on language and national stereotypes

Like culture (and according to Matthew 15 various other output), language is often an interesting reflection on the people who speak it. Some observations:

The Japanese have a reputation for being introverted and closed, at least to non-Japanese. Having learned Japanese I think this characteristic is reflected in the frankly un-intuitive way the language is structured and taught, a labyrinth of rules, archaisms and barriers – no matter how beautiful it sounds. The Japanese practically invented a separate character system to differentiate between outside and inside. Japanese history is similarly written in a very user-unfriendly way. As an aside, Japanese gameshows and humour are often quite sadistic.

German language (and humour) comes across as structured, strict, taciturn and grounded with clear rules. It is not the most aesthetic of languages. It’s somewhat closed at first but very endearing in the long run. German humour is in fact seen as non-existent in general.

The English language is pragmatic, inclusive and has a certain air of anything-goes; rules are not so much an issue. English humour is esoteric and generally hard to get. The English, I’ve found, are generally inclusive (though not always, and certainly not in the past centuries), and display a certain care-free approach to rules and to life in general. They are intelligent in general but sometimes hard to get and like.

Farsi and French are old, elaborate languages, beautiful but possessed of a massive superiority complex.

Cantonese language seems crude and unrefined, but is also hearty and surprisingly poetic, playful and deep. Deeply nuanced meanings can be expressed relatively easily with but a few words. Puns are very common. Humour is sadistic in general.

Korean likewise may sound unrefined, but is deeply endearing in the long run.

American English is forceful and bold in its delivery, simple in its rules. American humour ranges from generically crude and pointed to witty; American absurdist humour is some of the best in the world.

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