Regarding the Sept. 16 article “Few answers for language market“: Long after reading about and watching attempts by some Canadian provinces and U.S. states to get their populaces to become bilingual in French and Spanish, respectively, I wonder about the cost-effectiveness of the push to learn English in Japan. Everybody may not have the same ability to learn a new language.
About 20 years ago, in a book I was reading about computer programming, the department head of a Japanese company’s software development department complained that the big problem was not his employees’ ability with computer languages but rather their inability to speak, read and write Japanese well.
I asked a computer science teacher if we had a similar problem in the United States. He said yes, because you have to be able to understand what the customer wants to do, you have to document what you did, and you have to write documents that explain to the customer how to use the program. Also, if you can’t write out in normal language what you are going to do, you have more problems when you try to write the software code.