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Thread: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

  1. #21

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ebi View Post
    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?


  2. #22

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    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.

  3. #23

  4. #24

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Cbill1; July 10th, 2015 at 02:00.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    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
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  6. #26
    Perpetually confused. johnny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Teach them something new?? Are you mad? All you do in Japan is rehash the same stuff over and over for 15 years. Hello song, what do you like sports? and fruit basket. The holy trinity of English education.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny View Post
    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.
    Last edited by BifCarbet; July 10th, 2015 at 09:21.
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  8. #28
    Perpetually confused. johnny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    I think you're right Bif. I assume the latter explanation is correct, that they don't think the added information is necessary.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Teach them something new?? Are you mad? All you do in Japan is rehash the same stuff over and over for 15 years. Hello song, what do you like sports? and fruit basket. The holy trinity of English education.

  9. #29

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by BifCarbet View Post
    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.
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  10. #30
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    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    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.
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  11. #31
    Perpetually confused. johnny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by BifCarbet View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Teach them something new?? Are you mad? All you do in Japan is rehash the same stuff over and over for 15 years. Hello song, what do you like sports? and fruit basket. The holy trinity of English education.

  12. #32

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny View Post
    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.

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    All true, but I was talking more about the exclusion of necessary components.
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    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by BifCarbet View Post
    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.
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  15. #35
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    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    And it's totally true. It has nothing to do with the individual's mental capacity. It's just how the modern world formed.
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  16. #36

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Today whilst watching this JET's apartment tour, I was reminded of this thread.

    Let's enjoy English wiz us!

    Let's enjoy English wiz us.jpg

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    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.

  18. #38

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by Torinn88 View Post


    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

  19. #39

    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by Torinn88 View Post


    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...

  20. #40
    Crustacean Sensation Ebi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Top 5 English mistakes you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by patjs View Post
    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.

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