Paul Baptist (kaji_sensei) wrote in linguaphiles,
Paul Baptist
kaji_sensei
linguaphiles

  • Mood:

Passability

One of the first things you learn about Asian culture (that you consistently get reminded about if you happen to not accept it) is that if you're not born in X country you'll never be from there, no matter how much you may master its language, customs, etc. However, some people seem to work around this. I've seen Japanese be in utter shock that a someone they thought was Japanese turned out to be a Chinese or Korean person who'd near-mastered day to day Japanese.

Similarly, I tend to get people thinking I'm a native Spanish speaker when I stick to stock phrases, or sometimes I even get strangers who just start speaking to me in Spanish because they assume by the way I look that I know it.

Guess this question sort of has 2 parts.

1) How easy is it to develop enough of a linguistic façade to fool native speakers of a language you meet on a passing basis?
2) Do you employ any methods for telling people who are native speakers from those who just learned the language really well?

Any language is fair game, just curious is all.
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