What distinguishes native speakers from non-native speakers? (15)

1 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-12-11 02:43 ID:vPArQOi9

What is the ultimate difference between a native speaker and a non-native speaker outside language mastery?

I want to 'pass' as native in Japan, but I'm only just now beginning to study the language. Advice?

2 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-12-14 20:14 ID:7LQ56FId

>>What is the ultimate difference between a native speaker and a non-native speaker outside language mastery?

This is a bizarre question. What distinguishes native speakers is having acquired speaking ability in a given language naturally, from birth, rather than primarily through formal instruction, ie being native speakers. It's too late for you on that front, so language mastery is your only option. My advice is to study hard and master as much grammar and vocabulary as you can in a classroom setting--drills, etc., are very good tools for basic language acquisition--and then supplement this with several years living in Japan, using only Japanese. This will enable you to acquire natural speech patterns, idiomatic expressions, and other stuff that makes natives sound like natives and can't really be gained in a classroom.

The combination of in-school cramming and real-world use will get you closer than anything else to native-level mastery of a language. For example, after five years of formal in-school study of Thai and two years of living in a part of Thailand where not much English was spoken, I was often mistaken for a Thai person on the phone.

If you're looking to be mistaken for a Japanese person face-to-face, my advice is to combine all of the above steps, and to also have Japanese parents. Parents from another part of Northeast Asia would be a distant second choice.

3 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-12-15 01:51 ID:vPArQOi9

I have the Japanese 'look' covered. The issues, thankfully, are cultural and linguistic. What I effectively was asking about without any eloquence was what would I have to consider in terms of language idiosyncracies.

Living in Japan to acquire these is not ideal, but is the only answer I've turned up from multiple locations.

Thank you for your response.

4 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-12-24 08:15 ID:G5cRZSYA

You won't be able to pass for a Japanese person, unless you live in Japan, and are exposed to actual idiomatic Japanese every single day. Even then, it's unlikely you will sound like a native speaker to the Japanese.

5 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2009-12-24 21:35 ID:kSyxahfQ


Why in a classroom? Clearly you can do that by yourself, without cost, and in a fraction of the time.

6 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-01-04 20:10 ID:7LQ56FId


>>Why in a classroom?

Several reasons. First, it worked for me. I've studied eight languages and can speak six of them well, and the ones I speak best are those I acquired through a combination of in-classroom cramming and real-world use.

Arguably most importantly, formal instruction provides a feedback loop that I'm not sure you can get without a trained teacher. Learning independently, from books, etc., can be useful, of course, but won't necessarily help you correct mistakes. Native speaker conversation partners often won't correct you if something you say sounds weird or wrong, either, so you can wind up reinforcing problems.

>>Clearly you can do that by yourself, without cost, and in a fraction of the time.

Not true, in my opinion, for the great majority of people. Most people simply aren't disciplined enough or well-organized enough in their independent studies to acquire everything they need in the right order and proportion without some external stimulus. Some can, and more power to them. But I don't think most people can do as much as well on their own as they could with a well-trained professional teaching them.

7 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-01-17 21:29 ID:u0QAS+F1

Immersion is not always the best teacher. It certainly helps, though.

8 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-02-08 08:33 ID:AXh9vOCi

You could always try http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/

Basically, simulate a Japanese environment as much as you can. I can attest to the input hypothesis as well. I find it a lot easier to make Japanese sounds and words just focusing on listening to it a fucktonne- Than I did with repetitive speaking and practice.

9 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-02-08 20:32 ID:460Tw13v

Learning Japanese... no, it's not easy. Sure, one may learn it, but that doesn't mean that you'll become ready to speak it in Japan. It's much more than that. Live in Japan, speak it in Japan, get used to it more.

As in any language, it's not enough to learn it through a website or lessons, but it's daily use that boosts it.

Plus: It's not a bad thing to "Pass-by" as someone who knows the language, but be sure to keep up with "today's Japanese" :P

10 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-02-21 07:57 ID:lclXephW

Wanting to pass as a native speaker takes years of a) classroom training -- to gain a firm grasp of the standard language; b) reading -- to increase your vocabulary, learn about styles, genres, and sociolinguistic registers; and c) immersion. You can't really do it from abroad, as you won't acquire the idioms and the colloquialisms that set natives apart from someone who's most familiar with the standard language (i.e. the dialect taught in foreign language instruction). And, like I said, that takes /years/. We're talking about a decade, at the least.

11 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-03-08 06:26 ID:9tl8p4jq

I agree with every one of the first three positive even integers.

I don't have the Japanese look (I'm half Croatian, and the other half is various European backgrounds), but I've been studying Japanese for 6 years, and I went to Japan about two years ago and stayed for a year. I studied at the highest level of Waseda University's Intensive Japanese Language Program while living in an environment surrounded by Japanese men my own age, interacting with people in and around the capital. I even had a Japanese girlfriend for a while. But despite all that -- and believe me, I've worked harder than most this past half decade -- I can't really speak like a native yet. Sometimes I get mistaken for a Japanese person on the phone, but on bad days, or when I get really nervous, sometimes people know I'm not. I can pass for a Japanese person pretty easily online in chat rooms, but on the phone, it's not as easy -- and it's pretty much a lost cause if it's face to face, since my non-Japanese appearance predisposes the other party to expect me not to speak perfectly. In situations like that, even when if I say something completely natural that's just strange because I wanted to crack a joke or something, people might think I said it strangely simply because they know I don't speak the language natively. Shit sucks.

That said, it takes a looooot of work, and being in Japan is key. I don't expect myself to become significantly more native-like in speech and writing (and actions, because those are important, too) without living in Japan for another few years, making a point to use Japanese as often as possible.

I have to admit, I'm a little skeptical of http;//www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/, but I think that's mainly because I lack the discipline to go all out like that at this point. (If I tried to force myself to take notes in Japanese, for example, I think I'd fail my classes because I'm used to being able to do it so much more quickly in English.) But that doesn't mean it wouldn't work. As previously mentioned in this thread, some people do have that sort of discipline, and if you can actually manage to immerse yourself in Japanese without being in Japan -- if you can "live" in Japanese without being in Japan -- it's definitely better for your Japanese language acquisition than simply "learning" it in your home country. Of course, going to Japan is better, but if you have the discipline for it (and I doubt that most people do), then go for it.

It's extremely difficult to become so good at a language that you can pass for a native. Think of how many people you know who speak English as a foreign language, and ask yourself how many of them could pass for natives. (People with Japanese parents who grew up in the US don't count; in all likeliness their English is better than their Japanese.)

12 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-03-08 06:30 ID:9tl8p4jq


even when if I say something -> even if I say something
http;// -> http://

I swear to God I'm a native speaker of English :P

13 Name: Scatterbrain : 2010-08-23 04:21 ID:J7u0piWs

The main difference between being native and non-native speaker is that you were not learning the language in a, let's say "natural" way. Also, you were not in that culture, so it would be kind of difficult to get wordplay or culturally related things.


14 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2010-08-24 18:41 ID:/K2Gw4Ok

Yea, I agree with you.
Here is the problem.
I don't want to be imbued with other country's culture.
What should I do?

15 Name: Scatterbrain : 2010-08-24 20:00 ID:dA18y/22


That's a good question. Every time you use a language you're expressing an aspect of that culture. But, maybe, you can talk about your country or general things without being culturally imbued. That's a tricky one.

Hope some could answer you

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