TIM BUNTING

KIWI YAMABUSHI

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A Tool for Communication? Of What?

It’s the same thing. It took me a while to realise this, but learning English in Japan is the same as learning Maori in New Zealand. When people in Japan talk about learning the language, they only talk about the actual learning of the language, the vocabulary and grammar mainly. Likewise, New Zealanders only see the Maori language as simply a tool for communication. In both cases, they are missing a major part of learning a language. You don’t learn a language just to communicate with speakers of that language, you learn a language to learn the culture behind it, and at the same time, to learn about yourself.

Perhaps they need to change it from ‘language learning’ to something else, but you really notice it when people go overseas and actually come face-to-face with the speakers and environment of that language, when they are immersed in it. In my case, I was mesmerised by Japan, not only the language, but the culture, history, and people. If being immersed in the culture was more of a prerequisite, I can’t help but think the outcomes would be different.

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Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 

tim@timbunting.com

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