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Jiggit
July 9th, 2015, 10:06
Just to help me with an English club idea I have, I'm trying to get a list together of what "foreign peopo" would want to fix about Japanese English. This can be stuff your kids get wrong or things you teachers oversimplify or whatever. Basically whatever irritates you the most or whatever you'd want to get them to understand if you could. I just want to get a kind of tally going. Cheers!

Ananasboat
July 9th, 2015, 10:13
"I like cat! I like dog!"

That means you like eating little baby puppies and kittens. God, stop.

Jiggit
July 9th, 2015, 10:39
Teaching volitional form (OOOしましょう) as "Let's ___".
"What do you like sports?"
"There is Kinkakuji in Kyoto" rather than "Kinkakuji is in Kyoto"
"___ makes me fine". Or any variation thereof.
Everything about pluralization.

word
July 9th, 2015, 10:40
"I like cat! I like dog!"

That means you like eating little baby puppies and kittens. God, stop.

I see that one a lot and try to explain it; I dunno how important it is.

Let's see...

Starting sentences with conjunctions, particularly when the fragment should be a part of the preceding sentence. "I like dogs. Because they are cute." "I like English. And science." I realize that's how English is taught in JHS, but I hate it.

Over-use of passive sentences, especially when it renders the sentence virtually incomprehensible.

uthinkimlost?
July 9th, 2015, 10:44
Has anyone ever asked their students what words actually make "Let's"? It is amazing how many have no idea it contains the subject of the sentence, which explains the grammar errors I often see.

Jiggit
July 9th, 2015, 10:48
Over-use of passive sentences, especially when it renders the sentence virtually incomprehensible.

Oh yeah, I forgot about that, I'd probably put that in there as well. I feel like no one ever sits them down and says "this is how English sentences work". I wish sentences wouldn't translate everything so literally. I feel like if they saw "サッカーが好き" as "I like soccer" they'd get it, but the textbook insists on having "私はサッカーが好き". I'm convinced that's partly why kids think they can just drop the subject in English as they would in Japanese, and that we're just making them write it out more lengthily as an academic exercise.

I actually did have a HS kid once ask me "Do we have to write this composition with grammar?" once, that was kind of a lightbulb moment.


Has anyone ever asked their students what words actually make "Let's"? It is amazing how many have no idea it contains the subject of the sentence, which explains the grammar errors I often see.

Oh yeah, that's exactly my point. Even the smartest have no idea.

BifCarbet
July 9th, 2015, 10:49
-ing/-ed is a pretty easy one for a simple lesson. interesting/interested, tiring/tired, etc

Ananasboat
July 9th, 2015, 10:57
-ing/-ed is a pretty easy one for a simple lesson. interesting/interested, tiring/tired, etc

I had a pretty good lesson with that subject once. The kids seemed okay with it.

I totally agree that passive sentences need to go away. They're a huge thing in Japanese, but I was always told to never write passive sentences in English. Made learning Japanese annoying. The whole, "x was yed by z," is so unnatural, but they insist on it. Why?

webstaa
July 9th, 2015, 12:20
Has anyone ever asked their students what words actually make "Let's"? It is amazing how many have no idea it contains the subject of the sentence, which explains the grammar errors I often see.

My favorite from NH3 SP1 (Would you like to....) Ask them to use the 'Let's' expression in the same way as review. Get "Let's come to shopping."

THE
July 9th, 2015, 12:34
1) Shitting on each other for mistakes and putting the expectation of speaking perfect English on kids.

Cbill1
July 9th, 2015, 13:07
1) Incorrect use or non-use of -ing forum. Examples: "I going shopping" "I am play tennis."

2) R/L people talk about a lot, but not as many people mention b/v or m/n. It happens a lot on exams.

3) Incorrect use or over-use of articles.

4) Incorrect use of personal pronouns. Example: "What will Sue do this weekend?" "I'm going shopping." More than the others, this is the one that baffles me the most, because the sentence would be incorrect even in Japanese.

5) The other four aside, the biggest "English" mistake I see that frustrates me is students letting their fear of making mistakes stop them from speaking English. Errors happen, and native speakers understand that. But, as a native speaker, I think student's English is a lot better (even when it's riddled with mechanical errors) when they can use it to properly convey their own thoughts than when it's perfect mechanically but they can only use it at the surface level.

word
July 9th, 2015, 13:37
3) Incorrect use or over-use of articles.Ugh, yeah, I see this one a lot. Either the article is missing or they use it inappropriately ("I put it in the my pen case"). I've tried to teach when it's appropriate to use "a" and "the" but they still struggle a lot with the distinction.


5) The other four aside, the biggest "English" mistake I see that frustrates me is students letting their fear of making mistakes stop them from speaking English. Errors happen, and native speakers understand that. But, as a native speaker, I think student's English is a lot better (even when it's riddled with mechanical errors) when they can use it to properly convey their own thoughts than when it's perfect mechanically but they can only use it at the surface level.
word

Jiggit
July 9th, 2015, 14:46
So far no one is actually helping me apart from cbill :roll:

Isola
July 9th, 2015, 15:38
1) I'm fine thank you and you.
2) I'm fun.
3) Come on.
4) Isola Teacher
5) I like play swimming.

Jiggit
July 9th, 2015, 15:39
1) I'm fine thank you and you.
2) I'm fun.
3) Come on.
4) Isola Teacher
5) I like play swimming.

Thanks! JHS?

Isola
July 9th, 2015, 15:47
Yep, that's about everything they've learned in the 1st semester at JHS.

Jiggit
July 9th, 2015, 15:49
Yep, that's about everything they've learned in the 1st semester at JHS.

Well, hey, they'll probably speak better English when they're 3rd grade than by the time they leave HS.

word
July 9th, 2015, 16:00
Oh LOL sorry



1. Over-use of passive voice, often to ridiculous extremes.

2. Incorrect article usage.

3. Sentence fragments, starting sentences with conjunctions, prepositional phrases used as sentences, etc.

4. Incorrect usage of "be" verbs.

5. Fear of incorrect English prevents response of any kind.

Isola
July 9th, 2015, 16:03
That's true, I think they'll be able to say, "I like playing swimming," in 3rd year JHS.

Ebi
July 9th, 2015, 17:04
1) "I play run." (assuming every action verb, especially ~する verbs, require "play")
2) "Let's play with me." (misuse and overuse of "Let's"; almost no mention or understanding of what "should" means; assumes "一緒に" always means "with me" instead of "together".)
3) "I'm bery bery much enjoy." (misuse and overuse of enjoy; no comprehension of the differences between of "much", "many" and "a lot"; using "I'm" or "It's" contractions for everything because of misunderstand of how be-verbs work and/or not registering that I'm/It's contain verbs.)
4) "I like bog." or "I like a bog." (confusion between b vs d; no concept of plurals; misuse of articles especially when speaking generally)
5) "Japanese food is very like by me. For example, sushi. Because delicious." (unnecessary passive voice; lack of past-tense/past-participle; sentences lacking subjects and/or verbs; starting with "because" or "for example" without following with a complete sentence/clause)

Those examples contain way more than 5 errors, as I pointed out, but they're very common. That said, I do wish there was less emphasis on error avoidance and perfect production. We tell kids "Don't be afraid to try! Making mistakes is fine!" but then the only things they're evaluated on is how perfectly they can translate arbitrary language from Japanese into English or pick apart the grammar of a sentence. Even when I do "conversation tests" at my school the students are given a sheet of questions and answers and they usually just regurgitate the example answers as-is.

I wish there was more room for students to be given communicative tasks to complete without specifying a specific grammar point/form. And just see what they can come up with using what they know to solve the task. When I took a Japanese course a few summers ago, one of the best exercises was when the teacher thrust us into unfamiliar role-play scenarios and just let us use whatever language we could to resolve things. (One of the ones I had to do was apologize and help a woman who I accidentally spilled coffee on.)

Jiggit
July 9th, 2015, 18:06
but then the only things they're evaluated on is how perfectly they can translate arbitrary language from Japanese into English or pick apart the grammar of a sentence.

Yeah I was gonna say that this is the major block to language learning in Japan, but then I thought about it again and realised there are so many things you could make that statement of. There are so many glaringly wro things that they do here it really just drives you round the bend if you think about it at all. I don't know how they can stand being so ineffectual.

I was sitting in a 3rd grade class (SHS) today and watching kids desperately search through their textbooks and dictionaries for words like "onion" and "bread" for a shopping activity. I commented to the teacher that maybe we shouldn't let them use those resources and her response was that they wouldn't be able to do it so there was nothing to be done. And these aren't bad kids! In 1st grade they were kids I marked out as confident in English. High School made them worse.

I mean, how can you sit there and watch students who have studied English for 6 years, who currently have over 15 hours of English lessons in a week, and accept that they can't think of the most simple vocabulary in English? As their teacher? How do you not admit you or the system or something is at fault?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilcRS5eUpwk

THE
July 9th, 2015, 23:33
Basically whatever irritates you the most or whatever you'd want to get them to understand if you could.

1) Shitting on each other for mistakes. I was a college writing tutor in the States, so grammatical errors are not something I get irritated by. Attitude, that does bother me. And one thing that bothers me a lot is how students, and sometimes even teachers, will dogpile a kid for making a simple mistake. Guess who's not going to try in English anymore?

2) Perfectionism: My English isn't perfect. Why do they expect perfection from each other? All it does is drive up the anxiety to perform that is already higher than usual because of the presence of a foreign language. I've never seen an ALT place this expectation on a student, but I've seen it done a lot of times from one Japanese person to another, and I wish they'd relax.

3) Narcissism. Sometimes this kid/JTE gets put on a pedestal, sometimes they feign humility when really they're super chuffed by their English ability. For some reason you can only have one or two students per class who have The Right to Speak English, and sometimes JTEs pick favorites and only call on those kids. They use English not to communicate, but to give themselves an ego boost, and that makes me not want to talk to them.

4) Objectification of English speakers: For some people, we only exist to validate their English with sycophantic nods and smiles while they talk in a one-sided fashion all day. This is more a JTE thing than a student thing, but sometimes it rubs off on the kids and makes talking to you in Japanese a taboo, which makes talking to you a scary endeavor for all but the one or two kids who have good test scores. I don't mind the kids trying out their English with me, but I get annoyed when adults who have no aspirations towards English fluency think of me as a party favor.

5) LE GAIJIN AKU-SEN-TO: That Shit In The Commercials When The Foreigner Speaks Japanese With On-Purpose Bad Pro Nun Ci A Tion. I may not have the same accent a Japanese person would have, but I don't sound like that. It's just a variation on the notion that gaijin can't speak Japanese.

I don't think this is exactly what you're looking for, but thanks for looking anyway.

Jiggit
July 10th, 2015, 00:17
Yeah more of a lounge post, really.

Cbill1
July 10th, 2015, 01:58
Yeah I was gonna say that this is the major block to language learning in Japan, but then I thought about it again and realised there are so many things you could make that statement of. There are so many glaringly wro things that they do here it really just drives you round the bend if you think about it at all. I don't know how they can stand being so ineffectual.

I'm lucky with most of my JTEs, but every time I have to work with someone who doesn't understand that being comfortable in the classroom environment is necessary for learning English I get the urge to punch things.

Also output. Every time I hear one of my JTEs praise English that the students just parroted back to us as "good output" I die a little bit more inside.

Gizmotech
July 10th, 2015, 08:43
1) Teaching ing/ed as participles first. They are grammar constructions.
2) Teaching all reductions as natural forms first. They are advanced usage (read every day) but if you don't understand how they are made, you will never make the reductions (or think to look for them)
3) Teaching fucking dative shift as the default form. SVOO is a special function in English is a special construction, not the default
4) Not adequately separating standard English constructions from special left overs. Like the term "need not" being taught rather than "don't need to".
5) Teaching infinitives as post positions for memorization rather than as pre-positional markers (not prepositions) for verbs. (I swear... be going to... should not be taught as a chunk)
6) Teaching all phrasal verbs, collocations, idoms, sayings as the same fucking heading

johnny
July 10th, 2015, 08:55
The one thing I can think of now that is kind of a trend is how the students and teachers think its acceptable in English to omit subjects and verbs from sentences that really ought to have them.

When I am asked to mark writing assignments, I often see sentences that just read "berry dericious" or "berry excited" and nothing else. Some of my JTEs see no problem with this. When I ask the JTE what the students are talking about, they say they don't know. I then ask if they see this as a problem, and they don't.

I have other examples, but the tendency to omit necessary words is one of my biggest pet peeves.

BifCarbet
July 10th, 2015, 09:20
The one thing I can think of now that is kind of a trend is how the students and teachers think its acceptable in English to omit subjects and verbs from sentences that really ought to have them.

When I am asked to mark writing assignments, I often see sentences that just read "berry dericious" or "berry excited" and nothing else. Some of my JTEs see no problem with this. When I ask the JTE what the students are talking about, they say they don't know. I then ask if they see this as a problem, and they don't.

I have other examples, but the tendency to omit necessary words is one of my biggest pet peeves.

It's a difference in context levels of the two languages. Even in Japanese, they might not know what someone is talking about without the added context, but they don't need to either. The added context in English is a tool we use to be more clear, and it's a tool a native Japanese speaker might not know is available or think they need.

johnny
July 10th, 2015, 09:25
I think you're right Bif. I assume the latter explanation is correct, that they don't think the added information is necessary.

uthinkimlost?
July 10th, 2015, 09:25
It's a difference in context levels of the two languages. Even in Japanese, they might not know what someone is talking about without the added context, but they don't need to either. The added context in English is a tool we use to be more clear, and it's a tool a native Japanese speaker might not know is available or think they need.

dsfasdfsadf This actually makes the individual sentence translation exercises maddening. Without context, some of the Japanese can be interpreted a minimum of two ways, leading to a minimum of two English translations, each of which has an entirely different meaning. The textbooks will say that the English sentences are equivalent, later leading to students actually using them as equivalent in completely inappropriate instances.

Good times.

BifCarbet
July 10th, 2015, 09:26
That goes along with the other thread about all the unsaid stuff. In Japanese, you're supposed to get it. In English, you're told.

johnny
July 10th, 2015, 09:31
That goes along with the other thread about all the unsaid stuff. In Japanese, you're supposed to get it. In English, you're told.

If their grammar usage was correct, you could probably guess, but it's often not. For instance, many have brought up that the students often confuse the -ed/-ing (excited/exciting) endings which makes it tough to tell.

Cbill1
July 10th, 2015, 09:36
If their grammar usage was correct, you could probably guess, but it's often not. For instance, many have brought up that the students often confuse the -ed/-ing (excited/exciting) endings which makes it tough to tell.

But even that relates back to the whole "you get it versus you're told" idea. In Japanese words like excited/exciting, scared/scary, etc, are treated as the same in their adjective form.

BifCarbet
July 10th, 2015, 09:46
All true, but I was talking more about the exclusion of necessary components.

Gizmotech
July 10th, 2015, 09:58
That goes along with the other thread about all the unsaid stuff. In Japanese, you're supposed to get it. In English, you're told.

This is the core component of teaching writing (not sentence, but small paragraph stuff) for my classes. I used to try talking about language contexts. That didn't work. I used to talk about being clear. That didn't work. I finally resorted to this, and it did work.

Japanese is speaking to a smart person. The listeners job is to understand the speaker. (Don't need to be clear)
English is like talking to a stupid person. The speakers job is to make sure the listener completely understands. (Need to be CRYSTAL clear)

Just putting it like that (and yes I realize how demeaning that is to the English language and pandering to Japanese WOO JAPAN thinking), but it actually achieved results.

BifCarbet
July 10th, 2015, 11:13
And it's totally true. It has nothing to do with the individual's mental capacity. It's just how the modern world formed.

elmaldito
August 27th, 2015, 03:58
Today whilst watching this JET's apartment tour, I was reminded of this thread.

Let's enjoy English wiz us!

5363

Torinn88
September 1st, 2015, 19:15
Most common during initial assessments for new students:


My hobby is cooking, reading, watching movie とか.


~~~ is more cheap.


Starbucks is yummy. Not wrong exactly, but when the person is over 30 and using Yummy to describe all foods/drinks, it's a bit jarring.

elmaldito
September 2nd, 2015, 20:23
Not wrong exactly, but when the person is over 30 and using Yummy to describe all foods/drinks, it's a bit jarring.

Child-like Japanese People?? - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZBVsrWgzlE)

patjs
September 4th, 2015, 05:43
Not wrong exactly, but when the person is over 30 and using Yummy to describe all foods/drinks, it's a bit jarring.

To be fair it's kind of hard to come up with a good translation for "oishii" that doesn't come off as a bit awkward. Just because in English we tend to use other phrases like "I love steak" or "That steak was so good."

You can try to teach them more native variations but this often is harder for them to grasp than you'd think...

Ebi
September 4th, 2015, 22:04
You can try to teach them more native variations but this often is harder for them to grasp than you'd think...
Word. I'll throw out some phrases for people to use if they are determined to have something to say that is "correct English", but I try to emphasize that more often than not there isn't a single standard way to say something.

Heck, if you grew up in Japan you'd think "How are you?" is the only way people ever great each other in English-speaking countries but I rarely use it. More often I'd go for "How've you been?" or "How's it going?" if not something completely different. But in Japan canned phrases are common and expected, so there's nothing strange about saying the exact same thing over and over. So they apply that same mindset to English.

I really like when my JTEs encourage kids to think about how things are used in the context of English instead of just giving them translations. I know they have to memorize "correct English" for the tests, but I wish there was more emphasis on using English as a tool for communication. Thankfully my JTEs try to emphasize that when they can, but it's hard to do that in the current curriculum and exam system.

Ini
September 4th, 2015, 22:23
If anyone asked me "how's it going" I would walk away and never give them a second look. Good lord do you people not have standards?

Ebi
September 4th, 2015, 23:02
If anyone asked me "how's it going" I would walk away and never give them a second look. Good lord do you people not have standards?
At least I don't ask people "How you doin'?"
http://media.giphy.com/media/EU1obAC38GuWI/giphy.gif

Jiggit
September 4th, 2015, 23:13
I really like when my JTEs encourage kids to think about how things are used in the context of English instead of just giving them translations.

Sadly not all of us got Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as a coworker.

Ebi
September 4th, 2015, 23:22
Sadly not all of us got Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as a coworker.
I've definitely been lucky. Pretty much all of the teachers I've worked with have a pretty solid grasp of English and genuinely want to teach it for communication, even though they're stuck teaching mainly for the tests.

Sadly that doesn't seem to be the norm.

Jiggit
September 4th, 2015, 23:31
Yeah I believe it. To be fair I think my school has a policy of putting the crappy teachers in my classes where they'll do the least harm. The one I butt heads with most often has been very obviously passed over teaching 3rd grade for the past 4 years, even though she obviously wants to.

shanshan310
September 6th, 2015, 00:07
I teach adults so the issues might be slightly different, but the most common mistakes I see in no particular order would be:
- Using more and er. Eg. More cheaper.
- using japanese English words without changing the pronunciation or understanding differences in meaning. I think using consento for a power point is the worst offender here, but things like suitscase pop up fairly often too.
- in more advanced speakers, I find there is a huge overuse/misuse of idioms. Im really torn on this because I love that they are making an effort to use them and are interested but it's not terribly natural sounding to use them in every sentence.
- confusion about what is plural and what should be plural. Eg. Peoples, I don't have a plan for today.
- And the already mentioned problems differentiating between boring/bored and overuse of passive voice.

webstaa
September 9th, 2015, 08:18
- using japanese English words without changing the pronunciation or understanding differences in meaning. I think using consento for a power point is the worst offender here, but things like suitscase pop up fairly often too.

consento makes sense - it comes from concentric plugs (https://www.google.com/patents/US6786744).

mothy
September 9th, 2015, 09:12
Uh... You're saying consento isn't an english mistake?

webstaa
September 9th, 2015, 14:09
Uh... You're saying consento isn't an english mistake?

It's English - and the meaning is tied to the original object (like Hotchkiss, although that's a brand name that somehow got generalized in Japanese and not in English) so I'd say that it's not completely off the rails. It's certainly not a usage most English speakers would recognize aside from pretty clear context..

Jiggit
September 9th, 2015, 14:22
You could say that of almost all Japanglish though. Obviously it has its root in something, words generally don't just pop out of a vacuum.

uthinkimlost?
September 9th, 2015, 14:22
High tension...

mothy
September 9th, 2015, 15:42
It's English - and the meaning is tied to the original object (like Hotchkiss, although that's a brand name that somehow got generalized in Japanese and not in English) so I'd say that it's not completely off the rails. It's certainly not a usage most English speakers would recognize aside from pretty clear context..


You could say that of almost all Japanglish though. Obviously it has its root in something, words generally don't just pop out of a vacuum.

Exactly. Derived from English does not mean it's English.

weepinbell
September 10th, 2015, 16:32
I haven't been here long to know a million of the most common mistakes, but please for the love of God teach them a salutation that isn't 'See you!' Or at least to take on a 'later' to the end. I have never met a single person in the native English-speaking world that parts ways with that one. In Japan it's like the only one I've ever heard...

Also have seen lots of confusion with a/u. 'I like to play swimming. It is fan.'

acpc2203
September 10th, 2015, 19:44
I use 'See you!' all the time.

Jiggit
September 10th, 2015, 19:49
I've been here too long to remember what I used to say... I can't recall the taste of food... nor the sound of water... nor the touch of grass.

I'm... naked in the dark, with nothing.

Ebi
September 10th, 2015, 20:09
@weepinbell: Blame the textbooks for that. Someone years ago decided "See you" is the one standard acceptable "casual" farewell greeting. Same goes for "How are you? I'm fine thank you, and you?" being the only acceptable greeting.

The "play" problem stems from it being translated as "suru" (the generic "to do" verb in Japanese). It's the first verb they're taught, along with "like", since they want kids to be able to say "I play soccer" for their self-introductions. "Swim" isn't taught right away (in JHS at least - elementary books use it) so kids tend to overgeneralize that all verbs or at least sports require "play", hence "I play swim."

Also "swimming" is used in Japanese (such as in "swimming school") but "swim" isn't used, so kids assume that former is the correct word in English.

"Fan" and "fun" is the lack of vowel sounds causing headaches. Most kids just can't differentiate between "u" and "a" sounds and katakana English doesn't help, so they assume everything is just a Japanese "a" sound. Try getting kids to distinguish between "cup", "cap", and "cop" is hard since they'll usually mix them up or think "Coop" is pronunciation for at least one of them.

mothy
September 10th, 2015, 20:27
I use 'See you!' all the time.

Me too. Well, really it comes out more as see yuh, but same difference.

weepinbell
September 11th, 2015, 11:41
Me too. Well, really it comes out more as see yuh, but same difference.

Yeah, sorry that's what I mean, it's the inflection that sounds odd to me. I use `See YA' occasionally, but to me 'See YOU' sounds really weird since the former is soooo casual and natural. And now I'm catching myself saying 'See you' all the time just because everyone does in class lol.

Virgil
September 11th, 2015, 11:51
I've been here too long to remember what I used to say... I can't recall the taste of food... nor the sound of water... nor the touch of grass.

I'm... naked in the dark, with nothing.


Careful. You might be eaten by a grue.

x_stei
September 13th, 2015, 00:48
One of my pet peeves that I've noticed a lot. Many of my students can't seem to write a lowercase a and u differently...

shanshan310
September 19th, 2015, 14:41
It's English - and the meaning is tied to the original object (like Hotchkiss, although that's a brand name that somehow got generalized in Japanese and not in English) so I'd say that it's not completely off the rails. It's certainly not a usage most English speakers would recognize aside from pretty clear context..
That was kind of my point. Many L2 speakers assume that because the word comes from English the pronunciation and usage is exactly the same, when it really isn't.


I've been here too long to remember what I used to say... I can't recall the taste of food... nor the sound of water... nor the touch of grass.

I'm... naked in the dark, with nothing.

I'm beginning to feel like that. I've started to get so used to language mistakes and Japanese pronunciation that it's difficult to remember what is natural and what is not :/