Katakana-go a study handicap

Regarding Mark Schreiber’s Aug. 25 article, “When does one’s native language stop being native?”: Being bicultural myself, I grew up speaking and still do speak a mix of Japanese and English when among my bicultural friends.

Some things are just easier said in one language than in the other. Some things just don’t translate into the other language. But like I said, that’s only when I’m with other bilingual friends.

What I really don’t like is when people, especially politicians and businesspeople that are supposedly high up on the totem pole, use katakana-go. My definition of “katakana-go” is a word or group of words that makes no sense in English or that is used in the wrong context. They are katakana words that are used strictly by Japanese people for Japanese people to understand.

I guess it’s supposed to be attractive and cool — sort of like a Westerner wearing a kanji T-shirt without having any idea of what it says. As long as there is katakana-go in Japan, many people will suffer when it comes to studying English.

FRANK THORNTON
from the japan times online

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.