Learning a Language|言葉を学ぶということ


“Sumimasen! “Arigato!” “Chotto” “Ganbatte!”

These are some of the Japanese vocabulary words that I know. I never thought of learning another language particularly Japanese before I came here. Probably, the reason was because I was closed-minded to possibilities and assumed that working in another country was an impossible dream.

Is it necessary to learn another language?

Language is a form of communication. It differs from country to country, region to region, or even town to town. In the Philippines, there are more than 170 languages spoken. As a Filipino, I speak Leyte Cebuano (Leyteño) and Filipino (Tagalog), which is our national language.
Frankly speaking, I am not familiar with other languages in my homeland. I never bothered to learn them before just like Japanese. However, when I came to Japan and began to deal with my new life here, I started to realize the importance of knowing the language.

For example, reading and understanding signs, billboards, and warnings on the street and products or items displayed on a shelf in a department store.
Another thing is communicating with Japanese people like talking to a delivery man, requesting some documents to a staff in a municipality office, and even greeting passersby.
These are simple things but in my case, communicating with people in Japanese is undeniably difficult. “Difficult” is a common term used among students who are learning.
I always hear this one from my students who are learning English. Don’t worry! We are in the same boat.

Now, I am studying Japanese from scratch especially how to write Katakana and Hiragana characters. It is not easy, though. (It is like I am barehanded in the middle of nowhere but I am trying to fill it in.) I can imagine sticks from Katakana characters and curves from Hiragana characters. Sometimes, they are jumbled in my mind. One time, when I wrote them, everything went awry. I am just on the starting line but I feel it is already convoluted. Persistence is needed!

This experience is akin to learning English. It needs perseverance and it comes from within us. Then, learning is a step by step process. It has a starting point and it takes time to step on the finish line. It is may be different from person to person but that is how I take it.

Is it necessary to learn another language? Certainly, it is!






「Difficult(難しい)」というのは学習をしている生徒たちがよく言うセリフ。私はこの言葉を、英語を学ぶ自分の生徒たちから散々聞いてきました。心配しないで! 私だって同じですよ。

今、私はカタカナやひらがなの書き方のような基礎の基礎から日本語を勉強しています。全然簡単ではないのですけれどね。(まるで何も持たずにへんぴなところにいるみたい。でも私はどうにかしようと努めています。) 私はカタカナから棒線を、ひらがなから曲線を連想します。時々、頭の中でごちゃごちゃになってしまう。前にカタカタとひらがなを書いた時、どの文字もガタガタに曲がってしまったんです。私はまだスタートラインに立ったところですが、すでにその複雑さを感じています。根気がいりますね。