The Best Japanese Speakers Ranked by Country!
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
From a company where 63% of people are foreign nationals, coming from 31 different countries!
And later on in the article, we will make a historical analysis and try to answer the following questions:
"Why can many people from non-English speaking countries speak English so well?"
"Why is the amount of Japanese people who can speak English so low?"
◆The Best Japanese Speakers by country◆
4. Spanish speaking countries
7. Russia, and Eastern European countries
8. Myanmar, Vietnam, and Southeast Asian countries
10. English speaking countries
Let's have a look at some of these countries and their languages and see how they apply to learning Japanese.
No. 1: Mongolia
・Mongolian grammar is similar to Japanese.
・Mongolian pronunciation and Japanese pronunciation is completely different. (By the way, Mongolian is actually very similar to Turkish.)
・Mongolian people are known to be hardworking people, and many spend their days immersed in Japanese, and learn Japanese through hard work and dedication.
No. 2: Indonesia
・Indonesia has the second highest number of Japanese learners in the world (about 870 thousand, with China having the most learners in the world).
・Many people in Indonesia are pro-Japanese.
No. 3: Korea
・In Korea students must study a second language in high school, and many choose to study Japanese (with English being the most popular choice).
・Korean and Japanese have similar grammar.
・Many Korean people approach learning Japanese with a positive attitude. For example, after studying enough Japanese to say a self-introduction, they may already think, "I can speak Japanese!" Then if someone praised them, "your Japanese is so good!" it might boost their motivation to study even more.
No. 4: Spanish speaking countries
・Vowel usage and pronunciation is almost the same as Japanese.
・In particular, the language spoken in the Basque Country in Spain is really similar to Japanese. (By the way, Basque is said to be one of the hardest languages to learn!)
No. 5: French (And these reasons can be said about Spanish too!)
・Japanese is roughly divided into three tenses (past, present, and future). French is divided into eight!
・Japanese also doesn't have masculine, feminine, singular, plural, or any of these conjugated forms. All of these are rolled into one!
・Japanese has a lot of katakana English.
・ In any case, it seems that learning Japanese must be easy compared to French!
So what do you think about the list? Would you rank them differently? Whether in your work life or private life, we hope this helps you even a little in building relations with people from all over the world!
On the other hand, if we were to make a list of countries with low numbers of English speakers, surely Japan would on that list.
How can so many countries have a high number of English speakers (regardless of native language), while Japan has such an underwhelming low number of English speakers?
In the second half of this article, let's look at some language history, to see if we can find any reasons for this.
Why can so many people speak English?
Let's start by talking a look at the origins of the English language.
Over a long history, Great Britain has been influenced by three different ethnic groups of people.
① Before the 4th century were the Celts (Celtic languages).
② In the 4th century, the Germanic peoples came to Great Britain, namely the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes (Old Low Germanic).
③ From the 9th century onward, came the Vikings from Denmark (Old Norse).
Group ① (the Celts), were invaded by group ②, who became known as the Anglo-Saxons. An interesting side note is that the name "England" comes from "Angle Land," when the Angles came to Great Britain. Anyway, the Anglo-Saxons brought with them Old Low Germanic (a West Germanic language), and it became the basis for the English language. We can see this with many English words, such as: make, do, have, bring, open, mind, house, bread, etc.
After that in the 11th century, the Danish also invaded Great Britain, and words from Old Norse came to be used in English as well. Old Norse was also the origin for other modern day languages including Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish. We see this with words of Nordic origin such as: get, take, want, call, seem, same, husband, seat, etc.
Also, speaking of Latin, take note how Latin diverged into many modern languages:
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Italian
In short, English is made up from, and has words and other similarities from many other languages. As you can imagine, this is why it is easy for many people in the world to learn English!
Then why can't Japanese people speak English?
Well, just like English, tracing the origins of Japanese language is very complicated.
① Wago (native Japanese words from numerous sources)
② Kango (borrowed words from Chinese)
③ Gairaigo (borrowed words predominantly from English)
Many people say that there are no languages with similar words to Japanese anywhere else in the world. If there are no languages with similar words, then it makes sense that without a base to start, it takes considerable time for Japanese speakers to learn other languages. Moreover, compared to English and many other languages, Japanese has a different style of pronunciation. Unlike the way English uses the tongue or the way French uses the throat, Japanese uses a simple combination of vowels and constants to speak.
Outside of language differences, Japan has been historically isolated from the rest of the world. While chances to interact with people from to other countries is increasing, the population of Japan is still predominately Japanese. Anyway, as you can see there are a number of factors, but one thing is for sure; for Japanese people learning another language, they have to work extra hard!
Even after saying this, we understand that many people want to learn English for the workplace. Next time, we'll look at how people from overseas approach English, and how they look at learning English for the workplace.