Language September 2013

Mind Your Manners

The use of honorifics in Japanese, the firm grasp among native speakers of what is being conveyed with the slightest inflection, the respectful bow, and a myriad of other signs, both spoken and unspoken, make this country arguably the most polite in the world.
Language September 2011

Success in Business English

Foreign business people often complain about the low level of spoken English among their Japanese contacts, while human resources managers at Japanese firms complain that employees’ English is inadequate. However, on the basis of having taught English and run corporate training programmes in Japan over the past six years, I know this is not true.
Language July 2011

Not Lost in Translation

With Europe’s longest place name—Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogery-chwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch—Welsh can be more like an exercise in tongue twisting than a language. Yuko Nakauchi, however, has got her vocal chords around all those tricky consonants and stray vowels and so was, in May, named winner of the British Council Japan’s inaugural UK Alumni Talent Show for people who had studied in Britain.