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“The Church of Please Thank You”, Julie Traves

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    In the article states that English is spreading rapidly and taking over not only the traditional languages but also the unique cultures. Though I concede that English is the key to be the “perfect businessmen and women”, I still insist that learning English does not mean getting effects on culture. First of all, English is an essential tool to be successful in the world today. Currently, English is expanding dramatically due to globalization. According to Traves, about 880 million people speak English whether as a first or a foreign language, and it is still growing. Some people may question “Why everyone is pushing English so hard? Do we really have to study it?” That is probably true, but the world language is already taken over by English.

    “In the competitive marketplace of Japan, English test scores make or break job applications.” . On a personal note, I am also the one who is affected by the spreading of English. I decided to move to the United State to study genuine English. The reason why I made the choice is my father ‘s advice. He said speaking English will give me more choices in the coming future. English is the opening door for everyone, especially for the non-English speaker to be international-minded. On the other hand, I personally think that learning English does not mean learning Western culture. Take the Japanese education system as an example. We have English as one of the compulsory subjects from elementary school.

    We study almost every day with a teacher who is a native English speaker. If the statement “EFL teachers are also hired to share Western customs and values.” is true, I should be familiar with Western customs and values. It is a real shame to say, but I do not know much about them. I know some customs as knowledge from the textbook, but just knowing the facts is useless. For instance, there is no custom of tipping in Japan. I learned about the practice after I actually went through the real situation. Seeing is believing. Until experiencing things, you won’t know. Certainly, learning English might trigger one’s interest to know the Western culture, but learning languages does not result directly in learning cultures itself.

    Last, even if people become fluent in English, their characteristics are unlikely to be affected. For example, when Japanese students are asked to express themselves in English, they struggle, because “one of the sayings in Japan is that the nail that sticks up will get pounded down.”  and they are not used to stand out. As you can see form this example, language does not affect the way people behave. The culture influences the way we speak. (To some of several aspects of Traves’s claims, it is obvious that English is powerful and effective. Also at the end, Traves advocates that people should serve English as a bridge to learn other countries cultures but not to let the culture to be unified or assimilate people to be westernized.)

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    “The Church of Please Thank You”, Julie Traves. (2022, Apr 22). Retrieved from

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