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What languages are very popular in Japan?

Talk about the culture and entertainment from Nihon.
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puccaching
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What languages are very popular in Japan?

Post by puccaching » Feb 21st, '07, 01:38

I had a japanese foreign exchange student tell me that spanish is becoming very popular in Japan and i was just wondering if it was true and if there are also many other languages that are practiced in japan?

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groink
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Post by groink » Feb 21st, '07, 02:25

I'm not exactly sure about Spanish; that's a new one for me.

As for other languages, English is still the number-one second language in Japan. French has also been quite popular, and I believe it is the number-one European language among the Japanese, as I heard in at least two travel shows. Portuguese has been spoken in certain parts of Japan for decades, as many Japanese have links to Brazil when many of their family members fled to that country prior to WWII.

Korean is starting to catch on, as well as the various Chinese dialects, which explains why many Japanese dramas get translated into these two within hours after airing. Also keep in mind that there are also other languages that use Japonic, such as Okinawan and Ainu.

--- groink

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feedmeister
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Post by feedmeister » Feb 21st, '07, 02:59

I'm not sure if I have the chicken or the egg here.

Over the summer, I heard the songs "Daite Seniorita" and "Seishun Amigo" often enough that I still remember the tunes. At the time I wondered if they just got tired of throwing a couple of English words/phrases in every J-pop song and switched to a different language for a change. I'm not sure if interest in Spanish propted this or if a trend in pop songs got people interested. I don't really follow J-pop much.

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tejizo
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Post by tejizo » Feb 21st, '07, 04:37

Regarding "Daite Senorita" and "Seishun Amigo," it could be a coincidence since both songs are written by the same person (Zopp). And according to the Japanese wiki, he/she went study abroad to U.S. In short, I think the Spanish influence on the lyrics might come from that fact.

omoiyou
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Post by omoiyou » Feb 21st, '07, 04:47

english most popular evar....u see atleast some in any show/tv program u watch

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nivek
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Post by nivek » Feb 21st, '07, 04:48

English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Portugese, Chinese, and Korean. That's what I can think of off the top of my head.

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albertoavena
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Post by albertoavena » Feb 21st, '07, 06:50

I agree that Spanish is becoming to be a bit popular. Some (many) of my friends over there are actually learning Spanish (and are quite good) so maybe it's starting to catch on. They have pretty much the same pronunciation so..I don't know...maybe that has something to do with it. My pen pal is actually in Spain right now to learn Spanish so that's a wired coincidence.. :-)

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Mitani
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Post by Mitani » Feb 24th, '07, 08:50

feedmeister wrote:Over the summer, I heard the songs "Daite Seniorita" and "Seishun Amigo" often enough that I still remember the tunes. At the time I wondered if they just got tired of throwing a couple of English words/phrases in every J-pop song and switched to a different language for a change. I'm not sure if interest in Spanish propted this or if a trend in pop songs got people interested. I don't really follow J-pop much.
and it isn't only the JE's that made spanish inspired song in 2006, Miyavi was on the wave too with his "Señor, Señora, Señorita (セニョール セニョーラ セニョリータ)"!!
on youtube here!!

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Post by EleKYAH » Feb 24th, '07, 15:44

Well, im spanish, and i noticed myself theres a fact ive seen of spanish being popular in japan: spanish is being popular in japan, yes, but only the words about happiness and enjoy. For example, words like fiesta (party), amigo (friend), viva! (hooray!), señor/señorita (sir, lady), siesta (siesta, that sleep-time after having lunch), alegria (joyness) and stuff like that. It means that the stereotype of spain that japan ppl have (i can prove it seeing the jap tourists here in Barcelona, the most tourist city in spain) is the land with ppl too lazy, always happy, always in party, always smiling, living the life and **** off the job and responsable stuff (well, that might be true, spain ppl is too lazy and these things, but practically at same lvl than other europe developed lands). Japan is a land where ppl has a big amount of work, too developed and rich, with a high cost of life, and when work is one of the most important things. That's why japan ppl is attracted by spain (well, their image of spain), cos their image of spain has all the things they havent, lazyness, party, being stupid with dont think in anything, etc.

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groink
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Post by groink » Feb 24th, '07, 21:34

That's exactly what I was wondering; if Spanish (or any language) is popular, there must be some kind of purpose for the use of the language. I haven't seen an increase in Spanish-spoken entertainment in Japan, so it can't be because they want to watch Spanish dramas. Even if you went to a Spanish restaurant in Japan, everything's written in kana.

By comparison, Hawaii's most popular 2nd language is Spanish. Several reasons: 1) it is similar to certain Filipino dialects (and Hawaii's Filipino population is still increasing.) 2) In the mainland U.S., it can be quite useful seeing Spanish is similar to other Latino dialects like Mexican or Puerto Rican. And the population of people speaking Latino is increasing.

So unless there's a flood of Spanish people and things flowing into Japan, including Spanish pop culture, I can't see how this language can increase in popularity. Even the Makarena wouldn't drive a Japanese to learn the language.

--- groink

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princess_jime
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Post by princess_jime » Feb 24th, '07, 21:45

funny, I always thought that since U.S. english is the main foreign language in Japan, and since the use of spanish is increasing in the U.S., that's where that trend came from, like "leftovers" from one language to the other. XD XD

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kuvli
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Post by kuvli » Apr 1st, '07, 16:55

i think english is most common.....not sure though....

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Post by bluemoo21 » Apr 3rd, '07, 15:16

from what i've seen, english is the most common language in Japan :D

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groink
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Post by groink » Apr 3rd, '07, 23:37

kuvli wrote:i think english is most common.....not sure though....
That's a given. Just about every Japanese student study English at one time or another. But although they can understand English, more likely they won't use it unless it is necessary (speaking to a tourist, at work, etc.) It is also interesting to note that many Jpop songs include English in their songs, so English is indeed mainstream in Japanese pop culture.

--- groink

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feedmeister
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Post by feedmeister » Apr 4th, '07, 05:35

This season Matsumoto Jun is going to try speaking Italian in Bambino! so I wonder if this time next year we'll be wondering about how popular Italian has become.

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Post by saigo_x » Apr 4th, '07, 06:49

groink wrote:So unless there's a flood of Spanish people and things flowing into Japan, including Spanish pop culture, I can't see how this language can increase in popularity. Even the Makarena wouldn't drive a Japanese to learn the language.--- groink
Not sure there is a flood, but there has been a recent surge in interest in doing business with Latin America recently among the major Asian countries. My cousin just came back from a business tour to Japan, South Korea, and China. Apparently their is alot of interest in establishing new business ties. My cousin said they met several VIP's while there including the Prime Minister of Japan I believe. I've also seen a lot of new scholarship and internships being offered in Mexico, for Japan in particular.

Pandemonium
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Post by Pandemonium » Apr 5th, '07, 00:47

Obviously Japanese.
However, European languages : by far English (compulsory subject in all high schools) followed by French and Portugese.
I believe they're picking up Korean as well, as it is, like Japanese, considered an Altaic language.

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foofeh
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Post by foofeh » Apr 5th, '07, 00:53

Just because something appears in entertainment, does that mean the entire country does it? I don't think so...English is definitely at the top, and then mandarin maybe?

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Post by Pandemonium » Apr 5th, '07, 01:08

foofeh wrote:Just because something appears in entertainment, does that mean the entire country does it? I don't think so...English is definitely at the top, and then mandarin maybe?
Actually... if something does appear in entertainment repetitively and is broadcasted nationally to a wide demographic, it does mean the entire country. Otherwise, it'd be assumed to be due to integration of that language into spoken Japanese.

fatmouse
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Post by fatmouse » Feb 10th, '09, 06:56

I have been in Japan twice before. For a foreigner, it is very hard to travel by yourself if you can't speak Japanese.

143art
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Post by 143art » Feb 10th, '09, 07:03

i've been to japan the past two years and spanish is pretty popular there. i was kind of shock..

English - most definate....while I was there, i remember hearing my host mother telling me that they might consider adding that as a second language that is required to learn? i don't know correct me if i am wrong

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Milkywaychen
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Post by Milkywaychen » Sep 2nd, '09, 01:24

English is by far the most popular foreign language in Japan. Under teenager it´s still cool and useful, but they also use it much more commonly and confidently now.
Which is great. :cheers:

But mostly only in Tokyo or bigger cities.

And then there pop up other languages here and there, which are currently "trendy", because they are especially exotic. A few years ago it was German, then followed by French and Spanish. But mostly only "fragments". It would not be enough for a good conversation.

Feisty_Warrior
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Post by Feisty_Warrior » Sep 15th, '09, 02:18

I agree with the people who say English. There are Jpop songs in English too.

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SSJSubgeta
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Post by SSJSubgeta » Oct 17th, '09, 01:01

I can vouch for English being the number one language not only in Japan but in other country's around the globe. I do know of a couple of Japanese co-workers/friends who are studying Spanish and Korean.

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leprasia
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Post by leprasia » Oct 23rd, '09, 05:49

Depends on what you mean by "popular". "Popular" in daily usage or the number of people studying it? English is definitely still the top choice for studying, beyond their compulsory education. At least in Tokyo University for Foreign Studies, English is the most popular, followed by Chinese, French and German. Korean and Spanish are becoming popular too. Similar trends in Tokyo University too. I'm not too sure about langauge centres beyond the English ones. But I have seen an increase in Japanese books teaching British English instead of the usual American English.

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