More on bilingualism and cricket


Background English

Referring to Kanagawa Rod’s contribution on bilingualism (Lifelines: May 18), John Edward Philips recommends “an even better source of background English, if you can afford it.”

Yuusen 440 cable radio, he says, provides access to VoA, BBC, NPR,various overseas local radio stations and even TOEIC listening stations.

Bilingualism II

(Contd. from Lifelines: May 18) Rod also believes it important for parents to be very conscientious about speaking to the child in only one language or the other in any one situation.

“I often see high school kids from ‘international schools’ interrelating with each other in the trains or social situations. The striking characteristic of their intra-group language is that they facilely slide back and forth between languages, inserting a perfectly relevant Japanese word or phrase into their English sentence or conversely English words or expressions into Japanese sentences — or mixing the languages half-and-half.”

Rod thinks this may be as close as one can come to perfect communication — supplementing the deficiencies of one language with the strengths of the other. However it’s unsuitable when talking to mono-linguists.

“This is what many Japanese believe is true bilingualism; but however ‘cool’ this may sound to some, it is definitely not bilingualism. A person who is truly bilingual can carry on any sort of discourse equally competently in either language without resorting to the other language as a crutch.

“One of the simplest ways to foster this true bilingualism in a dual-culture family is for each of the parents to speak to the child exclusively in that parent’s native language.

“However, the practice of ‘native-language-only’ when speaking to the child is not easy to establish or maintain because there are formidable obstacles. Until the ‘mono-lingual’ habit can be established, it’s easy to slip into patterns already established between the couple.

“Once the new pattern is established, though, it becomes easier and easier to persist, and the child’s language will benefit tremendously from being given equal exposure to both languages in their ‘pure form.’ ”

Anyone for cricket?

Newly arrived Jake read about TV Masala on the People page in The Japan Times on May 15. He was interested to know that cricket has a presence in Japan, and wonders where he can play. “I’m living and working in central Tokyo.”

The Tokyo Bay Club has a keen international membership of around 40 players competing in two leagues.

Members practice at Edogawa, Tamagawa and Komazawa. They also go to a batting centre on Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m. at Todoroki.

Games are 40-over, one-days held on Sundays at the grounds at Edogawa, Fuji, Yokohama, Gunma, Saitama, Ibaraki and even as far as Shizuoka.

Check the club’s Web site at www.sybari.co.jp/tokyobay/, call (090)2406-9751, or e-mail david@davies.net