01 July 2010

But wait, there's more!

In Nihongo class, I learned that the Japanese system(s) of writing - Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana - only came into existence here around 700-800 A.D.  Kanji of course being adopted from China, and Hiragana and Katakana being derived from similar sounding Kanji.

Basically the Japanese didn't have any form of writing prior to visits to mainland China in that period...  Much like the Philippines?  Although of course we do have our own traditional writing system (check this out: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/tagalog.htm), but our culture is that we don't really like documenting or writing things down.

Having gone to China (Hong Kong, Shanghai), Japan, Taiwan, India, Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore, I thought there are a number of these Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, or (local) Singaporean that could pass as a Filipino - until you hear them talk.  I realized this is the one physical definition of "Filipino," that he/she speaks Filipino.  I realized here that, unless I tell people so, and for as long as I can speak good Japanese and with the proper accent, no one would think I'm not Japanese!  I find it funny that one time I was in the US, I answered the phone with a somewhat American accent, and then it was a Filipino on the other line who was like trying to exhaust all his English language skills (with a very distinctive Filipino accent) to try to converse with me - who he thought was not a native Filipino speaker like himself!  So anyways, what I'm saying is, it's really your language that defines your nationality.  If you can speak like a native does, people could actually "mistake" you to be a native.  Or consider you as brother.  But I do find it annoying that some people think they know English very well, and are very boastful of the fact that it is even one of their national languages, but make very basic grammatical mistakes like...  "Too much tired is there."  What????  Well of course I understood what that means but, come on, man.  The originators of English supposedly taught you English.

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