate or lexifier at any given time.

Too many smilies.

I think I’m too 文字 focused. Worked great for 普通話, but I think treating 粵語 like some kind of 部落方言 would work better.

@ajatt (that’s me)
No ur absolutely 啱呀 雖然有文字 但係亦都有一個好大嘅部落方言/不立文字嘅element

Glad you enjoyed the link. It’s hard to tell how 有用 a link is to other people! I’m prone to 想ing that everyone but me 已經 知道ed about it 😀

@papajohn hey? I’m a Dangdang man myself. Does this mean you’re riding the 簡體 train?

哈哈 梗唔係啦!只不過係因爲台灣嗰邊 除咗動畫之外 都冇歐美電影嘅國語配音版DVD可以買。 咁所以冇辧法囉~。仲有Amazon.cn好平添。大陸萬歲!呵呵


John and I started doing this to save space on Twitter, because Chinese characters can communicate more information in less space. In 140 kanji, you don’t even have to be pithy; yous can writes yourself a whole mini-essay!

I wonder whether such a mixed approach to output (and maybe even input?) might not be a great way to ease into 使うing your target 言語anguage(?)

In the past, it would appear that a lot of 教育ducation systems around the 世界orld have favoured a cold-turkey approach to second-language/basilectal/dialectal learners of a target language. Barring cases of forcible acculturation, the intent behind this was good — the system designers didn’t want to further encourage or create dialects/pidgins/creoles, so they went straight for the goal.

However, I did recently read about some mixed-usage graded readers for children who are native speakers of the Ebonics dialect of English. If I recall correctly, the readers are initially mostly in Ebonics, and gradually introduce more and more acrolectal [is that even the right word?]/Standard English usage until they are written completely in Standard English. Apparently, they were really successful in getting kids reading acrolectal English with ease and fluency. [As it turns out, according to some linguists, Ebonics is not mere slang; it’s actually an entirely self-contained logical-syntactical system, with a relationship to Standard English akin to that of Schwizerdütsch to Hochdeutsch].

And that just seems to make a lot of sense. On the one hand, mixing is, of course, “impure”, heterogeneous, asymmetrical. And that kind of thing doesn’t appeal to the little zealot inside all of us, that binary part of us that wants everything just so. But at the same time, there’s just something very natural and organic and logical and workable-seeming about the whole idea.

Human beings, more often than not, need to be eased into things, I think. Put another way, there’s far less likely to be a rebound — much like an organ transplant rejection — if the transition is gradual rather than sudden. Accomodating this apparently natural tendency can seem like a sort of half-buttocked mishmash compromise (and it can end that way if the transition window stops moving), but ironically enough it can also lead to rain on wedding days, free rides when you’ve already paid, and true, permanent behavior change in a way that coercion often does not. Coercion produces resistance. Well-executed gradual change can bypass this resistance completely.

Frog in hot water. Frog in water that gradually gets hotter.

This gradualism thing, we are seeing, is true of children, and I think it may be even more true of adults. Not because adults are less malleable or resilient than kids or any other ageist crap like that, but because adults have the power to resist and escape. I’ve seen this with training my two cats, who are of different ages: it’s not actually “easier” to train kittens — they have short attention spans and less background knowledge — but kittens aren’t as strong as adult cats, so you can…you know…literally put them right where you want them. With adult cats, on the other hand, you kind of have to coax and negotiate and reason, otherwise you will get the scratch, motherlover.

Babies can’t turn off their immersion environment. Babies can’t build their own gaijin bubbles.

So, kids, 次回ext time you’re at a loss for 詞words…try mixing 言語anguages. Of course, you want to get to the stage where you use or can use just the one. But for now, treat it as a phase you’re going through.

To tell you the truth, I’ve already done this mixing before, but in analog form — when I was in college, I would take coursework notes in a hybrid kanji-katakana-Latin [in order of priority/abundance] shorthand, making and using words very loosely in a highly personalized, idiosyncratic sort of way; I’d often make up original kanji compounds on the spot.

When you think about it, until your vocabulary matures and fills out, you’re already a de facto “transitional user” of your target language. The only question is: do you now recognize and exploit this fact, or do you suppress it out of fear of the risk involved? As it is, with conventional methods, many people give up learning their target language and thus remain “transitional” for life anyhow. But acknowledging this “middle passage” through language-mixing may have the paradoxical effect of carrying more people through to full fluency than a strict language separation.

Anyway, food for thought. Anyone with information to share, go ahead and 發言launch words! Oh yeah — sorry for being autological; I know that annoys some people. Or maybe it’s my inner purist that’s annoyed. Yeah, it’s probably just me. Oh well… 😀

  50 comments for “Mixing Languages As A Transitional Phase Before Full Proficiency

  1. Maya
    January 6, 2010 at 08:12

    Wouldn’t mixing languages (even if done consciously/carefully) be a recipe for disaster if the 2-3 languages mixed were similar? Somebody intentionally mixing Portuguese, Spanish and Italian is just begging for problems; IMHO, those 3 languages are close enough to one another to practically be dialects.

    • August 27, 2013 at 09:20

      As someone who speaks Portuguese, Spanish and Italian are definitely NOT close enough to be dialects. I can kinda understand people in Spanish and Italian, but definitely not comprehension.

      Now if we’re talking mainland Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese – now that’s a dialect.

  2. January 6, 2010 at 08:33

    Hmmm, I’ve always thought that mixing a language could be a good idea, if done correctly. You need to eventually make the switch over to one language or the other, or you’ll be speaking scrambled forever. 😛

  3. January 6, 2010 at 09:38


    I don’t know about Italian / Spanish / French, but in those exchanges Khatz and I were mixing Mandarin and Cantonese, which in their written forms are similar but not quite the same, and we didn’t seem to have any problems…

    (also, Khatz, don’t think I’ll let your 繁体化 of all of my messages go unnoticed! 🙂 )

  4. January 6, 2010 at 09:58

    I like this approach. I’ve been using it for speaking and listening at home for several months now. I live in Osaka with my girlfriend. She speaks to me mainly in Japanese. At first I would respond only in English. Gradually I’ve been speaking more and more Japanese. It hasn’t been a problem for me. When I spend time with her friends and family it’s entirely in Japanese and I get along just fine. I’m nowhere near fluency but my progress has been daily and gradual.

    Some of my friends are critical of this approach. They think they you need to force yourself to speak Japanese all the time. I disagree with them. I found that when I tried to do that it was stressful and would drive conversations into oblivion.

    I’m curious if anyone else is approaching language through a similar situation as me.

  5. Adrien
    January 6, 2010 at 10:31

    That reminds me of that firefox extension that replaces the first letter of every word that appeared in Heisig by the corresponding kanji in the text you are browsing.
    Using it for whole words instead sounds like a good method for vocabulary acquisition, someone should totally create such an extension (and port it to chrome too…).

  6. Colby
    January 6, 2010 at 11:01


    I don’t know if we’re talking about the same add-on, but there actually is an option to change the whole word, rather than the first letter. Now porting it to chrome… I can’t help you :p

  7. wildweathel
    January 6, 2010 at 11:49

    勝元さん、凄く面白いpostだ。great ideaと思う。

    bilingual人はcode-switchする。All the time.

    なんで言語があるのか?communicationだよね。”jinglish”というか「英和語」というかどうかの化け言葉が分かる人があれば、「just have funだぜ」と思う。


    ownageに途中で変なmuttなlanguageを拾えば、俺がtoo much構わない。

    I wonder if anyone can understand that?

    • Kimura
      October 18, 2011 at 08:49

      「英語と日本語」の言葉というのは「jinglish」じゃない。。。「英本語 (eihongo)」だ。。。

  8. アメド
    January 6, 2010 at 13:57

    I could understand 80% of what you said lol Kinda an interesting use switching between Japanese and English. Yea definitely input is what’s needed and alots of it, if one needs to acquire output. But it’s alright to output practise, but it’s also important to have fun and such. For me i keep thinking i’m still really suck at japanese. But just today, i was actually looking at subs for japanese but games that are in english. It seems i had a few in my house, so i decided to take a look at it. And i noticed the subs in japanese for english stuff seems so off, but it makes sense the way it’s writte. Suprising part is that i could understand everything of the subs 90%. And i could clearly write them all(hehehe). So long story short, i think if i keep pressing forward at my current pace. It’ll add up int the future, but it all takes time and during that time ppl have to find ways for it to be fun. Not hard work(although alot of ppl have said i’m crazy for learning japanese, why learn that? learn french!!!). But in the long run i’m sure it’ll pay off and i’ll be ready to show it around (as now i feel i can’t really show it, well i can but i doubt ppl will even understand what i am saying lol).Good post, you have a good way of writing things in the most interesting ways khatzmoto-様、殿、サン、くん? So much honorifics i could list,as the list goes on.

  9. 無名
    January 6, 2010 at 19:18

    Well to be honest, modern 日本語 steals so many words and over uses カタカナ to the point that we pretty much are already speaking a “mutt language”(← the purest came out (笑))。

    ~Side Note~
    Before anybody takes the time to write out a long unwanted angry S.A. on my statement. I do understand that all languages steal words, it just bothers me that ever other word in a Japanese sentence is a word taken from English……

    IS IT REALLY THAT HARD TO MAKE NEW 漢字 COMBINATION’S?!?!?!?!?! Cuz china doesn’t seem to be have many problems with it…..

  10. Saru Sponge
    January 6, 2010 at 20:46


    I don’t think Japan is really oversaturated with stolen words. Read any newspaper and you’ll be wondering where your katakana crutch disappeared to. Most magazines, in my experience, do not overuse katakana. You tend to see that kind of thing in some manga / teen fashion publications.

  11. January 6, 2010 at 21:53

    Lol, Khatz gets the “ZOMG UR African, there’s no way you could ever be a native English speaker” treatment too? I feel your pain, man!

  12. Herman
    January 6, 2010 at 22:03

    The big issue with indulging in this kind of fun in real speech is you run the risk of ruining your pronunciation. Much like learning Japanese with romaji will permanently(?) impair your accent, sticking in Japanese words into English sentences will get you into getting used to pronouncing them with the English side of your vocal chords.

    That said, it IS fun to do, especially when you have friends that understand both, and in writing the benefit probably outweighs the possible harm the mixing might cause.

  13. January 6, 2010 at 22:55

    That looks like the answer sections of some of my SRS cards. Well, I mean… in English and 日本語 of course.

    When entering a butt-load of cards, I don’t have time to write long explanations in 日本語ese, so I simply put stuff like ‘私 is doing the 使うing here’.

    And yes, you can break lots of the 140 character 限りs by using 漢字 (<-2 characters versus 4) on twitter, even in 日本語 (<- 3 characters versus 8).

  14. Rob
    January 6, 2010 at 23:54

    My wife is Thai and we unconciously communicate with a Thai/English hybrid. When you get proficient in two languages, you come to realize that certain ideas, feelings, etc., are better expressed in one language than the other. However, I would say after doing this for years, I wish we had never gotten into this habit. It is a pattern that is hard to break I think. For example, when my wife calls her home in Thailand, she will often slip into this hybrid language we’ve created without realizing it. I have to remind her that they don’t understand English on the other line. So while it may be useful in some cases, I would suggest using extreme caution, especially if you are mixing languages when speaking.

  15. Drewskie
    January 7, 2010 at 02:14

    I don’t have anything to say on this topic. I just want to note that I laughed at Wildweathel’s post the whole way through. Especially “jinglish.”

  16. Evan
    January 7, 2010 at 02:32


    Cool post here. Back in the ‘States, I used to mix languages all the time to keep conversations interesting between me and my friends. You learn all about the nuances of words, grammar, and the like, and even can make some bad puns.

    Of course, I got caught doing this in linguistics class. My professor loved that we were practicing language, and let us know that our “code-switching” was uncommon for non-native speakers.

    But hey, if it brings 私達 to a ネーティブ level, let’s しましょう~.


  17. dmh
    January 7, 2010 at 04:06

    When I had Italian class ages ago, I always kept my notes in French. For example, instead of writing “bere – to drink” I’d write “bere – boire”. This helped me see the link between the two languages more clearly. I also used to take my notes for other classes in French as much as possible.

  18. 無名
    January 7, 2010 at 06:56


    You’ve got a point!

    I guess I’ve been concentrating to much on subjects that require foreign words (specifically, certain 2ちゃん threads)……

  19. gabriel
    January 7, 2010 at 12:22

    Great post!

    Without sounding offensive, Khatz, you were able to reach Japanese fluency in ~18 months, what is it about Chinese which makes it so much harder?

  20. アメド
    January 7, 2010 at 16:35

    FF9 script for the game. In full japanese and in english!@!@!@!
    I’m going to massively SRS all of these, damn i’ve hit the jackpot!(Sorry for crude word, but so exicted to find this!!!)

  21. Drewskie
    January 7, 2010 at 17:12

    Nice find, アメド、 but how about XIII? 🙂 My copy came in the mail earlier this week. GOOD STUFF.

  22. January 7, 2010 at 18:00

    This is actually how Spanglish came to existence. People didn’t speak proper English, and Americans didn’t speak proper Spanish, so they started mixing stuff. It’s also how the Spanish variant in Puerto Rico came to life: it’s Spanish, but with English word order.

    The funny thing is that nowadays many Spanish-speakers (whose native tongue is Spanish) can actually speak English pretty well. But if that is because of Spanish? I don’t know.

    Khatz, mind sharing some of these readers that start in one language and then move to another?

  23. アメド
    January 8, 2010 at 03:30

    Yea i’ll try looking for that, but since it just got released in japan it’ll be a while for the script to be fully ready on the net i guess. But yea i want to get that game, too bad i got ot import it though, cuz the US version won’t have japanese subbed+dubbed. Only downside from importing is that it’s so expensive. But i’d rather play it in full japanese, much more interesting that way.

  24. January 8, 2010 at 07:13

    アメド, I declare, that is the FIND OF THE CENTURY!

  25. Drewskie
    January 8, 2010 at 07:54


    Yeah, it was pretty expensive. I snagged it on Amazon for $80, but the shipping was awful, even using a forwarding service. Worth it so far, though.

  26. アメド
    January 8, 2010 at 08:02

    yea i’m looking around on play-asia and it’s expensive. 90-115$. I hope that includes shipping and handling otherwise i might just wait till it goes down. I tried using Man i got confused lol trying to decode it. I managed to get all the way to the last part and then i noticed they have no paypal!!! i think. Maybe i couldn’t decode all of it or something. But i think i’ll just buy it off play-asia. Also that link that i found, it seems i was surfing around and i found death note manga=exact conversations in japanese for the manga and it’s english translations. More enjoyable SRSing to come.

  27. Seth
    January 8, 2010 at 11:12

    Someone above asked and I’m curious too.
    You gained fluency in Japanese in 18 months, but Chinese seems to be taking longer.
    Why do you think this is? Is it going from J-C so much? Trying to progress in Japanese while learning Chinese?

    I’m really curious.

  28. Gary
    January 8, 2010 at 14:53

    Chinese is written with characters only, so to be literate it might take more time, since you can’t learn something like hiragana or hangul for a quick solution that would apply to languages like Japanese or Korean. Also, there might be less resources around… and the fact that there are multiple dialects and the whole traditional and simplified thing might make it worse.

    Cantonese is my first language by the way.

  29. Drewskie
    January 8, 2010 at 16:45


    Amazon has an “I’m a helpless foreigner, I need more English” button. I forget exactly where it is, but poke around, you’ll find it. Amazon’s shipping is insane, though. $27 plus $3 per item. The forwarding service I used (DankeDanke) shaved about $15 off the price, but it still was almost $45. Thing is, Amazon is cheaper than YesAsia (where I was buying things from) and they have a far more consistent, complete selection. The shipping is worthwhile if just for that.

    You know, I’ve been wondering about why Khatz is spending so much time on Chinese as well. I figured the multiple dialects were to blame, but I imagine things like running this blog and maintaining Japanese get in the way. I also thought maybe there are just limits on how many languages you can maintain at native-level proficiency, but I know some trilingual Indians who operate just fine, so that’s probably out.

  30. アメド
    January 8, 2010 at 17:05

    Hmm i’ll look around for it. Yea amazon shipping prices are high, i looked at play asia there was one for like 4$ and it would take 5-10 days to come. So I’m thinking of just getting it there, even though it’s going to cost me around 100$ int total for one game!!! I hope it’s worth the buy,i was looking at the trailers for ff13 in Japanese and it looks so good graphical. Or i’ll look around for alternate resources. So how you liking ff13 in japanese. Understand alot? I was watching the trailers in japanese and i could understand good portion of it.Only thing i’m probably worried about playing it in japanese is all those kanji i’ve yet to master.

    As khatz and Chinese learning. I think he said in one of his blogs, he was originally learning mandarin then switched all of a sudden to Cantonese. And chinese languages require the heavy use of only characters. I read that you need to know like 6000 characters to be proficient in those language. I hear that some univeristy graduates from china know like 11,000 characters(but these are special cases).

  31. Drewskie
    January 8, 2010 at 17:59


    This is actually the first FF game I’ve ever owned, so I can’t really compare it to the others in terms of gameplay. I will say that my first reaction to the visuals was “This is the Avatar of video games.” On a technical level, it still falls short of Crysis (the game upon which all are judged), but when you take everything together–tech and style–it’s just gorgeous. Easily the prettiest game I’ve ever played.

    In terms of language, Japanese subs are on by default. I find this is actually really helping my listening, since it encourages me to follow along as the characters say their lines. —Just don’t get too focused on those subs! The characters are so emotive and detailed, you can’t spend all your time reading! The game’s plot so far has been easy to follow despite anything with a hint of complexity flying right over my head. Maybe the best part here is if something REALLY throws me off, a summation of every chapter’s events is a few buttons away in the main menu. The game also slowly introduces you to its features in tutorials that move as slowly as you need, which for me meant if something was really confusing me, I could stop and pop some things into a translator for some quick help.

    To sum up, I’d say this game represents a tremendous body of language. Everything is stored for you as you progress. There’s a ton of speech. Using a method where I basically type things as I hear them into a wordpad doc open on my free monitor (two monitors get split into PS3 and PC), I’m finding it incredibly easy to wind up with a good chunk of sentences.


  32. アメド
    January 9, 2010 at 03:42

    cool, yea graphical it’s soo good. The subs always for some reason, add to my understanding then just hearing it randomly. I haven’t got any new in a while in terms of games, due to school,work,etc. But this one i definitely will get, looks so good graphical.

  33. Scuba
    January 9, 2010 at 13:37

    アメド- FF13 is expensive, even here in Japan, but totally worth it.

    There are a few confusing parts so far, but the game is pretty easy to follow with just a basic understanding of Japanese.

    All of the dialogue is voiced so if your kanji reading ability isn’t all there yet (like mine) it will help.

  34. January 9, 2010 at 17:33

    皆さんveryone should 使se 感じ-lish。そのJAM is the 糞hit. ALSO been writing blogs in Kanjilish. and come tell me what I am doing WRONG! PLEASE! lets start this Language/ LEARNING EXCHANGE!

  35. January 9, 2010 at 17:36

    了解!I understand what you saying bro. @wildweathel

  36. アメド
    January 10, 2010 at 07:24

    Yea my understanding has grown very much in these 5 months. I can understand general Japanese speech easily now, aside from complex ones. I wouldn’t really know how to rate my own reading ability. Sometimes i think i’m getting good, but i’ve only scratch the surface of reaching any high level of japanese yet. But FF13 when i was watching the trailers and all i could understand it pretty well, without subs. So with subs it’ll add to my understanding. The game is expensive but i’ll save up around 100$ and buy it. I hear it’s worth the price.

  37. January 10, 2010 at 07:33

    >You gained fluency in Japanese in 18 months, but
    >Chinese seems to be taking longer.


  38. Ed
    January 11, 2010 at 14:39

    Words of wisdom from Will Smith:

    If you want something, go get it!

  39. アメド
    January 12, 2010 at 10:41

    just bought ff13!!!!. Can’t wait till it comes, but it seems that I’ll have to wait another, week….. Ah man, so much school work has began. Going to be a lot of multi-tasking+time-boxing coming soon! But with the SRS this will be an easy semester.

  40. January 13, 2010 at 20:14

    まず堅い日本語しか書きません。  未来ペラペラに書きますでしょう?

    Rather than mixing, maybe we start with crappy, stiff, mistake-laden, Japanese. And then eventually it gets better with practice? For most of us, the transitional language is the much maligned stiff textbook Japanese.

  41. アメド
    January 14, 2010 at 04:23

    “Fluency is over-rated” I remember seeing this in the forum koohii. Somebody was stating that once you’ve reached a certain level of skill in a language, you’ll eventually start either going to another language or wanting to learn more in that language. This is pretty much true. I was recently looking at my SRS anki deck. And it stated that i’ve been doing SRSing sentences for 4.8 months. It hasn’t been even 5 months and my listening and reading is great. But obviously there’s still things i cannot read or understand 100%(yet) I remember when i am trying to listen to songs a few months ago i seriously couldn’t understand what they were saying. Nowadays i am able to pic separate words i KNOW and link them together in order to understand what they are saying. My sentence deck contains 5650 sentences. I’m pretty happy with my progress before, b/c Now i can seriously understand Japanese pretty well. I’ve been working on key things such as writing. Kana to kanji production cards. I want my writing skills to grow along with my other skills. But i think once fluency is achieved or at least certain goals are reached, people will start wanting more in the language. It’s seriously a never ending journey,battle, and it is of course a life-skill. But the great things of learning a language is opening the doors to “new worlds” that you can explore,understand,relate to, learn and grow form. So my thoughts of gaining fluency when i wanted to start learning japanese are much different then it is now. Right now all i want is to do as much as i can well enjoying the process, the exposure to japanese in all forms(songs,games,anime,movies,drama’s,shows,etc). Because eventually there will be a point where i’ll be at the top(fluency) and i’ll look back and say “Wow why was i so worried about getting fluent?, it’s not so hard, everything just needs to be done daily+consistently” The immersion effect that i’ve been doing, has proven to me that i can help you in ways you never thought possible. It just grows on you, without much effort actually. I remember the days were i used to be so frightened of not translating sentences. Now that i use monolingual sentences and also decoding them. It just added to my understand of Japanese more. I’m still far from fluent, but for some reason i believe that i’m actually not that bad in japanese as I thought(In understanding+reading wise). It all adds up i guess. The process eventually reaches it’s maximum(well i shouldn’t say maximum, but the goals that ppl have set on themselves will be reached). lol this is funny, i was also looking at the 18-month period that khatz did. It seems i’ve got 18-4.8=13.2. There’s still quite abit of time for me to improve. But the time frame isn’t the goal. It’s process that will get you to goal faster than the time frame set. So there isn’t that much reason to worry(well at least for me, i know in the beginning it can be intimidating, not knowing much japanese, hell for me the only Japanese i knew back then was “subbed anime” japanese lol and now i can understand anime pretty easily. I’d say 80% of it nowadays. Finally, for ppl who are in the beginning of the journey to learn japanese, don’t worry about the goals all that much, just worry about the process of getting there and doing it daily. Small conistant acts daily are far more effective then large amounts.

  42. Lavita
    January 17, 2010 at 14:34

    Hey Khatzumoto,

    Is it ok to read some english in moderation if we use this mixing language system? I stumbled upon a Firefox add-on that changes words like ‘read’ into ‘読ead’. So would this make some (emphases on some) english ok?

  43. Drewskie
    January 18, 2010 at 11:09

    Lavita, Khatzumoto doesn’t answer questions in comments much anymore, so I’ll field this one for ya.

    English is never ‘okay’ in an immersion environment. To paraphrase a now-missing Khatzumoto tweet (woulda linked you straight to it, eh), “If you MUST use English, hit it with Japanese suppression fire.” In other words, when you inevitably have to work with English, keep yourself tethered to Japanese, a little bread-crumb trail to lead you back home when you’re done. In that sense, the add on you’re referring to is pretty good.

    But as far as making English “okay,” not so much. Japanese is Japanese and English is English. This post is more about output, and Khatz is discussing a possibly-helpful gray area. On input, though, it’s rather black and white.

    As far as I know, anyway. If I’m going to answer questions on behalf of Khatz like this, I should probably qualify all of this in a similar way: You have no reason to take my word for it. This is just my take.

  44. Lavita
    January 18, 2010 at 12:21

    Drewskie, thanks for taking the time to answer my question. I see what you sayin’, and it makes sense. Thanks again.

  45. Lavita
    January 18, 2010 at 12:45

    One more question for you, if you don’t mind. (A bit off topic from the post, but this has been bothering me.)

    Is it bad to use google translate to turn english websites into japanese? I know the translations are not grammatically correct, but is isn’t it more important to look at Japanese rather than english? Even if it might be bad Japanese?

    I hope my question makes sense…

  46. Drewskie
    January 18, 2010 at 13:23

    That’s an interesting idea, actually. I don’t know if I’d trust a translator, either. Actually, after an embarrassing incident on 2ch I made it a rule to never put ANY stock in the output of one.

    But I wouldn’t say it’s really “bad” or anything. It’s actually a pretty interesting idea, and there may be times where it’s really helpful. I could see finding an article on a topic I want to be able to talk about and passing it through, just to see what kind of vocab comes up. Then you could google the words for sentences, or SRS the definitions, or what have you.

    I just wouldn’t SRS anything directly from the page, that’s for sure. As for whether or not its worse than English…Man, tough question. My inclination is to fall back on the idea that input is best when its by and for native speakers. Input is really all about adjusting to how they talk, and how they put together sentences and all that. When you try to get English out of a translator, it’s a garbled mess most times, so it’s not really how we talk, right? So avoid it?

    Sheesh, I don’t know. 😛

  47. Lavita
    January 19, 2010 at 01:37

    Thank you for responding to my question. I suppose I won’t completely rule out translators. I’ll give it a try once in while, see what kind of japanese pops up. I think as long as I keep in mind that it isn’t correct Japanese, I might be ok. Thanks again.

  48. January 19, 2011 at 06:53

    Yeah, it’s actually pretty cool. Because Stu Jay Raj begins teaching his students by teaching them to do something like watch CNN and interpret/reexplain it, so that you get your mind unhooked from words so you can convey meanings. In the same interview I heard this from, he also spoke about how your native language can actually limit your thoughts and understanding. So I can see when you’re using a multitude of languages at the same time, it’s like using the perfect words in the perfect order so you can perfectly convey meaning.

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