Friday, March 02, 2007

Talk Like You Got a Pair

There is a certain rule in language learning that is forever being ignored by the masses. When you are trying to improve your speaking, focus on the people who are the same sex as you. While I'm sure the degree of relevance will differ according to language, in the case of Korean and Japanese, it is the difference between sounding like a man and sounding like a woman in a man's body. It seriously weirds me out seeing a guy refer to himself as あたし like he and the girls went out trying on dresses and getting their nails done. The problem is most guys find some girl to tag along with and start parroting what she is saying. While I very much enjoy the company of the female persuasion, for the sake of language learning, I make sure I have enough guy friends who I can hang out and drink with. With this exposure, I learn to sound more natural. Not just more natural Japanese/Korean. I mean sounding like a man who speaks Japanese/Korean. Frankly speaking, if you are learning your Japanese/Korean from a woman, it is really easy to see and people will not take you seriously. To better illustrate, is there anyone in the western world not on a diet who takes Richard Simmons seriously? Besides, you'll probably get more play sounding like a man. It could be the difference between a great night and being a really nice friend.

The same thing goes for women. Learn your language from other women. Although, to be honest, there is something inherently cute about a girl who talks tough like a man unless the girl sports a butch haircut, has facial hair, and wears fatigues with army boots, in which case, it is kind of intimidating. No offense to any women out there sporting buth haircuts, has facial hair, and wears fatigues with army boots.

Is it sexist? Maybe. Do I care? Not really. Some languages, by nature, have some degree of segregation according to sex and this difference can't be ignored if you want to get good.

In the case of Cantonese, I'm not sure, but to me, it seems that both males and females equally excel at the art of swearing and can make a sailor blush.

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