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English is the easiest language to learn EVER!

Kakulin

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I learned English accidentally. You can too!

You only need the following things to learn the English language:
-The NTSC/UC versions of some Final Fantasy games (PS1 or PS2)
-A few printed american magazines (Rolling Stone, Popular Mechanics, Blackbelt, PSM, etc.)
-American TV channels (MTV, Spike, Fox, Disney, USA, TNT, etc.)
-American Music (Hilary Duff, 3 Doors Down, Marilyn Manson, etc.)

That is it. That is absolutely all you need. No grammar books, no Pimsleur, and not even an english native speaker to talk to. I have never in my life (and I mean NEVER EVER) had a conversation in English. Of course, I have used the language to talk to a few american but they have always been very brief and not what one would call a proper conversation.

I learned english accidentally by playing videogames, watching TV, and reading magazines. My friends learned the language the same way I did. And my younger cousin is learning it that way too, accidentally.

I understand the english language completely (all accents, slang, and etc.), and I never have to use a dictionary. As a matter of fact i'm learning Japanese via english. Also I never bothered learning the english or the spanish grammar which means that so far I know a lot more Japanese grammar than even Spanish grammar (my native language), though you've got to admit that Japanese is an easy language too. Not as easy as english though, but easy none the less. Now Russian on the other hand... well, that's a challenge.
 

Glenn

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How old were you when you learned English via that method? You may just be a genius. :p
 

Kakulin

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Glenn said:
How old were you when you learned English via that method? You may just be a genius. :p

About 14 years old or so. By the way my sister learned english accidentally by watching TV only (no videogames or magazines). Oh and I didn't have internet either. I got internet access at home for the first time ever in December 2004. So i've been exploring the World Wide Web (which seem to be all english with only a few pages being the exception) for only a year and a half.
 

Glenn

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Is your sister older or younger than you? Were there subtittles?
 

Davey

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I also learned English this way, by watching tv, and reading stuff. But most of us already knew this kind of learning.
 

Glenn

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Maybe I'll start looking at a bunch of French and Spanish sites and finding French and Spanish shows on TV then. I'll be quadralingual in no time! :D

I doubt it would work so well for Chinese...
 

leonmarino

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I wouldn't dare say that English is the easiest language to learn EVER, but there is indeed enough material to learn English. The media and entertainment is predominantly English orientated, and I too have learned English through tv and music. And my mother rather watched BBC news than the Dutch news, so that also contributed to my English proficiency.

I find it amazing how bad the average Japanese person speaks English, and my dad (who lives in Japan now) told me a while ago that he saw a documentary, on the subject of the level of English of Japanese people, that stated that a important reason why most Japanese are so bad at English is their own perceived uniqueness; "we are Japanese people, and because we are so different from the Westeners we are unable to learn English".. I don't necessaryly agree with this statement but I think it is a part of their problem with regards to learning English.. I'm curious to what other people think of this matter.
 

Kakulin

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Glenn said:
Is your sister older or younger than you? Were there subtittles?

My sister is 2 years younger than me. We always activated the "english close captions for the hearing impaired" subtitles. Every show on every channel seemed to have that option. We no longer need them though.
 

Mycernius

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leonmarino said:
I wouldn't dare say that English is the easiest language to learn EVER, but there is indeed enough material to learn English. The media and entertainment is predominantly English orientated, and I too have learned English through tv and music. And my mother rather watched BBC news than the Dutch news, so that also contributed to my English proficiency.
I find it amazing how bad the average Japanese person speaks English, and my dad (who lives in Japan now) told me a while ago that he saw a documentary, on the subject of the level of English of Japanese people, that stated that a important reason why most Japanese are so bad at English is their own perceived uniqueness; "we are Japanese people, and because we are so different from the Westeners we are unable to learn English".. I don't necessaryly agree with this statement but I think it is a part of their problem with regards to learning English.. I'm curious to what other people think of this matter.
Might have something to do with the fact that Japanese is not related to English, while Spanish is. I can look at a Spanish sentance and usual pick up the general idea because of words that are similar in English. The same can be done with German, Dutch, Swedish, Italian etc. English sits on the edge of both Germanic and Romance languages so it shares common words with both groups. Plus the alphabet helps. Japanses, on the other hand, uses a different writing sytem, which already leaves them at a disadvantage to learn English or any European language. Then there are silent letters, letters that change pronunciation depending on which word they are in ie: the CH is Church and Character. The alphabet is probably the same reason that Kakulin is having problems with Russian, but he sounds like a natural linguist as well.
 

Mike Cash

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leonmarino said:
I find it amazing how bad the average Japanese person speaks English, and my dad (who lives in Japan now) told me a while ago that he saw a documentary, on the subject of the level of English of Japanese people, that stated that a important reason why most Japanese are so bad at English is their own perceived uniqueness; "we are Japanese people, and because we are so different from the Westeners we are unable to learn English".. I don't necessaryly agree with this statement but I think it is a part of their problem with regards to learning English.. I'm curious to what other people think of this matter.

The number one thing preventing Japanese people from learning English well is other Japanese people.
 

epigene

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Mike Cash said:
The number one thing preventing Japanese people from learning English well is other Japanese people.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes!!!!

(I could have used smilies but refrained from it for Mr. Cash!!)
 

Mikawa Ossan

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leonmarino said:
I find it amazing how bad the average Japanese person speaks English, and my dad (who lives in Japan now) told me a while ago that he saw a documentary, on the subject of the level of English of Japanese people, that stated that a important reason why most Japanese are so bad at English is their own perceived uniqueness; "we are Japanese people, and because we are so different from the Westeners we are unable to learn English".. I don't necessaryly agree with this statement but I think it is a part of their problem with regards to learning English.. I'm curious to what other people think of this matter.
At any rate many Japanese people have a mental block towards English. It's like they just turn off their brains when confronted with it.

I think it has something to do with the way people perceive language. It's hard to explain. My whole life, I've looked at language as little more than a skill, something that almost anyone can learn with some effort. So it was really no big deal learning a new language (if not a big pain in the arse).

Japanese people, on the other hand, seem to view language less as a skill to be learned but more as an innate ability, like handedness.

That, to me, seems to be the main reason why Japanese people tend to not be so great at English, based purely on my own personal observation.
 

Glenn

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Mike Cash said:
The number one thing preventing Japanese people from learning English well is other Japanese people.

epigene said:
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes!!!!

I had heard that boys who go abroad to an English speaking country and come back with English language ability are often ridiculed at school by their peers, and when they answer questions with correct English the teachers "correct" them, but with girls they don't get the scorn of their classmates. Other than that is there anything else?
 

Kakulin

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All the japanese need is american TV channels and magazines. The american MTV is important to learn all the slang (shows like "Yo Mama" and others will give you a solid foundation in slang). Or are the Japanese so closed minded that they only watch Japanese TV?
 

Glenn

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I don't watch MTV, and I think no one else should too.
 

epigene

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Glenn said:
I had heard that boys who go abroad to an English speaking country and come back with English language ability are often ridiculed at school by their peers, and when they answer questions with correct English the teachers "correct" them, but with girls they don't get the scorn of their classmates. Other than that is there anything else?
It happens to both girls and boys. When my two kids went to junior high schools, they never showed their English skills to their classmates. Since the teachers "corrected" their English, many thought my kids' English was actually poor. Their ability was recognized only when they reached high school.

Personally, I told them to literally "turn off their ears" during English class. I didn't care what grades they got for English. (They were never at the top of the grade in English during junior high school, although they were rated at the top level in all of Tokyo according to nationwide achievement tests.)

I think it is the same for many "kikoku-shijo (returnee Japanese)". Otherwise, they go to schools where returnees make up a large part of the student body.
 

leonmarino

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epigene said:
It happens to both girls and boys. When my two kids went to junior high schools, they never showed their English skills to their classmates. Since the teachers "corrected" their English, many thought my kids' English was actually poor. Their ability was recognized only when they reached high school.
That's downright sad. I heard a similar story on a Japanese girl who was fluent in French but got "corrected" by her teacher in Japan all the time.
 

Mikawa Ossan

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I see that a lot, too.

The best thing to do is to make an environment in the schools where English proficiency is considered to be a good thing. It's easier said than done, but it IS possible.
 

Glenn

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For one, you need teachers who actually know the language being taught.
 

Mikawa Ossan

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I think that more than that, it's important that the teachers have confidence in USING English. Of course, I don't mean an unfounded confidence. At the minimum they should not shy away from using English in front of students with the native English speaker that comes to almost every school in Japan on usually a semi-regular basis.
 

Glenn

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You mean like the ALTs in the JET Program? I wasn't aware that it was so widespread that it was all over the country. I was aware, however, that the way English is taught in Japan is mostly through written material, and that conversational skills aren't stressed at all. That is a bit strange that they wouldn't capitalize on the opportunity that they have with a native English speaker in the room.
 

The7thSamurai

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What kind of things are these fluent students corrected on? Would I be right in assuming that the teacher would probably be teaching a certain point of English grammar and wanting the students to using only that structure at that point in time, so an "far out" grammar that the fluent students throw in gets corrected?
 

Mikawa Ossan

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I'm guessing it's a matter of the children delibrately using incorrect English, and the teachers correcting said English. Of course in such a case, the student knows perfectly well that s/he "made a mistake", but they do so in order to fit in.

(We ARE talking about students who had lived abroad and have excellent English ability, aren't we? Just checking.)
 

epigene

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Bucko said:
What kind of things are these fluent students corrected on? Would I be right in assuming that the teacher would probably be teaching a certain point of English grammar and wanting the students to using only that structure at that point in time, so an "far out" grammar that the fluent students throw in gets corrected?
Yes, and alternative usages of fixed phrases and expressions. I can't think of good examples. (It's been long since my kids left junior high and high schools....😌 )

I'm sure Mikawa-san and Mars Man can tell, since they're pros.

Mikawa Ossan said:
(We ARE talking about students who had lived abroad and have excellent English ability, aren't we? Just checking.)
Yes, I think so. :)
 

leonmarino

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Bucko said:
What kind of things are these fluent students corrected on? Would I be right in assuming that the teacher would probably be teaching a certain point of English grammar and wanting the students to using only that structure at that point in time, so an "far out" grammar that the fluent students throw in gets corrected?
Well, the story I heard about this girl raised in France is that she got corrected on her pronunciation! :eek:
To give an example in French "c'est.." means "that is.." and the last letters are not pronounced (something like: "se.."). The girl got critisized and had to pronounce it like it is written: "sest", which is completely wrong.. Even though I think, or hope at least, that incompetent teachers like this one are rare, I find it "disturbing" at teachers with no sufficient knowledge of a foreign language are allowed to teach it.
 
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