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Language & Careers

Jul 21, 2019Accents, Articles, Australian, Canadian, Education, Life&Food

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How many languages can you speak?


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José Cruz: But what about like um, your high school subjects? (High school) History and Geography?

Rhys Tramacchi: Again I found high school was pretty easy. (Ah) I did like, classes like Physics and uh Chemistry, Maths A, advanced Maths and second level advanced Maths.

José: Oh you Australians say “Maths”?

Rhys: Yes, with an “S”.

José: Really? (Yeah) OK because Brits do that but North Americans don’t. (Heh) Canadians even tho’ were in the Commonwealth we say “Math” like Americans- (Yeah influenced) Like Muricans(Murica) Muricans, Um sorry, I interrupted you yet again. (Yeah) Uh so you found Maths and History easy.

Rhys: Yeah so they were all fairly easy. Second Level Maths. I- I did, advanced ling- uh not Linguistics, English. I did Advanced English in that time too, and literature. So- I did all difficult classes because the more difficult our classes are the more points we receive and the more points we receive, the better university we can go to.

José: Sure oh well, you know that (makes sense) makes sense.

Rhys: Yeah (Sure) and I wanted to go to a good university, so…

José: I- I’m pretty sure you’d be wasted in accounting, so you might want to change your mind on that ha ha, uh…

Rhys: That’s that’s kind of what I thought after I came, but- well I didn’t think I’d be wasted. I va- not even like- It’s just not really for me.

José: No I mean you’re going to get a good job and probably a fine income. But uh- I- I- Now that I’ve talked to you, I cannot see you as an accountant. You’d- it’d be a waste of all your langu- Unless you became an international accountant with international clients all over Southeast Asia.

Rhys: Well at the time when I was studying accounting, I couldn’t speak other languages and so. People often said, “Oh yeah, you’d be a good accountant. Like you sound like, you’re an accountant.” Like…

José: Well what does that mean!

Rhys: What does that mean?

José: Ha ha. (Yeah) That’s almost an insult. Um yeah but maybe- I don’t know. Having languages is an awesome weapon (Mm) I mean it it complements everything. Uh it- If you’re going to teach languages um of course you should be a polyglot, much less bilingual. Uh it’s almost shameful sometimes how much- I think about, um even at this university the number of instructors here especially the engl- sorry,— the English instructors here who really only speak English.

Rhys: Really? (And) But how do they survive? (Because it’s English) But they’re in Kitakyushu, there’s no English speakers. How do they go to like, the town hall? How do they (Well) order taxis or whatever?

José: Well it’s easy enough to say, “Taxi!” Heh heh. (Ah right) Right? So you can get away with that especially if you’re white, and you’re tall, uh and you’re blond (Ha ha) Uh you can get away with um basically speaking at people in English. But it just seems to me that um- How can you have understand- have any empathy for your students, if you don’t know what they go through with languages. I mean, a- at least learn another another European language. At least learn Spanish or at least learn German, so that you know what language learning is like. But there’s an awful lot of people even now, who basically speak only English and because it’s English they make all their money with that.

Rhys: Really. Yeah I think it’s important to understand like, what your students are going through. If you can’t empathize with them, like you’re not really going to be a good role model or exemplar or a teacher.

José: And and, there’s an- there’s an argument to be said that, “Well you know, If I only speak English, then that forces the student to ask their questions in English. (Yeah) Good enough, but there are some questions that really are more efficiently asked in the target language. And can you imagine an Australian university seeking an Arabic teacher, and hiring somebody who doesn’t speak English?

Rhys: No I don’t… (Absolutely impossible) Yeah. That’s a crazy thought.


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José Domingo Cruz image

José Domingo Cruz


Vancouver, British Columbia

Rhys Tramacchi Image

Rhys Tramacchi


Brisbane, Queensland State


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  1. When I heard this conversation, the word “Having languages is a weapon” was very impressive. This is a word that impressed me in a good way, but a word impressed me in bad way. It is the word that “they are in kitakyushu, there is no English speakers.” I was very embarrassed to hear this word. I really realized how low the English skills of people in kitakyushu. At the same time, I felt that I was one of them. I think there was no intention or opportunity to speak English before the problem of English ability. I realize that if I have anormal daily life, I will not have the opportunity to speak English. Regarding the word “Having languages is a weapon” that I mentioned at the beginning, when I think this way, I really feel the need to speak languages other than my mother tongue, mainly English. I think it’s very dangerous for the Japanese people to be able to speak English in a time when it’s becoming more common to be able to speak English. That’s why I think it’s important to continue to proactively acquire language skills without forgetting the word “Having languages is a weapon” I also want to study languages with aspiration.

  2. There are many different languages spoken in different parts of the world, but Japanese is the only language that I can speak. I’ve been learning English since I was a child, but it’s still not easy for me to speak in everyday conversation. I’ve heard that having a language in your speech is a weapon, and I feel that this is true. There are very few people around me who can speak a foreign language, and I feel amazing even if I can speak even a little bit of it. Even though we are globalized to begin with, it’s hard to get a sense of that in the countryside, and people don’t put a lot of emphasis on speaking a foreign language. If the only opportunity to learn a foreign language is in the educational curriculum, it seems to me that it will remain as mere knowledge without improving. If you value being able to speak a foreign language in your career, I think you need to increase the opportunities to learn a foreign language. If we have opportunities to use foreign languages in our daily lives, more people would be able to speak more foreign languages than they do now.

  3. Today, globalization is progressing, and it is good to speak many languages not only English since we will have more opportunity to talk to foreigners. I study German in college class, and I think that I only have the opportunity to study it, so I study it hard. The German noun is similar to the English noun, but the German verb and numbers are not similar to the English verb and numbers. For example, in Germany, brother is called “bruder” in German, one is called “eins” in German, and live is called “wohnen” in German. So, I think we cannot get through to the foreigners unless we study each language. But, in my daily time, I have never met the situation where I must speak other than English and Japanese, and I think that only English is enough to speak foreign languages. However, I listen to this conversation and realize that it is wonderful to empathize with foreigners, and I found the importance of learning multiple languages. It is never too far for foreign workers to live near my neighborhood normally, so I think that as many people as possible should speak more various languages before the reality changes drastically.


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