Friday, 18 February 2011

Foreign Language Friday! Meme #2

Once again it is Friday, the sun has set, and it's time for my weekly meme about languages! (First one is here).

Today is a quick one because a) I'm sleepy since I saw my Japanese teacher after work instead of going straight home b) I have a craft deadline looming. I'm seeing my sister on Sunday, and I'm giving her a belated birthday present of a country companions cross-stitch mouse holding balloons. I've yet to sew the balloons, the half-stitch background, the butterfly, and the backstitch outline (more next week on my Thursday craft meme). So I need to get sewing!

Languages are an awesome opportunity to meet people. At school a lot of students go on language exchanges. I never did, but I did go on work experience to a book shop in Strasbourg (my entire class went there for 10 days when I was at sixth form). That was brilliant fun. I didn't make pen-friends with any French or Spanish students, but I enjoy reading the books.

As for Japanese, well I'm glad I have my tutor (lessons suspended due to my health and she's just had a baby). My lessons were always fun, I got on well with her and enjoyed our weekly/fortnightly (depending on circumstances) lessons. I've missed her since I had to stop my lessons, but today I went over to see her and her new baby boy. He's so adorable! I probably could write an entire post on the cuteness of babies. But the point I'm making is that firm friendships can be made with people who you meet while learning a language. Be they the teacher, other classmates, or just people that you bump in to. In my experience they are always friendly, like to hear how you are getting on with the language, and eager to explain cultural differences.

As well as baby talk, today I learnt that her son will have to make up his mind whether he will be Japanese or English citizen when he is 22 years old. How in Japan, people don't really buy houses. A second hand house is rare. Japanese (at least where my teacher is) buy land (which is expensive like our houses are expensive), then build a house of their own design on. She says it isn't exciting looking for a house to move into. She has to accept someone else's design, their layout. It's very different to what she's used to (she's been here for years but been in the same place).  Japanese babies generally have short arms (this is so true! He was swamped in the cardigan I'd knitted), and whereas in England a lot of women prefer not to know the gender of the baby until birth, in Japan it is considered odd if you do that. It is these nuggets of information that you can't learn from a textbook. It's a feel for the culture that has to be experienced rather than taught.

I'd love to hear if any of you have formed friends with people you've met through learning a language, or just by living near/working with someone who isn't native to your country (or whose origin isn't native, since I know a lot of people born here but of a different culture).

Date Publisher Pages Format Review copy / Personal copy / Library copy Genre Content: Violence? Romance? Swearing? Mystery, suspence, etc?(if so, please put without mild, moderate or a lot/graphic, and frequency in the book) example: moderate violence occasionally Summary from [publisher] [my] thoughts: Final conclusion: [links to author site/book site] If you like this, you might like [put which book you would recommend]

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