Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Eastern Eejits

For me, this is a very old topic, but reading a new article on an old story rekindles certain sentiments. I was browsing Language Log today (something I do semi-often to get my fix of linguistic news), when I saw a bit about Japanese, and speech forms.

Apparently, a certain set of Caucasian males with Japanese girlfriends (like that's original) have been discovering that the Japanese they've been learning from their coy counterparts are effeminate. Am I alone in this, or don't most people notice a general difference in trend between the way groups of people speak?? I mean, where else do we come up with the politically-incorrect-but-accurate stereotypes of society!?

This guy claims to have lived in Japan for over two years, and somehow managed to learn fem. Japanese without picking up on it. Unless he's been posing as a woman in some sort of women-only district, I find it highly unlikely that he wouldn't have the opportunity to observe male speech patterns. TV shows, interviews, snippets of conversation on public transit, all these things are more telling of a culture than the ignoramus must be willing to admit.

This all reminds me of my first experience with such an induhvidual who was, among other things, something that affectionately terms "wapanese". It was particularly unnerving for an introvert as myself, to be standing in front of the classroom teaching, having to meet the intense, rapturous gaze of a physically unfit and sexually unattractive induhvidual. Most unnerving was having to hear him speak because, like the people described in the preceding paragraphs, this induhvidual had the idiocy to mimic the object of his affection, instead of the object of the affection of the object of his affection (awkward phrasing; syntax abuse!). Isn't that a bit like trying to impress the girl of your dreams by trying to look better in the same sort of clothes and skirts that she wears? Unless she's as sexually confused as you... .

Personally, I find it interesting that this particularly unobservant demographic continues to meander along, leading each other in the dark. Caucasian male in Japan -- like that's not going to stand out. And somehow, it escapes their ken (or perhaps is suppressed out of their own emotional insecurity), that by being foreign they would automatically be regarded as something of a novelty. No, no, of course those back-stabbing, two-faced vixens love you for who you are. Especially when they come from an amoral and atheist society.

Plenty of blame to go around. I'm also astonished that these Japanese women don't recognise the fact that their foreign boyfriends/students/coworkers are foreign, and therefore raised in a different cultural and linguistic environment. Wouldn't that necessitate a simpler and more direct mode of communcation? Apparently not. So they bottle up their indignation at their foppish counterparts' linguistic blunders until they can't bear it anymore, releasing it all in a one-shot torrent of emotion and rage. Brilliant.

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