“Language is no barrier”. This is a phrase I heard once from a lecturer whilst I attended a college seminar with a group of Japanese students on tour from Japan to Australia focusing on international relations.
As I am now working as a part-time website assistant and English teacher at an English teaching franchise in Japan, I often find myself contemplating this statement, wondering if this is actually the case.
I find working at Smith’s School of English to be a very rewarding experience. We probably all take English for granted, and I think it isn’t until you’ve taken it upon yourself to teach it that you’ll realize just what a complicated entity it is. One of my most favorite examples of this was with an English conversation with one of my Japanese friends.
I started off saying by saying “How was school today.”, to which they responded “Good. I didn’t my homework”.
At this, I was somewhat puzzled. From this statement, I thought they could have either not received any homework, or that they forgot to add “do” to “do any homework”.
I later realized what had happened. My friend had learnt “I did my homework” at school and had then merely changed it to the opposite: “I didn’t my homework”.
At that time, I was amazed that there were facets of English such as that that although I knew inherently, I never actually thought about. I finally managed to correct my friend and re-assuring them that that kind of English doesn’t occur too often.
Nowadays, whenever I teach English in class, I always think back about these sorts of English nuances and always endeavor to explain them as best as I can.
From that previous statement, “Language is no barrier”, I believe this the case only after a good amount of hard work.