The Hardest Languages to Learn in the World

People all around the world learn languages other than their native language for a variety of reasons. In some countries, national boundaries enclose a naturally multilingual population. Switzerland, for example, has German, French, Italian, and Romansh speakers. Most Swiss can speak at least two of these languages. In Belgium, French and Flemish (Dutch) are both official languages. In Malaysia, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin, and Tamil are spoken by the three main linguistic populations. Then there are countries that had experienced colonial control for different lengths of time. Often the language of the colonizing country is still widely spoken together with the native language(s). In many countries, people learn one or more other languages because there is a benefit in doing so, for study, work, commerce, leisure or to travel (pre-Covid).

Which languages are hardest to learn?

All these examples limit the choice people have of learning a different language, but there are also those people who have time on their hands and choose to learn a new language to broaden their horizons or challenge their minds. Are all new languages equally easy or difficult to learn or are some languages harder to learn than others? We know that some people seem to learn a different language more easily than others, but do they find all languages easy, or are some languages intrinsically harder to learn than others?

Whether a language is easy to learn or more difficult really comes down to how closely related the two languages they are – the native language and the language to be compared with. During human history, populations have continually moved on to fresh pastures, taking their language and culture with them. In the past, contact would eventually have been lost and gradually the original language would slowly evolve. However, it would take many hundreds of years of separation before two languages become so different that it would become hard to understand each other. This means that the longer people have been separated from each other in historical time, the greater the difference in their languages and the harder it would be for them to understand each other and also to learn each others’ languages.

The closer the contact, the closer the similarity in language

Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia are almost identical although there is some unique vocabulary used in each country, almost a bit like the difference between American English and British English. Dutch and Afrikaans speakers can understand each other after two hundred years of separation, while amazingly a Tahitian on Captain Cook’s first boat to the Pacific could communicate with Maori in New Zealand after a four to five hundred year separation.

Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian speakers find it easy to learn each others’ languages because they are in the same family and have a lot of similarities. Similarly, Koreans find it easier to learn Chinese or Japanese than they do any European language. The Dutch find it easier to learn German or English than they do Arabic or Kiswahili.

The greater the differences in syntax, vocabulary, and grammar as well as the alphabet and form of writing the harder it will be to learn a new language. It’s harder for an English speaker to learn Russian, for example than German, simply because of the use of the Russian Cyrillic script. It’s even harder to learn Japanese, Korean or Chinese for an English speaker and vice versa because of the difference between Latin script and the characters used by the East Asian languages.

Whatever the differences in the language you want or need to learn and your own, probably the most important factor are motivation. The greater the motivation, the easier it will be to learn what you want to learn!

 

Mandarin is Now the Second Most Spoken Language in Australia

Recent research shows that Mandarin has now overtaken Arabic as the most common language found spoken in Sydney after English. An anthology called ‘Multilingual Sydney’ has mapped out how Sydney in New South Wales is now a melting pot of both cultures and languages and the Mandarin language is a firm second most spoken language in Sydney. In the past 5 years, the Australian population has risen by 2 million, the majority of which were of Chinese origin, with the majority residing living in the NSW urban areas, such as Sydney.

Dr. Alice Chik reported from Macquarie University recently that people who speak Mandarin in Sydney have now increased by 71% from 2011 to 2016. She said these figures were partly due to the presence of international students who were included in censuses. The 2017 statistics revealed that there were 37,790 Arabic-speaking students and 25,140 Mandarin. There are at least 300 languages found spoken in Sydney.

These are the latest figures for the speaking of languages including Mandarin in Australia.

  • Mandarin (+260,525 speakers)
  • Punjabi (+61,269 speakers)
  • Persian/Dari/Hazaraghi (+56,271 speakers)
  • Hindi (+48,288 speakers)

The most common language spoken in the home, apart from English, in Australia is Mandarin, with at least 2.5% of the Australian population speaking this language, which translates to about 596,703 people.

Origin of Mandarin speakers in Australia

The 2016 census revealed that the number of Canberra residents who speak Mandarin while at home rose 85% in just 5 years, increasing just 1.9% of the 2011 ACT population or 6676 people to 3.1%, or 12,408 found in the 2016 census. This compares to only 4,216 who speak Vietnamese, 3,853 who speak Cantonese to 3,646 who speak Hindi, and 3,273 who speak Spanish in Canberra, the national capital. The change in the number of people who speak Mandarin is due to a rise in people migrating to Australia from the south of China, especially from the cities of Shanghai and Beijing, rather than people who speak the northern Cantonese dialect. Most Mandarin speakers do not belong to a specific religious group.

The data also indicates that these growth patterns are also a result of the rise in use of Mandarin among the younger Chinese in Australia who arrived in Canberra as international students and who applied to remain after their studies and even bringing their often elderly parents to Australia under the family reunion visa as soon as they had received a job offer. This is a requirement of the family reunion visa.

In Australia as a whole, 650,700 people born in China were residing in Australia at the end of 2018, nearly double the number in 2008. After the UK, China is the 2nd biggest migrant group in Australia at 2.6 percent of the Australian total population. 33.8 years was the median age reported, which is about 3.5 years younger than the average age of the general population. In addition, females outnumber males at 55.5% for the former and 44.5% for the latter.

Some other data that was revealed in Australia’s last census in 2016 revealed that 33.8% of Chinese Australians and 46.6% of Hong Kong Australians derive an income from a white-collar profession, compared to only 32% for the overall total Australian population. However, despite Mandarin being the second language in Australia, the unemployment figures show that Chinese Australians are more likely to be unemployed than the average Australian.

Good Reasons to Learn Japanese

Japanese never became an international language in the same way that English, French, and even Arabic became, yet it is still one of the world’s most important languages and there are many reasons why the language should be learned. Some of those reasons are explored below.

#1 Japan’s economy is one of the world’s largest

The Japanese economy is currently the world’s third-largest in volume, lying behind the U.S. and China, but ahead of other global powerhouses like Germany and the U.K. This makes business dealings with Japanese businesses extremely important. Many Japanese businesses have become well-known brands, dominating the medium-range priced automobile market as well as vying with Korea the electronics market. At the same time, Japan is a voracious consumer of raw materials for its industrial sector, importing crude petroleum products, metal ores, and timber. Japanese is a compulsory language for all those people employed as intermediaries in trade between Japan and the rest of the world.

#2 Japan is a wealthy country that in normal times is a huge source of tourist dollars

Japanese love to travel and although the Covid-19 pandemic has put a lid on non-essential travel for everyone around the world, not just for the Japanese, when more normality arrives (sometime!) no doubt planeloads of enthusiastic and cashed-up Japanese tourists will wing their way around the world again. Tourist operators that have catered for large numbers of Japanese in the past understand the value of learning Japanese. There are 128 native speakers of the language, but apart from a number of small Japanese-speaking communities that have settled in places as far apart as Brazil, Canada, and Britain, hardly anyone speaks Japanese outside of Japan.

#3 Sport and the 2021 Olympics

Japan is an enthusiastic sporting nation and of course, at the moment it is preparing for what has become a challenging and contentious 2021 Olympic Games, despite the waves of Covid-19 that have enveloped the nation. Japan gave many now widespread and popular sports to the world, such as martial arts, judo, karate, taekwondo, and even sumo wrestling. At the same time, globally popular sports like soccer are huge in Japan. Japanese also play competitive rugby and provide world-class tennis players and golfers. Sport is an international language and anyone wanting to play the sport in Japan or with Japanese teams and individuals can benefit from learning some Japanese. And despite the lack of visitors allowed into Japan for the Olympics, it’s going to be on everyone’s TV screens very soon (probably!)

#4 Work

Many young people cut their teeth as teachers of English working in Japan. There is a huge demand for learning English in Japan, but it is not easy to find work teaching English in Japan unless you have at least a rudimentary knowledge of the Japanese language. Teachers of English who become fluent in Japanese are likely to have much more fun teaching and will also have the picking of the best jobs. They also then have the option of teaching Japanese when they return to their own countries. Many schools around the world want to offer Japanese as an option in their curriculum, but find it hard to attract teachers with sufficient Japanese knowledge.

#5 Understanding of Japanese culture

We may be a year or two away from being able to freely travel to Japan for a vacation, but the country remains a fascinating place to visit. Like many countries where fluency in anything other than the native language is lacking, it’s much more rewarding to learn some Japanese. Japanese families often host foreign students in exchange programs and these are fantastic opportunities for teenagers and young adults, both Japanese and foreigners.

Linguistic Services in Business are Highly Important Today

As soon as a business has raised significant revenue from a new product sold to its home market, the next step to follow is to go global with the product. But for a marketing campaign to be successful, there are some challenges that need to be addressed so that any marketing material sent overseas attracts new buyers. One of these challenges is localizing the main content of the advertising material. This is related to the context that the marketing is to take place. It is the job of a translator who has a thorough knowledge of two languages and knows what cultural correct terminology and other local features can be used to attract new customers.

Who is a linguist?

Linguists are language experts who have an exceptional eye for even the smallest of details and flaws in language patterns. Linguists are so valuable when it comes to ensuring the effectiveness of localized content. They are also important in many other ways such as described below.

Linguists understand customers

Linguists’ total understanding of the targeted group of customers ensures that the marketing content once localization has taken place is engaging to its audience both linguistically and culturally. A linguist has the training to view the text through the eyes of the targeted customer so it can be adjusted if there appears to be a mismatch. They are the best choice for attracting a global audience.

Linguists keep content consistent

Linguists maintain the consistency and integrity of localized content. They use glossaries and style guides to help them maintain language consistency in a client’s translated marketing material.

Linguists are experts in local languages

When working for transcreation services, gaining cultural insight, and copywriting, linguists should really be located in their first language country. It is this language they use all the time. Language rarely stays the same but linguists who are exposed all the time to their native language stay up to date with language changes.

Linguistic services avoid mistakes

Linguists know all the pitfalls of translations and keep up to date with some serious errors that have been made in marketing translations so they don’t make the same mistakes themselves. These include the famous KFC tagline “Finger-Linckin’ Good.” KFC chose to have this slogan translated by a “local proofreader” who mistranslated and the slogan ended up saying “We’ll Eat Your Finger Off!” Pepsi made a similar mistake with this tagline of theirs “Come alive with Pepsi,” When translated for a Chinese audience the expression read ‘’Pepsi can bring ancestors back from the dead!”.

A third blooper was from the American Dairy Association whose slogan was “Got Milk?” but when translated for the Mexican audience ended up with the translation, “Are you lactating?”.

No business ever wishes to suffer due to poor translations, but a good linguist should never allow this to happen.

Good translation companies ensure they hire the best linguists and translators to ensure a company’s marketing campaign is localized so it is just right and can be successfully delivered across multiple markets.

What’s the Difference Between Language and Dialect?

Introduction

Once upon a time, people rarely traveled, or at least never traveled as much as they do today (speaking of pre-Covid times of course!) Communities were separated from other communities for much of the time and over long periods of time the way they spoke to each other, their language, changed slowly. The longer communities were separated from each other, the more their languages evolved into different dialects, and perhaps over longer periods of time, different languages.

What is a language?

People communicate using a common language, which is a specific vocabulary arranged in a structured grammatical sequence. Language can be verbal or converted to text. There are many thousands of different languages used around the world. Some are spoken by hundreds of millions of people as their main native language, and then there are other languages that are only spoken by very few people. Some languages are growing in importance while others are dying or retained with difficulty.

Languages don’t stay the same. They change gradually over long periods of time. A bit like the branches of a tree, different languages may be closely or more remotely related to other languages. Linguists (the experts who study languages) recognize broad families of languages like the Semitic languages or Germanic languages. The fact that some languages are related to others reflects the way people have migrated in the past. As a group of people moves away from one part of the planet to another place altogether, they take their language with them. Over time, the language changes, but may still be similar in many ways to the language of the people they left behind. A good example is the group of Germanic languages: German, Dutch, English, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian. These are distinctly different languages, but there are as many similarities between them as there are differences which reflects the way a common group of people migrated into northwestern Europe from the East many hundreds of years ago. It’s easy to recognize the similarities between Italian and Spanish or Portuguese, to use another example just as it is easy to recognize the huge differences between these Romance languages of Europe and the East Asiatic languages of China and Japan.

What is a dialect?

Dialects are variations of a single language spoken by people who have lived in different regions. Dialects can become so distinctively different that it can be hard to recognize that they are actually the same language. This is especially the case with the way the dialects are spoken. For example, a person brought up in Glasgow, Scotland may be hard to understand by an Australian from Sydney, but they still speak the same language, albeit in different languages. If the Glaswegian writes down what he or she is saying, it would be hardly any different from how the Sydneysider would write down the same thing that was spoken. In other words, the written form of a language tends to be much more uniform, while the colloquial or verbal variations of a language can be quite different although the speakers will still recognize that they are speaking the same language.

The differences between a language and a dialect

So, what is the difference between language and dialect? By definition, dialects of a language belong to the same language. The differences between the two dialects reflect how long the people who speak the same language have been separated from each other and by what significant geographical boundaries. These days, new dialects of the same language are much harder to form because of the amount of traveling that is done and the ubiquity of communication over the radio, TV, films, and the Internet. To give an example of how dialects are harder to form these days, compare the native English used by Australians and the same language used in Great Britain. There are hardly any notable differences between the English used by those who are brought up in Perth and those who were brought up in Brisbane, yet the distance between them is huge. People who are brought up in Perth, Scotland, though, speak with a much more recognizable dialect than anyone brought up in Southampton on the South coast of England.

Translation services used for languages and dialects

Generally, when a chunk of text is translated into another language, dialect tends to be disregarded unless there is a particular advantage in adapting the target language used to take into account a regional dialect. Commercial translation services, especially those used to translate marketing material, certainly do need to take into account different dialects as they are translating material that needs to be understood as widely as possible. This means that both language translation and dialect translation are needed.

When translation takes dialect use and colloquialisms into account, it is usually referred to as localization. Some translators specialize in localization. Translation services for things like manuals and medical journals or instructions are most likely to use the standard language without converting it into a specific dialect.

Summary

People use language to communicate and over the tens of thousands of years that humanity has lived on Earth, there have developed many hundreds of different languages. Some languages are very similar to others as they belong in the same family while may be totally different from other languages.

Dialects are different variations of a single language and develop because people have taken a single language and moved to different places. Because of separation, their use of the same language has changed but not enough to call it a different language.

Do Sri Lankan Tamils Speak Sinhala?

Introduction

Sri Lanka, the “teardrop-shaped island” to the South of India, is a bilingual country that has inherited its bilingualism and the origin of the conflicts between the two main ethnic groups that live there because of its colonial history.

The majority of Sri Lankans are Sinhalese. They speak the Sinhalese language or Sinhala and are mostly Buddhists. The minority ethnic group in Sri Lanka is the Tamils. Although all Tamils today were born in Sri Lanka, their presence on that island is due to historical migration from Tamil Nadu in India. Tamil Nadu is a southeastern state of India, lying just across the Palk Strait from the Jaffna district of Sri Lanka. Tamils speak Tamil and are mostly Hindu. Tamils were encouraged to migrate to Sri Lanka when it was a British colony, mainly as laborers in the tea plantations.

Similarities between Sinhala and Tamil

One of the many problems that modern-day Sri Lanka has had to deal with is that the two main languages used by nearly all of its people are quite different. They belong to two different language families of Indian origin. The only similarities that are notable are that both languages developed on the Indian subcontinent. Many Tamils can in fact speak at least some Sinhala and there are also many Sinhalese who can speak some Tamil, but this bilingualism depends on the geographical location in Sri Lanka. Where many Sinhalese and Tamils live in the same communities, it is more common to learn each others’ languages. In some parts of Sri Lanka, though, the communities are almost exclusively Sinhalese or Tamil.

Violence and civil war have wracked the country on and off for decades now due to tensions between the different communities. This makes true bilingualism more challenging. Language disparity has been a major source of friction. Added to that is the fact that many educated Sri Lankans also learn English and there are Sinhalese and Tamils who find it easier to communicate with each other in English rather than Sinhala or Tamil.

How Sri Lanka copes with the language divide

Sri Lanka is hardly unique in its bilingual identity. There are very few Asian countries where everyone speaks the same language. Korea and Japan are two of the exceptions. Malaysia has Malay, Chinese, Tamil, and indigenous languages, as well as English, inherited from the colonial era. India, Sri Lanka’s neighbor, has far more languages and dialects than its smaller neighbor to deal with.

The language divide in Sri Lanka has been historically problematic. After Sri Lanka (colonial Ceylon) gained independence from Britain, one of the first laws to be passed was to make Sinhala the national language. This elevated the importance of Sinhala over Tamil and was and remains a hindrance to national unity. Sinhalese say that the change in the law was to remove English as a national language, but many Tamils didn’t see it that way. In 1978, the law changed to make both Sinhala and Tamil official languages with English a link language, but the language disparity is still a huge source of grievance in Sri Lanka.

Summary

Modern Sri Lanka is primarily a bilingual country. The two main languages are Sinhala and Tamil, both of Indian origin, but mutually unintelligible. Sinhala is the language of the majority of the population and there remains a significant disparity between the perceived importance of the two languages. Sinhala to Tamil translation and Tamil to Sinhala translation is much used in Sri Lanka, especially in the provision of government services.

 

Adapting Egyptian Language to Egyptian Culture

One often wonders why so many people want to visit Egypt until they are reminded that Egypt boasts one of the world’s most ancient civilizations. There are still remnants of bygone eras in the mystical pyramids found in Giza, near Cairo, and the remains of the ancient cities of Aswan and Luxor. In its heyday, Egypt was one of the most powerful of the world’s civilization. Its success meant it lasted for nearly 3,000 years.

Before it became an empire, ancient Egypt was made up of several city-states fringing the River Nile which bustled with commerce and trade. In those days the construction of the Pyramids alone showed how expressive and innovative ancient Egyptians were. Its success grew as written language developed between 2,500 B.C. and 1,075 B.C. The first writing style was hieroglyphic. In one Rosetta stone can be seen Egyptian hieroglyphs translated using Ancient Greek and Egyptian Demotic. This system was created in the days of the Old Kingdom and it possessed nearly 700 pictorial characters which were used as decorations and for use in ceremonies.

When the Hieratic writing form was first developed from the hieroglyphic system ink was used and this changed communication forever. This writing was written on papyrus (a reed) so the Ancient Egyptians could communicate more easily so that they could spread their culture far and wide for many centuries.

The spoken language of Egypt

The Egyptian language known in classical form as Middle Egyptian was classified as an Afro-Asiatic language. It became the vernacular which was Egypt’s literary language until the invasion of the Roman Empire invaded. As time progressed, this spoken language slowly evolved to become Demotic and lastly Coptic, when Christianisation took place. Coptic, as a spoken language, was just about non-existent when the 17th century began but is still used as the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria liturgical language.

The commonest dialect used in today’s Egypt is called colloquial Arabic (or Masry). Each of the Arabic speaking countries has its own accents, with many divided into groups that speak different dialects. Overall, in the modern-day, there are several variations of the language.

Egypt’s official language is Literary Arabic, which is the most used in writing in the country. Another key fact is that it is Islam’s liturgical language, which is Egypt’s main religion. When the key text for Islam was written, the Qur’an, seven different dialects of classical Arabic were included in the text at that time. But today, Quraishi is used for the Qur’an.

Arabic is now the 5th most spoken global language, with 293 million people who are native speakers and a total of 422 million speakers throughout the world. It is one of the 6 official languages used by the United Nations.

The growth of Arabic

Arabic started to grow in importance after Napoleon in 1798 entered Egypt. This brought about more contact between the Arab culture and the West, which of course meant adapting the language to include the newer western ideas. At the beginning of the 20th century, Arabic language academics sought to reform the language with a particular focus on increasing Arabic vocabulary. These updates brought a new name to the language which is Modern Standard Arabic (Al-fuSHa). This is used in many areas of life but it doesn’t mean that the spoken word doesn’t still use dialects. Every country has its ‘amiya’ (“Arabic dialect”.)

The differences can be found more in pronunciation than in grammar or vocabulary. The main reason for this was after the Islamic conquest occurred it was important politically to standardize written Arabic because such large groups of people were starting to speak the language. From then on, the Arabic script was adapted so that it was more practical with the prose style and grammar being standardized.

When people communicate but have markedly different dialects, communicate they can use Modern Standard Arabic instead or just adjust their spoken words so they come across more formal and resemble al-fuSHa.

Interesting Facts about Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Melayu

The most important languages of the Malay Peninsula and the vast, scattered Indonesian archipelago are Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Indonesia. They are both based on the language of the Malay people who today live in Malaysia, Singapore, and parts of Western Indonesia. The two languages are almost so similar that a Malaysian from Ipoh in North West Malaysia would easily be able to communicate with a Timorese from Kupang in Indonesia, despite differences in vocabulary and pronunciation. The differences between the two languages are more like the differences between Castilian Spanish and the Spanish of many South American countries.

The word ‘Bahasa’ means ‘language,’ hence Bahasa Indonesia, is the ‘language of Indonesia.’ Until recently, Bahasa Melayu was more commonly called Bahasa Malaysia, although the term ‘Melayu,’ meaning Malay, (rather than the nation-state of Malaysia) was always more common in Singapore and Brunei. Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Indonesia are often just called ‘Bahasa’ by locals.

History has shaped the emergence of the two languages

Both these two languages, whatever their origin, have become important unifying influences in the two neighboring countries of Malaysia and Indonesia. Malaysia and Singapore have been strongly influenced by British colonialism and a short, but bloody period of Japanese occupation in the Second World War.  The colonial period meant that the indigenous Malay people were forced to share their territory with significant populations of ethnic Chinese and Tamil Indians. Although English has had a strong influence on both Malaysia and Singapore, the modern nation of Malaysia has adopted Bahasa Melayu as the official language of the country and is the main language of government and education. Nonetheless, Chinese and Indian Malaysians commonly speak at least three languages, their language of birth, (Chinese or Tamil) as well as Bahasa and English.

The word ‘Malaysia’ by the way is a combination of Malaya (the old British colonial name) and Singapore. Each country went its own way after a brief episode of federalism. Singapore’s national language is Malay (Bahasa Melayu) but has four official languages: English, Malay, Tamil, and Mandarin. Singaporeans themselves often say they speak ‘Singlish,’ a unique version of English with its own intonation and smatterings of other languages, including Bahasa.

Indonesia is even more diverse than Malaysia. It was colonized by the Moghuls who used Arabic and then by the Dutch. It is far larger and more diverse and complex linguistically than Malaysia. The modern nation-state of Indonesia emerged from the Dutch colony, a bloody war of independence giving Indonesia “Merdeka” after Indonesians had had enough of being pushed around. To unify this vast scattering of islands with its variety of indigenous languages, cultures, religions, and beliefs, Bahasa Indonesia became the official language. Just about every Indonesian apart from some remote tribes’ people (especially in the disputed territory of Irian Jaya) speaks Bahasa Indonesia as well as their native language. Bahasa Indonesia is consequently the language of government, education, and commerce.

Far-flung language family

The two ‘Bahasa’ are relatively easy languages to learn. A form of Arabic writing, Jawi, is long gone, although still seen in old literary works and religious scripts. There are Arabic words in both languages as well as many other loan words, especially from English. More interestingly is the little-known link between the Malay family of languages and those of the Pacific. In Bahasa, the word for fish is “ikan.” In Fijian, Tahitian, and Maori, the word for the same item of food is ‘ika”. There are important linguistic similarities in the wide-ranging family of languages called Malayo-Polynesian, although a Malaysian or Indonesian would find it impossible to understand a Samoan, Hawai’ian, or even a Malagasy or Filipino.

There’s English and Spanish, but What on Earth is Spanglish?

Languages are never fixed in time. They evolve and change. When people moved far less than they do today and most grew up in a defined locality talking to those who spoke the same language or dialect as they did, then there was little change. Dialects evolved due to geographical separation or isolation over time. Colonization or invasion often meant that there were two or more primary languages, one of the dominant or more powerful occupying group and the other the oppressed. That’s when the purity of a language began to change.

Kids grow up speaking both languages simultaneously and combining words and phrases to make new combinations. Globalization and the growing importance of English as a global lingua Francia often lead to changes in a language. These can work both ways, with words introduced from one language into another and new words and phrases being created from a combination of both.

Spanish is one of the world’s most spoken languages. In its purest form, it is spoken throughout the Iberian Peninsula apart from Portugal. Even there, there are regional dialects, as well as totally different languages like Basque (Catalan has strong similarities to Spanish). When the Spanish formed colonies in the Caribbean, Central, and South America, colonizers established their language as supreme amidst a huge number of largely forgotten indigenous languages. To the North, lay English speaking USA and Canada, to where eventually many Spanish speakers migrated. The juxtaposition of majority Spanish and minority English has given rise to “Spanglish,” a sort of creolized melee of both languages.

Where is Spanglish spoken?

Spanglish is spoken in Puerto Rico and many parts of North America where there are large Hispanic communities. It is not a uniform language by any means. Even back in the 1930s, what we now refer to as Spanglish was called Espanglish or Inglañol. The former was mostly Spanish and the latter more English than Spanish. Puerto Rico is probably where more Spanglish is spoken than anywhere else, partly because it is the only part of the world where both Spanish and English are joint official languages. Puerto Rico is a U.S. dependency and there are millions of Puerto Ricans who live in the U.S., so it is not surprising that it has become widespread in use there.
There are now over 50 million Hispanic people living in the U.S., the largest ethnic minority in the country. Many in the Hispanic community grow up with Spanglish, although they may also be able to speak pure Spanish and English depending on the context as well.

Spanglish may be the preferred language to be used in many Hispanic communities in places like Miami, California, Texas and New York. There are so many variations of what could be termed Spanglish such as the creolized language used by Afro-Cubans who live in Florida, called Cubonics from Cuban Spanish and Afro American slang.

Spanglish has also become established in places where the two languages mix in other parts of the world like Gibraltar, Belize and the ABC islands of the Caribbean, together with other creole languages like Papamiento.

Japanese Culture and Language Explained

Introduction
If you intend to visit Japan (after the coronavirus is defeated, of course!) for any length of time, then it is a good idea to become acquainted with the Japanese language and Japanese culture. This article is intended to provide a few facts about the Japanese language and culture to get you started. There are 125 million Japanese and their economy, while perhaps not as strong as it once was, is still an extremely important one on the world economic stage.
Sadly, if you thought your visit would coincide with the Olympics, you will now have to reschedule your visit to 2021, due to the threat to athletes and visitors alike from COVID-19. The postponement of the XXXII Olympiad, now officially renamed Tokyo Olympics 2021, has been met with a huge disappointment in Japan, but the reaction to the postponement does indeed teach the outsider or Gaijin about the Japanese character and the pride they have in their nation.

Is Japanese a tough language to learn?
It’s probably fair to say that Japanese is a tough language to learn, whoever you are (unless you are Japanese, of course!). Part of the reason for that is that Japanese is unlike any other language on Earth. Geographically, Japan is closest to Korea and China and there are many superficial similarities between Japanese, Korean and Chinese. There are some definite similarities too, particularly the use of kanji (Japanese), or hanja (Korean), which are the characters used in Japanese, Korean and Chinese writing. There is some overlap in the vocabulary, partly because of possible, but not proven ancient linguistic links and partly because of occupation by the Japanese prior to the Second World War, but basically these three languages are mutually unintelligible. A Korean or Chinese person who cannot understand Japanese would probably try using another language like English to communicate.
This is a very different situation to other parts of the world, although Turkish and Greek, although close geographically is quite different. So is Finnish quite different from all other Scandinavian languages? Think how similar many Latin languages are to each other – Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian and French. They may still find it difficult to talk to each other, because of accents and dialects, but they can probably have a very good stab at understanding each others’ printed words.

Interesting facts about Japanese culture
One of the most notable features of Japanese culture is that the Japanese population is surprisingly monoethnic, especially compared to other western nations. Nearly 99% of the population is Japanese, with a small smattering of Koreans, Chinese and other nationalities. Of course, major cities like Tokyo have a relatively small population of foreigners who come to study, teach, work in business or arrive as curious tourists.

Like any other large population, it is not safe to assume that the Japanese are all the same culturally. There are some stereotypes that may ring true for some Japanese, but there are many Japanese who don’t fit into these stereotypes.
Here are some interesting facts about Japanese society and culture

Most widely practiced religion or belief: Shintoism and Buddhism;
Saving face, or maintaining one’s own pride and self-esteem is important;
Japanese traditional food is centered on rice and fish;
Japanese tend to prefer to keep their own personal space,(probably very wise in these days of avoiding the coronavirus!);
Gift-giving is an important part of the culture;
Business or work dress tends to be conservative: dark suits for men and dresses for women;
Use purpose-designed slippers while using the toilet;
If invited to a Japanese dinner or meal, there is a protocol that is important to know about it.
How Japan compares technologically to other countries
Japan is an advanced Western country with a sophisticated and well developed technological basis. It wasn’t always like that. Japan took off industrially well before the Second World War and came to dominate much of East Asia, including the Korean Peninsula and much of China. Imperialist Japan felt it needed to expand its borders to find the resources to feed its growing industrial base and compete with the West. Post WW2, it went through a very rapid phase of development and filled the place in terms of industrial output and manufacture that China is now filling. Japanese technology is for that reason on a par with other comparable western nations. The country’s manufacturing base is now centered on heavy machinery, automobiles, and electronic products. Many Japanese companies are household names around the world.
The country’s technological prowess and confidence took a big hit in 2011when the tsunami offshore from Fukushima killed thousands of people and several nuclear facilities were breached. Japan’s economy nosedived further at the time and hasn’t fully recovered. To date, Japan remains behind in the search and introduction of renewable energy technology although it has rolled out some of the cheaper EV cars on the world market.

Introduction

If you intend to visit Japan (after the coronavirus is defeated, of course!) for any length of time, then it is a good idea to become acquainted with the Japanese language and Japanese culture. This article is intended to provide a few facts about the Japanese language and culture to get you started. There are 125 million Japanese and their economy, while perhaps not as strong as it once was, is still an extremely important one on the world economic stage.
Sadly, if you thought your visit would coincide with the Olympics, you will now have to reschedule your visit to 2021, due to the threat to athletes and visitors alike from COVID-19. The postponement of the XXXII Olympiad, now officially renamed Tokyo Olympics 2021, has been met with a huge disappointment in Japan, but the reaction to the postponement does indeed teach the outsider or Gaijin about the Japanese character and the pride they have in their nation.

Is Japanese a tough language to learn?

It’s probably fair to say that Japanese is a tough language to learn, whoever you are (unless you are Japanese, of course!). Part of the reason for that is that Japanese is unlike any other language on Earth. Geographically, Japan is closest to Korea and China and there are many superficial similarities between Japanese, Korean and Chinese. There are some definite similarities too, particularly the use of kanji (Japanese), or hanja (Korean), which are the characters used in Japanese, Korean and Chinese writing. There is some overlap in the vocabulary, partly because of possible, but not proven ancient linguistic links and partly because of occupation by the Japanese prior to the Second World War, but basically these three languages are mutually unintelligible. A Korean or Chinese person who cannot understand Japanese would probably try using another language like English to communicate.
This is a very different situation to other parts of the world, although Turkish and Greek, although close geographically is quite different. So is Finnish quite different from all other Scandinavian languages? Think how similar many Latin languages are to each other – Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian and French. They may still find it difficult to talk to each other, because of accents and dialects, but they can probably have a very good stab at understanding each others’ printed words.

Interesting facts about Japanese culture

One of the most notable features of Japanese culture is that the Japanese population is surprisingly monoethnic, especially compared to other western nations. Nearly 99% of the population is Japanese, with a small smattering of Koreans, Chinese and other nationalities. Of course, major cities like Tokyo have a relatively small population of foreigners who come to study, teach, work in business or arrive as curious tourists.

Like any other large population, it is not safe to assume that the Japanese are all the same culturally. There are some stereotypes that may ring true for some Japanese, but there are many Japanese who don’t fit into these stereotypes.
Here are some interesting facts about Japanese society and culture

  • Most widely practiced religion or belief: Shintoism and Buddhism;
  • Saving face, or maintaining one’s own pride and self-esteem is important;
  • Japanese traditional food is centered on rice and fish;
  • Japanese tend to prefer to keep their own personal space,(probably very wise in these days of avoiding the coronavirus!);
  • Gift-giving is an important part of the culture;
  • Business or work dress tends to be conservative: dark suits for men and dresses for women;
  • Use purpose-designed slippers while using the toilet;
  • If invited to a Japanese dinner or meal, there is a protocol that is important to know about it.

How Japan compares technologically to other countries

Japan is an advanced Western country with a sophisticated and well developed technological basis. It wasn’t always like that. Japan took off industrially well before the Second World War and came to dominate much of East Asia, including the Korean Peninsula and much of China. Imperialist Japan felt it needed to expand its borders to find the resources to feed its growing industrial base and compete with the West. Post WW2, it went through a very rapid phase of development and filled the place in terms of industrial output and manufacture that China is now filling. Japanese technology is for that reason on a par with other comparable western nations. The country’s manufacturing base is now centered on heavy machinery, automobiles, and electronic products. Many Japanese companies are household names around the world.
The country’s technological prowess and confidence took a big hit in 2011when the tsunami offshore from Fukushima killed thousands of people and several nuclear facilities were breached. Japan’s economy nosedived further at the time and hasn’t fully recovered. To date, Japan remains behind in the search and introduction of renewable energy technology although it has rolled out some of the cheaper EV cars on the world market.