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American English in Japan
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petwilso



Joined: 21 Mar 2003
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2003 2:05 am    Post subject: American English in Japan Reply with quote

Can anyone give origins or reasons for the Japanese preference for American English over British English? Thank you.
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soos



Joined: 16 Apr 2003
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2003 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's an interesting question. Ask your students. I wonder if the vowel sounds or the prosody has anything to do with it.

soos from Maine, USA
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plato



Joined: 15 Apr 2003
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2003 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

It is my beleif that the reason(s) are not because of linguistic nature or preference, but more of a sociological/political leaning.

Regards, Plato.
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soos



Joined: 16 Apr 2003
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2003 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi plato

you are probably right

soos
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petwilso



Joined: 21 Mar 2003
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2003 6:13 am    Post subject: I can find an historic connection here Reply with quote

On reason Japan may have adopted American English as its preferred variety because of the strong influence the US had over the Japanese education system during the post war occupation where reform, democratisation and new textbooks were ordered after a US education mission’s visit.
Hoshiyama claims that ‘New [post-war] English textbooks were compiled under the suggestive directive of the U.S. Occupation Forces’ educational advisors,’ (Hoshiyama, 1978:105) indicating that America was in a key position to influence the school text materials. Post-war Japan embraced American culture and language is certainly rooted in culture. Gimson (1978)
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soos



Joined: 16 Apr 2003
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2003 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That makes a lot of sense. Thanks for your response.
soos
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Glenski



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 164
Location: Sapporo, Japan

PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2003 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Japan may have adopted American English as its preferred variety because of the strong influence the US had over the Japanese education system during the post war occupation


I'm sorry to disagree. I've seen enough textbooks for high school and eikaiwas, and they are full of North American and British English in roughly equal proportions. If anything, there may even be slightly more British English in them. I've certainly had to pause often enough when an eikaiwa student has said something using a British expression or grammar style, and catch myself from saying that was wrong. (I merely point out it's British style, not wrong. I'm American, but not so politico-centric that I think the world revolves around my country.)

I think the original post may have been geared more towards the spoken language as it is used in conversation, not as it is taught. Just my opinion.
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Dritzen



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2003 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

American English seems like it is a lot easier to understand. The British accent constantly leaves sounds out, says things oddly such as "aluminium", etc.

Australians and Brits have told me that we (Canadians) speak slowly. Maybe there's truth to that.
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benlewis3



Joined: 22 Jul 2003
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:09 pm    Post subject: ? Reply with quote

Dritzen wrote:
American English seems like it is a lot easier to understand. The British accent constantly leaves sounds out, says things oddly such as "aluminium", etc.

Australians and Brits have told me that we (Canadians) speak slowly. Maybe there's truth to that.


Shocked This post is just a joke, right?

PS. The irony of your argument, in that the American/Canadian pronunciation of aluminium leaves the "i" out, hasn't escaped me.
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CEJ



Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just reviving this one a bit. Japan doesn't quite present the contrast of say, Hong Kong plus Singapore plus Malaysia vs. Philippines, where the UK-US rivallry in late imperialism plays itself out in English too.
I give the edge to an idea of American English as a standard over British, but on the other hand, I think I could show that, given the size of each country's relative populations, British teachers are actually over-represented compared to Americans (and ditto Canadians and Australians, though I'm not sure about Irish, New Zealand, S. Africans, etc.). Also, Britain would seem to have more of an impact in terms of materials sold, but the big presses tend to write in a sort of 'American' English now. That's also assuming that these materials really have a large impact on what the people learn (I highly doubt it). Finally, the TOEIC, a very popular test, has favoured American models, but it's said that it's going to change that starting next year. A toss up, slight edge to American English because of CNN, Time, and Hollywood especially.
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Superhal



Joined: 20 Feb 2005
Posts: 131

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Imho, American pop culture dominates most countries, and is the "cool" dialect.
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CEJ



Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Superhal"]Imho, American pop culture dominates most countries, and is the "cool" dialect.[/quote]

But offsetting that is the fact that a lot of people might be attracted to American pop culture without really learning American English. And this culture also causes as much cultural bewilderment or at least gets interpreted differently than is expected. When I watch an American film with Japanese students, I'm reminded of this all the time. Many can't really follow American films at all. Oh, and in defense of British, up until the corporate sell-out of the music industry there, they ruled popular music in the 70s and 80s, and that influence is still felt and acknowledged, even though they now export mostly lame corporate pop that is indistinguishable from the US version.
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Superhal



Joined: 20 Feb 2005
Posts: 131

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What's really interesting about British pop is that you can't hear the accent from most singers. I read about this (albeit from a non-reliable source) that singing eliminates accents to some degree, and you end up with a uniform American midwest accent.
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CEJ



Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Superhal"] What's really interesting about British pop is that you can't hear the accent from most singers. I read about this (albeit from a non-reliable source) that singing eliminates accents to some degree, and you end up with a uniform American midwest accent. [/quote]

I think there is a lot of imitation of some 'American' styles: soul, rap, country-western, bluegrass, blues, jazz etc. I've also heard Japanese doing Japanese that sounds a lot like the Jamaican reggae English (only done in Japanese of course).
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patsensei



Joined: 26 Feb 2006
Posts: 15
Location: Tokyo

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 8:34 am    Post subject: Re: American English in Japan Reply with quote

yeah it seems they prefer it. think they think it is easier to understand and in junior high schools most if not all texts are written in American English.

www.teachjapanforum.com
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