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Thursday July 14, 2011 12:00AM
When I was brushing up on my Japanese a few years ago (as part of a mission to help the government decrypt encoded transmissions between Japan and North Korea), I was continually struck by one glorious fact: Aside from a handful of irregular verbs, Japanese grammar is mostly consistent, and all of the phonetic letters actually sound like they’re supposed to.

It’s not like French or even English, where there are lots of annoying exceptions to every rule. Not to badmouth any language out there. I love language—the human ability to communicate complex concepts through a series of letters, words, and sounds—and I love playing with the subtle relationships between words and meanings.

I just feel bad for nonnative English speakers who get caught in the labyrinth of grammar and pronunciation rules that aren’t even internally consistent. Maybe we should all switch to Japanese?

This is today,
M
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