The Way of the Linguist

A linguist is one who studies foreign languages. A linguist is by no means required to be a professor, though he might; by the same token, he might not. A linguist is one who takes it upon himself to learn languages other than his own so that, one day, they are no longer foreign, but become part of the self.

This blog is dedicated to those who are studying two languages in particular: Japanese (日本語、nihongo) and English (英語、eigo).

As studying Japanese has given me new insights on my own native English, I believe studying any foreign language can give a person greater insights into language itself (言語そのもの).

I invite all readers to join me on this journey.

J Sensei

About J Sensei

Blogger, writer, linguist, former Japanese> English translator, rusty in French, experienced in Japanese, fluent English native. Writing for and various blogs. Skype: jeremiah.bourque (messages always welcome). E-mail: [email protected]
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2 Responses to The Way of the Linguist

  1. Naomi says:



    No matter how you define, if you say 言語学者 in Japanese,
    it means you’re into academic language research more or less.
    You don’t have to be a professor, but just studying a language doesn’t always lead you to be 言語学者. It’s just a Student, not a linguist.

    Your blog unexpectedly reveals your low Japanese skills.
    Do something about it ASAP, if you want to use the word “insight” on language study. Don’t make your readers laugh.

    It seems so easy to be a language tutor in your country…
    Should I move to your country? I already have a working visa.

  2. I’m sorry for the approval issue. This is a brand new blog and I had not finished setting it up in every way.

    Put simply, I’m a former translator and have insufficient experience writing in Japanese. I thank you for your replies, for they shine a bright light on my failings, and I want to use Japanese much better.

    Now, as for the issue of the word linguist, I have read it defined as “one who studies languages.” This is a definition invented by an English native speaker for an English native audience. I can understand how it doesn’t fit precisely with 言語学者, but I had not had the chance to ask a native speaker about the issue in detail. At any rate, perhaps the person who I saw define “linguist” in that way would agree with the definition you believe is a rather wild one. if you wish to give him a piece of your mind.

    I am very sorry you are under the impression I have claimed to be a master of using Japanese as a foreign language, apparently because of the blog title. I am searching for a better way to express this. Also, I am tutoring in early to intermediate Japanese, not advanced Japanese – and why would I? I was a translator into my native English language. I truly apologize for inadvertently raising myself on a pedestal by not using language that is sufficiently informal for the task.

    As for becoming a language tutor, please, go right ahead. There are simply not enough good language educators in the world. I am working hard to become a better one, but obviously I have a long way to go before I become truly fluent in Japanese. What pains me is that it appeared I was claiming to be a master.