What kind of English should we learn and use for the communication in Japan?
In Japan, we have a lot of articles talking about the “dos” and “don’ts” in English acquisition and usage now. Following these articles, I tried organizing my thoughts on what kind of English we should learn and use for the communication in Japan.
As many articles mention, basic English is not enough to build more reliable connections and to deepen our discussions. Some people might be offended by too simple English.
However, learning basic and simple English is a good start for Japanese people since many of them believe that English is very difficult and should be perfect.
Using basic English decreases mistakes and conveys the meaning clearly, which can help us avoid miscommunication. It also reduces the pressure of speaking English in front of other people.
In the first place, Japanese people like to use long and complicated sentence structures, and which make them confused and hesitant to speak out English.
Using basic and simple English is especially valid for communication between non-native speakers. It is said that 80% of English speakers are non-native speakers. Even if you know more difficult vocabulary and complicated structures then use them, you might not make yourself understood in English when the person you are talking to doesn’t know them.
I think there are several points that Japanese should be reminded of when using English.
1. Understand cultural differences.
2. Good communication skill is more important than the English language level.
3. Don’t afraid of making mistakes. (Don’t point out other people’s errors each time.)
4. Use clearly understandable sentence structure and vocabulary.
5. Appreciate and use your own local English accent. There is no standard English.
6. How you phrase your English statements/messages depends on the situation and the people you are talking to. For example, avoid direct statements or offensive expressions.
The most important thing is how we communicate and build relationships with others.
Real-time communication helps us learn the best way to communicate our ideas with others.
Therefore, I think one good process for acquiring English skills for communication is as follows: Start by learning basic English first and then try to use it as often as possible to improve your speaking skills and develop your confidence.
I also think we should try not to let “dos” and “don’ts” in English things affect us since communication cannot be categorized and the learning process varies. Determining which English is good or bad is illogical; there are various kinds of English in the world.
The main goal of using any language is to communicate effectively. It is not about showing off your skills.