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English is the easiest language to learn EVER!

Sami-chan

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osistlk said:
http://www.kindofcrap.com
This is a funny webblog about a JET teacher and his experiences with Japanese students and all other things Japan, the site is a bit old though.
Haha, i've read this and its hilarious! The fictional stories he told about JET teacher life is rather amusing. :giggle:
 

Fehrant

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Kakulin, I'm not sure mastering English can be slimmed down to just watching TV and playing videogames. I'll admit that being a gamer myself, I do know how they can play an important role in learning vocabulary. Watching TV also helps, I do not deny that. Furthermore, browsing the Internet on a regular basis and taking part in online conversations on a regular basis (forums, IM, and so on) also helps. It's very easy to be exposed to English, especially from a technological standpoint.

However, while the forementioned learning methods are genuinely useful, they will only lead you to achieve a standard level of written English. There's two issues with this:

1) You are leaving out spoken English -- the hardest part of the English language;
2) To go beyond a standard level, you will need at one point or another to read books in English, use an English dictionary --something further pertaining to the area of the written aspect of English that will solidify your lexicon (then again, it really depends on what you aim to achieve).

There's also another problem. Many people claim to know English. I see it often in my Spanish-speaking country. Our middle school and high schools teach English as a secondary language, and people learn it through several years. These people, upon finishing high school, think they know English. I have lived in the states for a short while (2 years and a half), and I have worked on a job that required me to speak to americans, and I can tell you, these people don't know English. And while your posts seem to be intelligible, I am rather skeptical when a non-native easily proclaims his seemingly good level of overall English.

The more I learnt English, the more I realized I didn't know, and the more I realized how much those around me didn't know.
 

Damicci

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Glenn said:
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.

Many of my friends from Japan have told me the same thing. English is a "required" class in the Japanese school system but there is no focus on conversational english. Just on reading and writing. Thats why many students who studied english for years in school still are unable to have a standard conversation. Maybe still many Japanese feel english is not required since Japan is not infested largely by English using businesses. Mostly Tourism and foreign business employees would have the true use for English. I don't know Glenn, I still don't understand it either.
 

Reiku

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The thing is, most native english speakers can't speak it very well--at least not in my country.

You can pick up virtually any language through continued exposure, such as through television or books, but that doesn't make it an "easy" language. The fact is, English is anything but easy--it's rediculously overcomplicted, highly inconsistant, and just an all around a clumsy means of communiction.

Some people (particularly fellow native english speakers) may tend to disagree, and we do seem to get through daily conversation relatively easily--but when you think about it, conversations in english are riddled with misunderstandings and situations where you "just can't find the words". Some might argue that it's due to the individual speakers, but I can garuntee you at least some of it is due to inheirant flaws in the english language.

"The easiest language to learn?"

Maybe, though I have my doubts...

"The easiest language to master?"

...not a chance--I'm not convinced anyone's mastered it. :rolleyes:
 

osistlk

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Kakulin, you are such a cheater. Tu eres Puertorriqueno. No wonder english was a breeze for you to learn.
 

Fehrant

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osistlk said:
Kakulin, you are such a cheater. Tu eres Puertorriqueno. No wonder english was a breeze for you to learn.

Of course there was either some sort of catch or he was lying -- after all, making a topic which sole purpose consist of boasting about how easy you had it when learning English is a matter to be skeptical about: this is the Internet, after all. Learning no language is easy. There are easier languages, true, however, mastering a language comes by no means without any effort whatsoever as he nonchalantly tried to demonstrate.

osistlk said:
Tu eres Puertorriqueno

Rude. Speaking a language which most people don't understand on the board is kinda rude in my opinion.

"Tu eres Puertorriqueño" = "you are puertorican" (spanish, of course)
 

osistlk

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I apologize, the spanish was meant for Kakulin. Puerto Rico is part of the USA so its real easy to learn english (if you don't know it already) there. Its taught in school and a good portion of the island speaks it. I would know, I am half puertorican.
 

Kakulin

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English is taught at school but everyone cheats their way through class. Many people in P.R. graduate from High School without knowing any english at all (except maybe how to say "yes", "no", "sex", "p*ssy", "d*ck", "sh*t", and "f*ck"... lol), my neighbor is a great example lol. I admit that my spoken english is not great (I have a latino accent), but I can understand the language fully (which is what matters most). And as I mentioned in my first post you must play the Final Fantasy type of videogames, not Tetris or other such videogames. Understanding the story of a "Final Fantasy" game is about as hard as understanding a "Lord of the Rings" book (or any other novel for that matter).

By the way in PR all street signs are in spanish, local TV is all spanish, all radio stations are in spanish, all stores do their bussiness in spanish (many store employees speak english but they only speak it to the tourists that come to the stores), etcetera.
 

osistlk

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Where do you live, San Juan? That is where my cousins live...
 

Kakulin

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Cabo Rojo (the town in the southwest corner of the island).
 

osistlk

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When I went there I had trouble sleeping at first becuase all the basses in passing cars. Do cops still leave their lights on during the day?
 

Kakulin

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Nope, I don't remember seeing any cops with their headlights on during daytime, which explains why all the tickets I have gotten where during day time (harder to spot the cops). Oh and yes... every day more and more people listen to Reguetón in their cars with the bass turned all the way up (very annoying).
 

osistlk

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Reguetón is getting really popular in the States among both hispanics and whites, especially Daddy Yankee. I don't think its that annoying but no one plays it on max bass here.
 

Elizabeth

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Mikawa Ossan said:
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.
That really does become paradoxical in a sense, then, assuming there is no ulterior motive to draw on. The few times I have taken Japanese classes in Japan the teachers have all been very alert to signs of my laziness or excuses that I've never done the things all the other Chinese and Korean students had, the most annoying proof in pages and pages of supplmental, 'extra credit' kanji worksheets. :eek: The manta that anyone can improve through diligence and constant effort was emphasized to me over and over. I've even heard it overextended inappropriately, to 'motivate' kids with honest learning disorders overcome their disability through hard work, although I'm sure this is likely to backfire ultimately.

Perhaps they really do see themselves as a race apart meaning the knowlege, ability, work habits etc that are important for learning Japanese don't necessarily apply to lesser languages like English. Or there simply isn't a compelling reason to go through the effort in a country with so little need for it on a daily basis past the meaninglessness of forcing it down through the entrance exam system. 😊
 

Elizabeth

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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.
Without any firsthand experience this may be quite biased but the former Japanese English teachers I've known here in America and that I've seen on television in Japan hold varying degrees of fluency but they have all had a sufficient knowledge of the language to at least get the point across at a basic and intermediate level. And none has ever corrected me to my face or had a problem admitting 'I'm not really teaching English' (not sure that's quite the impression he correctly meant it to convey)...☝
 

Fehrant

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Kakulin said:
English is taught at school but everyone cheats their way through class. Many people in P.R. graduate from High School without knowing any english at all (except maybe how to say "yes", "no", "sex", "p*ssy", "d*ck", "sh*t", and "f*ck"... lol), my neighbor is a great example lol.

And if any of these people claimed to know English, how would you feel? It's exactly my point.

I admit that my spoken english is not great (I have a latino accent), but I can understand the language fully (which is what matters most).

That's typical. Anyone taking up a foreign language is able to understand more than what she/he can speak/write. Being able to have a conversation, or speak requires greater effort than passively understanding.

"what matters the most" --- again, this depends on what you aim for. If your objective is to be acquainted with English for the sole purpose of entertainment, then speaking English properly might not be as necessary. However, if you are on an English-speaking environment, if you understand what is being said, but cannot construct a proper sentence, you will not get too far.

And as I mentioned in my first post you must play the Final Fantasy type of videogames, not Tetris or other such videogames. Understanding the story of a "Final Fantasy" game is about as hard as understanding a "Lord of the Rings" book (or any other novel for that matter).

I mentioned I am a gamer myself, and yes, I played RPGs as well as action games, so I know what Final Fantasy is. However, it looks to me like you haven't actually read Lord of the Rings to make a statement like that. By no means understanding an RPG is as hard as reading Tolkien, especially with his signature style of describing every single detail of, well... everything. Besides, I'd think that content-wise a book is more extensive than a game (a game has visuals also) so how can a game be harder to understand than a book?

To address your last point that I did not quote (the one about the signs in Spanish and whatnot), I really don't know much about Puertorican lifestyle, so I'd rather not go into a terrain I have little knowledge of.
 

tanhql

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i always have a belief that a language teacher should be a native at the language he/she is teaching, and the language medium used is his/her foreign language. what do i mean? japanese people learn english, and teach japanese to non-japanese but english speaking people. that's what my japanese teacher does. she is a native japanese, learnt english as a foreign language, migrated to my country, and teaches japanese to english-speaking students. if a japanese school wants to hire a teacher to teach english, they should hire a native-'englishman' who learnt japanese as foreign language to teach english. that way, there won't be any 'wrongly corrected mistakes'.
 

godppgo

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tanhql said:
i always have a belief that a language teacher should be a native at the language he/she is teaching, and the language medium used is his/her foreign language. what do i mean? japanese people learn english, and teach japanese to non-japanese but english speaking people. that's what my japanese teacher does. she is a native japanese, learnt english as a foreign language, migrated to my country, and teaches japanese to english-speaking students. if a japanese school wants to hire a teacher to teach english, they should hire a native-'englishman' who learnt japanese as foreign language to teach english. that way, there won't be any 'wrongly corrected mistakes'.

One obvious problem is how are you going to find enough qualified native English speaker to teach Japanese students from elementary to high school? The number of teachers needed will be enormous.

I don't think there's anything inefficient with Japanese teaching Japanese English especially when it comes to teaching grammar. However, I do think a native English speakers will be necessary to teach Japanese conversational English.
 

osias

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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.
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.
Actually most kikokushijos are not that great in English, but the teachers are not any better than these returnee kids. I suppose the teachers don't want to be looked down on. Or they are just jealous, so some teachers underestimate the students' english skills to show who the authority is. In Japan, very few teachers who teach english in JH/SH speak fluent english. At least, the returnee kids speak a lot better than their teachers.
 

Elizabeth

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In Japan, very few teachers who teach english in JH/SH speak fluent english.
Some even give spelling lessons in misspelt words which really gives me the shakes...
 

osias

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I found a relevant topic on Yahoo! Chiebukuro.
http://chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/service/question_detail.php?queId=8390502
Japanese students with good skills in English can displease the teachers and classmates. Japan is basically a monolingual country, so English skills are considered very special in a classroom setting, biilinguals are often frowned upon for being "pedantic", or "showing off" their skills.
 
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Elizabeth

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osias said:
I found a relevant topic on Yahoo! Chiebukuro.
http://chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/service/question_detail.php?queId=8390502
Japanese students with good skills in English can displease the teachers and classmates. Japan is basically a monolingual country, so English skills are considered very special, biilinguals are often frowned upon for being "pedantic", or "showing off" their skills.
I agree from the perspective of foreign interactions speaking English inappropriately (especially when being addressed in Japanese) or obviously
trying to be ingratiating through a lot of slang and casual usage it is 'showing off' and very annoying.

Although I can't say for certain I would have that reaction to Chinese or Europeans or anyone else where the overall level of fluency was much higher....☝ 😊
 
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