When “Yes” Means “No” — The Japanese Language Quirk That Trips English Speakers Up

You can learn all the words and practice all the kanji, but there’s one little Japanese language quirk that will almost certainly trip you up when you first encounter it.

An enormous number of westerners who come to Japan on a work visa do so to teach English. Often, speaking Japanese is not a prerequisite for being a native English teacher or teaching assistant in Japan (in fact, many language schools would rather you didn’t, so that you’re not tempted to use Japanese in the classroom), but this very often means that how well you and your coworkers communicate will depend entirely on their English-speaking ability, at least to begin with.

In most cases, with the help of a few gestures and repetition, everything goes relatively smoothly. But even when your Japanese coworker speaks close to perfect English, there’s one major difference between English and Japanese (and Korean, and a number of other languages, for that matter) that causes sometimes comical levels of confusion between the two parties involved: answering a negative statement.

Full article continued at RocketNews24
Source article written by Philip Kendall

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