Japanese and English Distance

Japanese and English Distance


There are many native Japanese who live in America. Also, there are those who are still migrating to the nation. Most of them do not have basic knowledge of English and therefore make a point of learning with all the difficulty that comes with it. This research paper is targeted to investigate the difference between Japanese and English. The study used a simple question administered to five Japanese respondents. The data was then taken directly and interpreted since the questionnaire was simple and to the point. A background of Japanese is also discussed concerning English. The disparities and how the languages make it difficult for learners to learn fast. Among the differences include sentence formation, lack of articles in Japanese, use of more than two consecutive consonants in English as opposed to Japanese and many more. Afterward, all categories of respondents give their challenges and reasons for learning English.


English, Japanese, Disparity, and Demographic

Research questions

  1. To find out respondents first language of the respondent
  2. To establish a reason for learning the English language
  • To determine the difference between the first and second language
  1. To find out the benefits of knowing both words


America is recognized as a free state, reasons for this name is that other than the Native Americans and the Black Americans, there are several immigrants in the country from different nations in the world. There are Asians, Germans, French, Spanish, and many others. These people upon arrival into America an English speaking nation had to learn the language. It hasn’t been easy for some, but some who wanted to make the best out of their lives had to learn the language fast. It is not a hard thing to meet a multi-lingual American. They are everywhere in the country. They are our neighbors, our professor, and our classmates and so on. One will likely meet a Japanese with dual citizenship that speaks both languages so well yet these languages are far from each other. Also one will wonder why they decide to learn a second or even a third language as they do. In this research paper, we will investigate Japanese speakers who speak English as their second language. The study will involve five respondent; three students, one professor, and two neighbors.


Japanese is an Asian language spoken in Japan. It is believed to be related to Turkish and Korean, but it seems to belong to a category of its own. About 130 million people speak the language as a mother-tongue. Immigrants in America have ensured that their offsprings learn the language and the culture by establishing schools and other cultural learning centers in America. However, these Japanese speaking people upon coming to America had to learn English as a second language. The disparity in communications has been a significant issue while learning the language. There is a vast difference in the two words especially the language structure of both.

The writing system of the Japanese language is very complicated as compared to English. The language uses three main scripts; the katakana which is syllabary, the Hiragana and Kanji which is a character of Chinese origin. Today the Japanese language also use Latin texts in their advertising. In writing, the word is written from top of a page to the bottom in columns, and the books start at the back going the front page. Apart from this difference in page numbering, Japanese speaker is used to other ways of writing in English using the Latin scripts. The Japanese have about five vowels which may be long or short.

The syllable structures are simple and are mostly preceded by one or two consonants. They, therefore, find it hard to pronouns English words with more than two consonants before a vowel. For example, it is easy for a Japanese speaker to pronounce strength as ‘strength’. These learners might also have a problem trying to perceive what they are saying. The speakers also have a problem in pronunciation, especially where diphthongs are involved. For example, in the pronunciation of words such as caught and coat. Or where the letter ‘l’ and ‘r’ are involved. It is not a new thing to hear a speaker say something like ‘rot’ instead of ‘lot.’ This result in these learners being misunderstood. Japanese speakers learning English also have a problem with spelling consonant ‘b,’ primarily when used at the beginning of a word. For example, instead of saying very they say very and instead of the van, they say ban.

The Japanese language does not have auxiliary verbs, and this means that they have a problem in forming perfect tenses, negations or even questions. In their style, the verbs persons and numbers take the same verb and do not change in these circumstances. They are likely to omit s in phrases. For example, they say she goes instead of she goes. Also, they always have a problem choosing the correct tenses to convey a particular meaning. They will likely to use present simple verbs to communicate things in the future, and one will hear them saying, ‘I help you after work’ instead of I will help you after work. Japanese has the subject, object-verb order in their sentences which is entirely different from English. This makes it difficult for these learners to learn English with a different sentence structure. There are no articles like a, an or the in their language. Also, the Japanese nouns can be used as adverbs or even as adjectives. The advantage that these learners have is the fact that most English vocabularies are used in Japanese making it easy for them to learn English.


  1. Students

The students interviewed had the following to say about both Languages. They mentioned that they learn English while keeping Japanese as their first language to leverage their business and work opportunities. Also, they do so to add to their social life, getting more friends and learning the difference in both cultures. Most of them indicated that they were expanding their mind while learning both languages. It is very challenging learning two very diverse languages in pronunciation word formation. Most importantly, immigrants learn the language to coexist well with every other person in the country. They noted that so far the most challenging part of learning English was the fact that Japanese changes were varying with social status. People of different age, sex and ability are addressed differently which is unusual in English where everyone is treated the same way regardless of demographics.

  1. Professors

The response of professors was a bit different and exciting. These are people who have lived for a very long time in America making them comprehend language very well. By the time they are professors, it means that they have learned English to use it as a medium of teaching. They all agreed that their primary reason for learning English was to get a career. Most of them are natural educators, and if they had to succeed in this new land, then they had to learn their language. Just the students above, they encountered the same problems while learning. However, unlike the current students they were disadvantaged because a long time ago, English vocabularies were not used in Japanese.

  • Neighbors

Just like the professors above, my Japanese neighbors had the same answers. They said that to succeed in the American Economy especially while running businesses they had to learn English. They had to learn because their children were good at it and also because they wanted to relate with their neighbors. They encountered many challenges such as sentence formation and difficulty in translating specific vocabularies from Japanese to English. Another problem with these groups is in the pronunciation of English words. Most of them are a bit old and did not go to class to the language. They learned it from interacting with people. Most of them have a problem with pronunciation of words that take a different consonant-vowel or subject- object- verb structure.


From our study, we learn that languages are different across different continents and nations. Some countries such as Nigeria have more than 100 native languages. These languages take very various forms and pronunciation. This disparity is seen in English and Japanese as indicated above. We learn that the Japanese have different sentence formation, word formation, and vocabularies. The most significant difference is the fact that there are cultural differences in the language. The demographic aspects of the two always influence communication between any two people in Japan. That means age, sex, relative status, and relationships are considered in these conversations. Their words are composed of Syllabary where a vowel sound usually follows a consonant sound. This makes learning English for native speakers very difficult.

However, it is clear from the study that learning English to these Japanese is vital to them. Also, from the professors, we can tell that practice makes perfect while learning the language. The secret about learning any new language is socializing with people while paying close attention to what they are saying and how they say it. Among the benefits of learning a new word for anyone include; providence of more opportunities for international understanding which is used in the circumstances such as diplomacy and peacekeeping missions in foreign countries. Learning a new language enables one to have business partners in countries that speak that language. Also, in line with business, one can understand other countries cultures and why they do things the way they do. Learning a new language also makes one appreciate their more and appreciate their culture. Most of the respondents pointed out that since they started learning English, they have a better understanding of Japanese and for the first time they appreciate their own culture and language. Another benefit is that one can qualify as an English teacher in Japan and a Japanese teacher in America.