effective learning

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Anonymous

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hi teacher,

my name is toru ichima from chiba, japan.
is there any why to learning more effective english?
what's the tip for able write properly english?

thanks
 

Tdol

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Hi, Toru, the basic way to improve is through practice, but I have contacted one of our Japanese posters who writes perfect English and asked him to make some suggestions. ;-)
 

Dany

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toru said:
hi teacher,

my name is toru ichima from chiba, japan.
is there any why to learning more effective english?
what's the tip for able write properly english?

thanks

If you want to write properly English, it will be the best, when you read many books and news in English. If you also want to improve your speaking, than you should look TV. I also look CNN every afternoon for ca. one hour.

I hope that I could help you a little bit.

Kind regards,
Dany
 

Taka

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tdol said:
Hi, Toru, the basic way to improve is through practice, but I have contacted one of our Japanese posters who writes perfect English and asked him to make some suggestions. ;-)

Hello, toru!

I'm honored to be called on, but I'm not sure I deserve the compliment "a Japanese poster who writes perfect English." :oops:

Well, I think almost everything is well explained by tdol and Dany. But I would like to add one more thing: have your writing checked by a native speaker of English for proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation, whenever it's possible.

It's like playing an instrument, or a sport...whatever; if you want to be good at it, you have to learn it from someone who really knows how to play it. :wink:
 

Taka

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Plus, and before that, think in English, not in your frist language, Japanese, when you write something in English. Thinking in Japanese first and trying to make a direct word-for-word translation is a bad thing that most Japanese learners would do, IMO. Avoid it, OK?

Good luck! :wink:
 

Francois

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It's like playing an instrument, or a sport...whatever; if you want to be good at it, you have to learn it from someone who really knows how to play it.
My former teachers in elementary school were not mathematicians, but they taught me some maths though. Even non-experts can know something you don't, and help you on specific points. The thing is, how do you find out if you can trust them? This is all the more difficult as people are quick to believe they are, or make themselves out to be, an expert. This is a fairly general question, not exclusively pertaining to learning languages. Hopefully reality catches up with people pretty quickly, and eventually either they realize what their actual level is, or they find a smaller pond. But the "get ouf of my way, non-native" attitude (not that I'm saying it's yours) is IMO not the best. Making the extra effort of considering non-expert opinions gives yourself more opportunities to improve, if only by explaining why they're inadequate. A teacher may drop by afterwards, and point out that your explanation is not altogether right, and suddenly, everybody has learned something! And of course the non-expert might be right in the first place, which then turns the question into an ego problem (How darst thou correct me, thou fool?).
Just my opinion ;)

FRC
 

Taka

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Francois, I'm not saying "get ouf of my way, non-native" (Actually, I'm a Japanese teaching English here in Japan, you know. :) ). Read carefully. I said "whenever it's possible."

Even though I've been involved in Englsih education for 8 years or so, sometimes I get confused thinking about whether this expression sounds natural and that expression doesn't. I think the thing that non-natives can hardly do is to tell the natural from the unnatural. So, I think we should ask native speakers about our English whenever it is possible.
 

Tdol

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Mind you, non-native speakers can develop an ear for that, but that depends on location, contact, etc.;-)
 

Francois

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Francois, I'm not saying "get ouf of my way, non-native" (Actually, I'm a Japanese teaching English here in Japan, you know. Smile ). Read carefully. I said "whenever it's possible."
Read carefully too, I said "not that I'm saying it's yours". Don't take it personally, it is a general comment toward the "never trust non-natives" way of thinking.
I think the thing that non-natives can hardly do is to tell the natural from the unnatural.
Yes, but in many instances it's possible to acquire a knowledge of what is said and what is not in specific situations. This is basically the way the natives learned the language in their childhood. Of course, the non-native can make such a distinction in a limited set of presumably simple situations, but it's still something.

FRC
 

Taka

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Francois said:
Read carefully too, I said "not that I'm saying it's yours". Don't take it personally, it is a general comment toward the "never trust non-natives" way of thinking.

When I read your comments, honestly I thought the phrase "not that I'm saying it's yours" was some sort of safe-guard. The entire context seemed to me to indicate that you interpreted my messages as some kind of anti-non-natives, which is absolutely wrong.

Well, never mind.


Francois said:
Yes, but in many instances it's possible to acquire a knowledge of what is said and what is not in specific situations. This is basically the way the natives learned the language in their childhood. Of course, the non-native can make such a distinction in a limited set of presumably simple situations, but it's still something.

Let me tell you that I take it for granted that toru has had the formal eduaction here in Japan, which means he has learned English from Japanese teachers of English for a while. I don't think he is studying English all by himsellf. Plus, Dany gave him his practical advice before I gave mine. So my "go-for-the-natives-if-possible" is additional, complementary advice, so to speak.

Remember the title of this post. It's "effective learning", not "the basics of learning." :wink:
 

Francois

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I actually reacted to your sport analogy, but delibarately digressed afterwards.

Remember the title of this post. It's "effective learning", not "the basics of learning."
Well, participating in a forum for instance seems pretty effective to me, and that's what my point is all about. Sharing one's point of view with everybody, native or not, with teachers around to check up on us, is a good way to practice if you cannot talk to a native speaker as often as you would like.

FRC
 

blacknomi

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I learned English from Chinese English teachers. I have to admit that some of them are really knowledgeable, even the foreigners think they are just amazing at teaching and explaining--GRAMMAR. It's not a bad idea to learn the grammatical rules from a non-native speaker.

Even you try your best to expose to a rich language environment, no matter you learn from a native or non-native; as long as you don't practice, everything is just in vain.

Practising English with a native speaker doesn't work to everyone, but the truth lies in "practice makes perfect."
 

alexandre42

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Francois said:
It's like playing an instrument, or a sport...whatever; if you want to be good at it, you have to learn it from someone who really knows how to play it.
My former teachers in elementary school were not mathematicians, but they taught me some maths though. Even non-experts can know something you don't, and help you on specific points. The thing is, how do you find out if you can trust them? This is all the more difficult as people are quick to believe they are, or make themselves out to be, an expert. This is a fairly general question, not exclusively pertaining to learning languages. Hopefully reality catches up with people pretty quickly, and eventually either they realize what their actual level is, or they find a smaller pond. But the "get ouf of my way, non-native" attitude (not that I'm saying it's yours) is IMO not the best. Making the extra effort of considering non-expert opinions gives yourself more opportunities to improve, if only by explaining why they're inadequate. A teacher may drop by afterwards, and point out that your explanation is not altogether right, and suddenly, everybody has learned something! And of course the non-expert might be right in the first place, which then turns the question into an ego problem (How darst thou correct me, thou fool?).
Just my opinion ;)
Hello François
Do you speak every day in English ? You seem have a good pratice .

:)

FRC
 

Francois

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Hello François
Do you speak every day in English ? You seem have a good pratice .
Hey Alex,

No I don't, but I used to. Lately, I've been trying to build up my vocabulary and my pronunciation (a bit on the American side). English is not a difficult language, but there are tons of expressions to learn if you want to sound 'right'. Forums are a useful tool, insofar as you're exposed to many questions -- and answers.
Feel free to jump in!

FRC
 

Taka

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Yes, you are right, my friends, blacknomi, Francois. However, "practice" does not necessarily mean "practical", IMO. Maybe this is specific to Japan, but let me tell you what I think.

Some time ago, I personally received this message:

You post some rather elaborate phrasing, some of it almost old fashioned.... Are you working on school projects or just having fun?

It looks like it is time to update the curriculum. A problem in almost every school system. I think some of it does not prepare a student for real life situations. Just the opposite. The first negative experience may cause them to clamp up.

Good point! This person really knows what is going on in academic reality. I don't know about other countries, but at least the description is true of the English education here in Japan. In fact, most of the complicated (and old-fashioned, sometimes) sentences that I've posted here are from the textbooks that I use in my class.

Japanese have long studied English as if it were a dead language. In this educational context, "practice" does not always mean "practical." I think Japanese students work very hard every day. They are industrious, really. And they learn English from the "great" teachers. In other words, they do practice under the great teachers every day. However, this doesn't mean that their study is practical, because there is a strong possibility that the curriculums are, as the person above pointed out, out-dated and not all the great teachers are practically great (some of them might be just good at dead usage).

I still remember what happened when I first visited the writing lab in the U.S. Before I visited there, I thought I had studied English long enough under good curriculums, so that my writing skill was good enough for academic writing. I was wrong. They made a huge correction in my writing. But I didn't know why such a huge correction was necessary, because I thought I just did what I had done before, following the instruction that I had been given in Japan. It was only afterwards that I noticed there was something that I couldn't learn in Japan: the English that sounds natural.

I wouldn't say that everything that I received from Japanese teachers was in vain. Nor would I say that learning English from native speakers is the best and only way to learn English. I would just like to say that having your English checked by native speakers is a better way to learn better English.
 

Francois

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I'm down with that. As for the Japanese syllabuses, I've no idea, but apparently we use a different system in France. English teachers basically have a free hand to do what they want, provided they still do a minimum of grammar etc. One year, we studied Swift for almost 7 months. This makes the quality of the course extremely dependent on teachers' skills. Incidentally, I got an E in English at the SAT French equivalent.

FRC
 

alexandre42

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Francois said:
Hello François
Do you speak every day in English ? You seem have a good pratice .
Hey Alex,

No I don't, but I used to. Lately, I've been trying to build up my vocabulary and my pronunciation (a bit on the American side). English is not a difficult language, but there are tons of expressions to learn if you want to sound 'right'. Forums are a useful tool, insofar as you're exposed to many questions -- and answers.
Feel free to jump in!

I agree with this . I've known forums since more one year : messages boards BBC , English as a seccond language and this one more recently . I speak not often in English . Sometimes I speak two or three weeks all the day ( except Saturday , Sunday ). Even my colleagues aren't native British speakers . They have a good pratice . This one is able me to improve myself . This year , I had had course 5 days ,around 40 hours, at Royan in English only for improving my speaking . After I felt making a lot of progress.
I think there is important to keep on speaking every day to progress . Forums are offered this opportunity , unlucky , only for posting messages .

This exercise is not so much for learning correctly a language . Posting have to be completed by listing reading writing .

I am reading the book , Bright day, written by JB Priestley . I think that it's too difficult ( for my level ) but I keep on before giving up . I would like so much speaking well. The way is still long ...

Alex






FRC
 

Francois

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Don't be depressed -- even if you make some mistakes, you can generally get yourself understood by native speakers if you speak slowly. Frenchmen often have the sentence rythm wrong, that is, we don't put the accent where it belongs, but if you speak slowly and distinctly, they will be able to put back everything into place. Maybe you can ask your company for private courses, they usually have a dedicated budget for formations. I managed to get some when I worked at JPMorgan, and it was quite profitable indeed.

FRC
 

alexandre42

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Francois said:
Don't be depressed -- even if you make some mistakes, you can generally get yourself understood by native speakers if you speak slowly. Frenchmen often have the sentence rythm wrong, that is, we don't put the accent where it belongs, but if you speak slowly and distinctly, they will be able to put back everything into place. Maybe you can ask your company for private courses, they usually have a dedicated budget for formations. I managed to get some when I worked at JPMorgan, and it was quite profitable indeed.
FRC

Many thanks for your support.
:)
 

alexandre42

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Francois said:
Hello François
Do you speak every day in English ? You seem have a good pratice .
Hey Alex,

No I don't, but I used to. Lately, I've been trying to build up my vocabulary and my pronunciation (a bit on the American side). English is not a difficult language, but there are tons of expressions to learn if you want to sound 'right'. Forums are a useful tool, insofar as you're exposed to many questions -- and answers.
Feel free to jump in!
FRC
Pronunciation is a bit problem for somepeople like me . I've problem with the ends of words like worked , asked ... aks so on .
Could you advise me ? I'm looking for some useful links to improve this point .

Alex
:)
 
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