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Learning English

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Joined: 16 May 2010
Posts: 1
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 5:17 pm    Post subject: Learning English Reply with quote

I'm Japanese girl.
I'm studying English at the university.

Most Japanese study English at least 3 years.
But many people can't speak it well.
I'm studying it for 7 years, but I can't speak well too.

Why Japanese can't speak English well?
Please tell me your opinion!!!
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Joined: 20 Jun 2010
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

this is not matter, I have seen lot of persons speak 8-10 languages easily, why? it means we can speak, you can also. try speak in English from morning to evening, some days you will face some problem but after some days you will see so easy for you, I sure.
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Joined: 01 Nov 2010
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are many people who are learning English that are having the same situation like yours. They have been studying English for how many years, but they cannot speak it well.

I think the problem is you study the language almost everyday, but the case is you are not applying it in your everyday life. Most people know how to write and read in English, but when it comes to speaking in English they are having difficulties. I suggest to use English most of the time as much as possible. Speak in English everyday - at home, at school or even in the office. Remember, practice makes perfect if the practice is right. Smile
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Joined: 08 Dec 2010
Posts: 12
Location: India

PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

English speaking is not very difficult, everyone can speak English. Many people decided to learn to speak English for different goals.

Before starting to learn English you should know the right method to do it. When you know the right method everything is going to be easy, and you will finally speak English fluently.

Speaking fluently means that you speak more naturally, which means that you can do it by avoiding all the formal techniques and the useless methods.

Many students think that grammar is everything. They think that when they learn grammar, they will speak, but the truth is the opposite of that.

English grammar do not help students to speak, it just helps them to think about English. Many students stay stuck to this idea just because that they do not know the truth.

Memorizing word lists is also like grammar. If you memorize word lists, maybe you will never speak. Whenever you want to speak, you will start to think which word should you use and which word you should not use and finally you can not use any word just because you made your English vocabulary list by memorizing word lists.

If you think that speaking English can be done just reading some textbooks, I think that you will never speak English, because the rule is very simple: reading helps you with the writing skills. Listening will help you with the speaking skills.

Yes, listening is everything if you want to improve your English fluency. When you listen to English you will improve the way you speak, it helps you to speak without thinking. It also helps you to improve your pronunciation in English.

Listening can also improve your grammar, many students do not believe it but it is the truth.

A child of six years old can speak English very well, with a clear pronunciation and with correct English grammar, and this without studying English grammar and without memorizing word lists.

If you want to speak English fluently, forget about English grammar and word lists and focus only on listening to real English conversations.
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Joined: 01 Feb 2011
Posts: 50
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am an English teacher in Japan. I was raised bilingual in Canada (French and English) and I learned to speak Japanese after coming to Japan.

I've worked in some large language schools, a couple of high schools, a university. They are all wrong. So, I decided to open my own English school to teach the right way.

There are some very good answers here. I agree with most of it, but in my experience, this is what I think works best:

1) Don't 'study' grammar. Learning grammar rules is useless. It does not help you to speak English well. The important thing is to simply understand what you are reading or listening to.

2) Build your vocabulary the right way. Do not study word lists. Japanese and English are very, very different languages. Many words do not have a direct translation, but it's natural to try and translate directly. Sometimes, it's ok, but often it's not. For example, "kuruma" in Japanese can refer to a car, but it can also refer to what we call pickup trucks and minivans. Sometimes, we say "car", but most often we use the words "pickup truck" and "minivan" (also "SUV", etc.) If you, in Japanese, think of the word "kuruma" and look in the dictionary, there is no way to know that you should call it a minivan, etc. Also, there are many words in Japanese that simply don't exist in English or are expressed in a completely different manner. The only way to learn how to say these things is by getting a LOT of English input, (reading and listening).

3) Japanese pronunciation has very few sounds compared to English. It is very important to learn how to pronounce well. (Having an accent is fine, but having pronunciation that is very hard or impossible to understand is not.) In fact, I think this is one of the biggest obstacles to learning English for Japanese people. Learning how to pronounce well is almost impossible alone. You can't do it with CDs and videos. You need someone, a teacher, to show you. More importantly, you need a teacher to tell you if you're doing it correctly. When you learn to pronounce well, your listening will improve a lot. When your listening improves, you can learn many more new words and expressions. Most teachers in Japan ignore pronunciation because they don't know how to teach it. Find someone who studied linguistics and has experience. Be sure it's a native speaker.

4) You must "use" your English. Don't think of English as a hobby that you do only when you have time. Apply it in everyday life. Instead of reading the news in Japanese, read it in English. Don't read it in Japanese first. Don't read it in Japanese at all! You use English to do everyday things INSTEAD of Japanese. Want to try a new recipe? Do a search on the net IN English for one. Want to read about the latest gossip? Read TMZ. If your phone is bilingual, change the menus to English.

5) Get a good teacher. Many eikaiwas (the name for language schools in Japan) use textbooks. You're wasting your money there. You can buy a textbook and read it yourself. You don't need someone to tell you to read it. You can buy CDs and listen to them yourself. You don't need someone to read to you. You can buy books, magazines, mangas, etc. and read them yourself. You don't need someone to read to you and tell you to read. The only thing you cannot do by yourself is know when you've made a mistake. Making mistakes is ok. It's natural to make many mistakes when you learn a language. Don't be afraid of making mistakes. But you need someone to teach you how to say it correctly and/or naturally. If no one teaches you, it will take a very long time for you to notice it yourself. Even if you hear something the correct way on TV all the time, it's easy to continue making the same mistakes over and over again. You need a good teacher to bring it to your attention and show you how to say it the right way. This is the most valuable thing a teacher can do. Surprisingly, most language schools in Japan do not correct students' mistakes at all!

I am shocked at how upside down the language lessons are in Japan. People are taught to memorize rules only and are always reading textbooks. They never read any 'real' English, written by native speakers. They never listen to 'real' English on TV and radio. They always stick to textbooks and NHK CDs. Large language schools just use textbooks, read a short passage to the students, do a little listen & repeat and then ask a few questions to drill. That's not necessary. All of this can be done for free. The only things that cannot be done for free at home are 1) learning how to pronounce properly and 2) having someone correct your mistakes and teach you how to say it more naturally.

Good luck. Learning a language takes a lot of time, effort and patience. But you can do it. I've learned Japanese and I still learn more every day! Learning English in Japan is even harder because the teachers here (both at school and the large eikaiwas) don't know what they're doing. They have no idea about how the brain works with language. Most of them have never learned a second language themselves. I used to work in a high school and the Japanese teachers of English could not speak English at all. They couldn't write it. They couldn't understand it. Why are they teaching English??! It's truly amazing. All of this makes it much harder to learn.

Learning English is EASY. It just takes time and dedication. But it's EASY. Same as growing a tree. It's easy, but you need to wait a few months. You can't grow a tree in two months! You must water it and give it sunshine and wait. That's all. You can add fertilizer to help it grow, but it's all 'easy'. It just takes time, water and sunshine.

For English, you need pronunciation (to help you improve your speaking AND listening), vocabulary (taken from sentences written by native English speakers) and grammar (don't memorize rules, but notice the patterns in real English). Keep reading and listening as much as you can, and of course speak and write too, and you will improve. It just takes time.

Ganbatte ne!
Visit for material to help you with your listening skills!

All of the videos are in SLOW and EASY ENGLISH so they are easy to understand and will help you improve your listening until you can watch regular movies and TV!
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