UMM Logo

Universitas Muhammadiyah Malang

Free Download Journals Directory

Canadian Military Journal

Am I Speaking Japanese? Cultural Implications in Language Learning

Dana Batho
Dana Batho
Abstract :

Living or working in a foreign nation is a challenge for most, especially when the culture that one is immersed in is very different from their own. For the CF, the requirement for personnel to be culturally aware of the environment they are working or fighting in is essential to mission success. Whether on deployment to a combat zone or in an overseas staff position, cultural awareness training is a necessary component to allow CF members to succeed in their tasks and in their daily lives. Although language training is included in CF cultural awareness training, there is a common misperception that this is less important than training about how the enemy and friendly forces think and operate.1 However, “language and culture are intertwined,”2 and as such, language training is essential in understanding a culture, whether that be of the local population, the enemy, or the multinational forces that one may work alongside. As CF members can be called upon to work anywhere in the world, the cultural awareness that can be obtained by learning a foreign language is an issue whose importance needs to be understood by all CF members.

As an example of this, the process of learning Japanese will be used to demonstrate how much cultural awareness is automatically gained through foreign language acquisition. Any two foreign languages are going to have differences with each other, especially those that originate from very different cultures. The distinctions between English and Japanese are very noticeable, possibly because Japan’s culture is rooted very deeply in strong traditions, whereas Western culture is based on influences from all around the world and is quite fluid. Communication issues that are common when trying to communicate result from how Japanese is structured and cultural norms reflected in the language. This means that simply learning Japanese, a massive feat in itself, is not enough to be able to communicate effectively; cultural impediments must also be navigated.

Keywords :
Am I Speaking Japanese? Cultural Implications in Language Learning

Date Deposited : 08 Apr 2015 10:13

Last Modified : 08 Apr 2015 10:31

Official URL:

Volume 12, Number 1, - 2012

Full Text Original
Abstract : pdf doc