2017年03月19日

Hacking language learning

I bought a book on impulse. Now, I am reading it. This is a language learning book for the rest of us!
Fluent in 3 Months: Tips and Techniques to Help You Learn Any Language
fluent in 3 Months.jpg

The author, Benny Lewis, made a TED talk.


He was also awarded "Traveler of the Year" by National Geographic.
Traveler of the Year
"There are so many interesting people on the planet, so we should all try our best to get to know them!"
As Nelson Mandela says: "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart."



posted by a cat at 23:00| Comment(0) | TED | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2017年03月04日

the Japanese National Anthem

恒例(?)の Fruitful English の日記添削公開。今回は日本文化の紹介です。
*This blog entry has nothing to do with my personal beliefs.
You(= a cat) wrote :
I tried to answer the question;
What is the traditional music in Japan like?

あなた(= a cat)の作文
Every country has its own traditional music. Japanese people have a variety of musical instruments. For instance, "Wadaiko" is a Japanese big drum; "Shakuhachi" is a Japanese flute made of bamboo. These are still played at special events such as summer festivals and New Year's Celebrations.

Japanese traditional music also includes songs. I think the most famous song in Japan is the national anthem called "Kimigayo." Its distinctive character lies not in the music but in the lyrics. It is extremely short, simple and mystical because Japanese people appreciate the beauty of simplicity. It might be the shortest national anthem on the planet.

Although everyone in Japan knows the lyrics, which was written about 1,000 years ago, most of them do not know what it exactly means. Some say it is a battle hymn, others say it is just a love song. I am trying to translate it as precisely as possible.

The title of the song, "Kimigayo," literally means your era. The lyrics is as follows:
May your reign last for 1,000 years, 8,000 years.
Until pebbles merge into a boulder, covered with moss.
That's it! I believe this was made to admire the Emperor of ancient Japan. May your reign last forever!

添削結果
Every country has its own traditional music. Japanese people have a variety of musical instruments. For instance, "Wadaiko" is a (A)big (B)Japanese drum; "Shakuhachi" is a Japanese flute made of bamboo. These are still played at special events(C), such as summer festivals and New Year's (D)celebrations.

(E)Traditional Japanese music also includes songs. I think the most famous song in Japan is the national anthem(F), called "Kimigayo." Its distinctive character lies not in the music but in the lyrics. It is extremely short, simple and mystical because Japanese people appreciate the beauty of simplicity. It might be the shortest national anthem on the planet.

Although everyone in Japan knows the lyrics, which (G)were written about 1,000 years ago, most of them do not know what (H)they mean, exactly. Some say (I)the song is a battle hymn, (J)while others say it is just a love song. I am trying to translate it as precisely as possible.

The title of the song, "Kimigayo," literally means (K)"your era". The lyrics (L) are as follows:
May your reign last for 1,000 years, 8,000 years.
Until pebbles merge into a boulder, covered with moss.
That's it! I believe this was (M)written to admire the Emperor of ancient Japan. May your reign last forever!

評価
Lv4 ほとんどネイティブの書いた英文と同じレベルに達しています。
*評価は下がっても、コメントしてもらった方が学びは多い。

From T*****,
*やはりいつもの先生。他の先生たちはどこに行っちゃったんでしょうか!?

Hello there,
Wow, this was a great historical lesson for me! I knew the Japanese national anthem was short, but I had no idea what the lyrics meant - thank you!

We only needed to make very small adjustments here!
Adjectives can be tricky, but we try to place the most defining adjective closest to the noun, so "big Japanese drum" and "traditional Japanese music" are most natural.
*うーむ、コレはむずかしいにゃー......
Also, "lyrics" are countable, so we need to pluralize our conjugation for this word.
*"lyrics" は複数形だった!
Then, we can refer to the "song" or the "anthem" that was "written" for certain reasons - these are all natural expressions.
*あ〜コレは知ってた......けど忘れてた!

I hope this helps you - really terrific work!


*How beautiful and mystical it is!
posted by a cat at 12:00| Comment(0) | Writing | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2017年02月24日

ひさびさの Lv5 Perfect!

今回はエッセイではなく、架空の相談とそれに対するアドバイザーの回答です。
Fruitful English の日記添削で、ひさびさの Lv5 Perfect!
You(= a cat) wrote :
I asked an imaginary question with the answer.

あなた(= a cat)の作文
Dear Advisor:
I teach math and science to high school students. Some of them do not have any motivation to study. I am trying to do my best, but they have no improvement at all. Their parents get mad at me because they have paid a lot of money. As the proverb goes, "You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink." What do you think I should do?

Thank you,
I am a cat.


Dear I am a cat. :
A fool learns from experience, but a wise man learns from history. From a historical viewpoint, I think you have three options. There were three famous warlords in wartime Japan. Their names were Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu. Their characters and strategies were totally different respectively.

The first option is the strategy of Nobunaga. You should say to your students, "If you don't study hard, I'll kill you!" The second option is the strategy of Hideyoshi. You should say, "If you don't study hard, I'll encourage you with all my heart." The last option is the strategy of Ieyasu. You should say, "If you don't study hard, I'll wait forever until you understand what I'm trying to do." You can choose one of the options, according to your preference. I wish you luck!

Sincerely,
The Advisor

添削結果
Dear Advisor:
I teach math and science to high school students. Some of them do not have any motivation to study. I am trying to do my best, but they (A_)aren't improving (_A) at all. Their parents get mad at me(B), because they have paid a lot of money(C) for the lessons. As the proverb goes, "You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink." What do you think I should do?

Thank you,
I am a cat.


Dear I am a cat(D):
A fool learns from experience, but a wise man learns from history. From a historical (E)point of view, I think you have three options. There were three famous warlords in wartime Japan. Their names were Nobunaga, Hideyoshi(F) and Ieyasu. Their characters and strategies were totally different(G), respectively.

The first option is (H)Nobunaga's strategy. You should say to your students, "If you don't study hard, I'll kill you(I) or punish you severely!" The second option is (J)Hideyoshi's strategy. You should say, "If you don't study hard(K)enough, I'll encourage you with all my heart." The last option is (L)Ieyasu's strategy. You should say, "If you don't study hard, I'll wait forever until you understand what I'm trying to (M)teach you." You can choose one of the options, according to your preference. I wish you luck!

Sincerely,
The Advisor

評価
Lv5 PERFECT!
*......とはいえ、ネイティブレベルというわけでは、ぜんぜんありません。

From T*****,
*なんと1時間以内で返却。新記録か!

Hello Mr. I am a cat,

Congratulations!! You wrote so well, and this was such a creative idea, with a great historical and moral lesson embedded in it. Your English is fantastic here!

In all cases, I just offered you alternative phrasing or slight refinements, like the addition of commas. It's a nice idea to say "aren't improving at all", and to use possessive form to introduce the strategies, but these are just suggestions.

*Way to go - this is sheer perfection!
*way to go = used for telling someone that they have done something well
posted by a cat at 21:30| Comment(2) | Writing | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2017年02月15日

1級英作文、逆の立場からも書いてみた

英検1級英作文2016-3、「日本で死刑を禁止すべきか?」
前回は禁止反対の立場から書いたので、今度は賛成の立場から。両方から書いてみるのは、いい練習になるでしょう!!

Fruitful English の日記添削に出したため、じっさいの試験(200-240 words)よりも少し短めになってます(202 words)。

You(= a cat) wrote :
I tried to answer the question;
Should the death penalty be banned in Japan?

あなた(= a cat)の作文
We have had (A_)a lot of debates about the death penalty(_A). Supporters say that it is the best way to prevent serious crimes. In my view, however, the death penalty should be banned in Japan(B) for three main reasons.

To begin with, misjudgments cannot be avoided. DNA testing has (C)proved that some (D)of the prisoners are innocent. Once innocent people are executed by mistake, there is no way to revive them. (E_)The tragedy happens, which must be remembered so as not to be repeated.(_E)

Apart from misjudgments, there is little evidence that the death penalty is (F)effective (G)to reduce crimes. In fact, the crime rate has been declining steadily in Europe after capital punishment was abolished. On the contrary, mass killings occur in the U.S.(H), although (I)the murderers are executed.

In addition, you should not misunderstand the cause of the issue. Juvenile delinquency is on the (J)increase in big cities. I think the (K)problem is poverty. The government should place greater importance on supporting the poor, rather than (L) punishing the criminals.

In summary, I believe that the death penalty should be abolished in Japan. Instead, we should spend more money (M)on helping the poor, which will no doubt lower (N)the crime rate.

添削結果
We have had (A_)many debates about the death penalty in society today(_A). Supporters say that it is the best way to prevent serious crimes. In my view, however, the death penalty should be banned in Japan(B), for three main reasons.

To begin with, misjudgments cannot be avoided. DNA testing has (C)proven that some (D) prisoners are innocent. Once innocent people are executed by mistake, there is no way to revive them. (E_)The Tragedies happen, and we must remember these so they are not repeated.(_E)

Apart from misjudgments, there is little evidence that the death penalty is (F)actually effective (G)in reducing the number of crimes. In fact, the crime rate has been declining steadily in Europe after capital punishment was abolished. On the contrary, mass killings occur in the U.S.(H), although (I) the murderers are executed.

In addition, you should not misunderstand the cause of the issue. Juvenile delinquency is on the (J)rise in big cities. I think the (K)main problem is poverty. The government should place greater importance on supporting the poor, rather than (L)on punishing the criminals.

In summary, I believe that the death penalty should be abolished in Japan. Instead, we should spend more money (M)on helping the poor, which will no doubt lower (N)crime rates.

評価
Lv4 ほとんどネイティブの書いた英文と同じレベルに達しています。
*やっぱり、先生からのコメントのあっさり感......。

From T*****,
Hello there!

What a well-constructed essay on the death penalty - you did a wonderful job!

Your work on English grammar and phrasing is commendable! I've worked to correct your errors and your sentences sound very natural. You will learn a lot from observing the corrections, so please enjoy learning from the revised sentences.
*(E)の後半と(J)は「DUO の例文どおり」に書いて直されてますね。まあ、まちがいではないんでしょうが。

One thing I wanted to point out is that we need to pluralize when referring to a noun in a general sense, like "crime rates"!
*「冠詞なし+複数形」で referring to a noun in a general sense は知ってるけど、「the+単数」で書くときもあるよね? ちがいがまったくわからにゃーい!

I hope this helps you! As always, it's a nice idea to review the corrected text by reading it out loud, and a few times, to help you become familiar in a written and spoken way, the sentences above!
*いろいろ考えてみたけど......結局は平凡でしたか? 反対したときの方ができがよかった気がするにゃん。
posted by a cat at 19:00| Comment(0) | Writing | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2017年02月09日

日記の添削例

エッセイばかり公開していて飽きちゃったので、ちょっと前(1月)の分ですけど、たまには日記らしい添削の雰囲気をご紹介。
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and events are the products of the author's imagination.

あなた(= a cat)の作文
During (A) New Year's holidays, Japanese people have a custom to visit shrines. I went to a local shrine on January 2nd. (B_)First of all, I prayed(_B) for good luck in business. After that, I prayed for one more thing − world peace. I feel (C) I am lucky because I was born in Japan, which is one of the safest countries in the world.

I heard a lot of sad news last year. For example, there is a civil war (D_)(_D) in Syria. The country is divided into several groups. They fight each other. Many people (E) lost their houses. Some men (F) become soldiers to defend their (G)hometown. Even women and children (H_)were(_H) killed by (I)the air strikes. I do not understand why innocent people have to die.

However, I have a glimmer of hope. More than 70 years ago, Japan and the US fought a bloody war. Millions of people were killed. Despite a lot of difficulties, President Barack Obama visited Hiroshima, where (J) atomic bomb was dropped. In response, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Pearl Harbor, where Japan made a surprise attack. Both leaders showed (K) we have overcome (L_)hatred.(_L)

I have a dream. One day, children from all over the world will become friends. All wars and conflicts will end. I believe it is possible(M) because love trumps hate.

添削結果
During (A)the New Year's holidays, Japanese people have a custom to visit shrines. I went to a local shrine on January 2nd. (B_)I started off by praying(_B) for good luck in business. After that, I prayed for one more thing − world peace. I feel (C)that I am lucky because I was born in Japan, which is one of the safest countries in the world.

I heard a lot of sad news last year. For example, there is a civil war (D_)going on(_D) in Syria. The country is divided into several groups. They fight each other. Many people (E)have lost their houses. Some men (F)have become soldiers to defend their (G)hometowns. Even women and children (H_)have been(_H) killed by (I) the air strikes. I do not understand why innocent people have to die.

However, I have a glimmer of hope. More than 70 years ago, Japan and the US fought a bloody war. Millions of people were killed. Despite a lot of difficulties, President Barack Obama visited Hiroshima, where (J)an atomic bomb was dropped. In response, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Pearl Harbor, where Japan made a surprise attack. Both leaders showed (K)that we have overcome (L_)our hatred for each other.(_L)

I have a dream. One day, children from all over the world will become friends. All wars and conflicts will end. I believe it is possible(M), because love trumps hate.

評価
Lv4 ほとんどネイティブの書いた英文と同じレベルに達しています。
*......とはいえ、ネイティブの書いた英文とは何かが決定的に違っているといつも感じてます。

From J******,
*いつもと違う先生です!

Hello Mr. I am a cat.
Very inspiring entry here!
I agree 100% with all that you said!
I hope it comes true.
Please let me comment on (B) and (L) a little.
In both cases, what you wrote was OK.
However, for (B), using "first of all" here feels a little unnatural.
You could have said "the first thing I prayed for", but "I started off by praying for" felt the most natural.
For (L), "hatred" is fine.
However, using "our hatred for each other" is more detailed and gives off a stronger meaning.
I hope this helps.
posted by a cat at 00:00| Comment(0) | Writing | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする