Review of "GENKI (third edition)" from a Japanese's eye #2

Hello, Japanese learners! As a sequel to #1, in this article I am trying to review a Japanese textbook, "GENKI (third edition)." Lesson 2 is the main target this time, but contents that belong to Lesson 1 may be dealt with when necessary.
At first, here are contents I will write about.
  1. About "ね ne" in "たかい です ね Takai desu ne" & "よ yo" in "おいしい です よ Oishii desu yo"
  2. Different senses of numbers between English & Japanese
  3. Fundamental Japanese phonetics; through examining "とけい tokee"
Then, let's start :-)
  1. About "ね ne" in "たかい です ね Takai desu ne" & "よ yo" in "おいしい です よ Oishii desu yo"
In Lesson 2, grammatical explanations are from page 60 to 64. これ kore, この kono, and ここ koko etc. are not so weird, aren't they? あれ are is an only new concept for English speakers. Whereas, Noun じゃ ない です ja nai desu is a little bit too tough for me to comment in a couple of words for people who have just started Japanese. As this blog series goes on more I hope to explain it one of these days. Instead of them above, I would like to deal with 〜ね ne & 〜よ yo (page 64).
In the dialogue (page 56), Mary says "たかい です ね。Takai desu ne." And, the translation of this phrase is "It's expensive." Then, compared to just saying "たかい です。Takai desu.", aren't there any differences? From my intuition, there are. It's improbable that I say "たかい です。", because such a judgment may offend salespersons. On the other hand, when I say "たかい です ね。", I not only add the meaning of "right?" but also imply that the message is my personal impression, not a concrete fact. So, I could avoid to make salespersons accept my opinion. He or she can go on talking freely from my former reference about prices, which is one of them that I'm searching for the most when shopping. To conclude, I prefer "〜ね" in such circumstances in order to secure flat relationships with salespersons and have fun talking with them afterward. If there are goods really expensive for us, we can pass by it without talking.
Next subject is "〜よ yo". In the dialogue (page 57), restaurant attendant says "おいしい です よ。Oishii desu yo." On page 64, "とんかつ は さかな じゃ ない です よ" is translated into "Let me assure you. Tonkatsu is not fish." I think it's a wonderful translation and totally agree with it. And I think "おいしい です よ" can be translated as "Let me assure you. It is delicious." Even in Japanese conversations, personal territories are reserved by each other, too. By adding 〜よ, you can suggest others that a matter belonging to such personal territories may be like you think. So in this case the restaurant attendant seems to say "Let me assure you. It is delicious. So why don't you try it?" as well.
  1. Different senses of numbers between English & Japanese
On page 67, numbers in Japanese are explained. As the textbook says, Japanese has まん man that indicates ten thousands. I have been studying English for more than 20 years, but still struggle with numbers in English. It's a little bit shame to confess that whenever I listened to prices in dollars, I need to multiply them by 100 and get approximate converted values in yen in order to understand them. From my all experiences, I have a image of いち まん えん ichi man en, ten thousand yen, as the price that enables me to buy a pair of sneakers, and another of いち おく えん ichi oku en, one hundred million yen, as the price of a decent house inner Tokyo 23 special wards. And, as these memories of numbers are inevitably connected with the idea where ten thousands are recognized as a unit, it looks unrealistic for me to coordinate myself to recognize a thousand as a unit. So I suppose vice versa, that it may be difficult for Japanese learners as a second language to become familiar with Japanese number systems without living in Japan and shopping for groceries etc. in everyday lives. It's very natural that if you live in UK for example, you have vivid and unchangeable images of one pound, one thousand pounds and one million pounds, and that makes it hard for you to have clear images of いち まん えん or いち おく えん. Please forgive yourselves even if you don't feel confident about numbers in Japanese.
  1. Fundamental Japanese phonetics; through examining "とけい tokee"
In the dialogue of Lesson 2, とけい's pronunciation is "tokee", ありがとう's "Arigatoo". But, と is "to", け is "ke", and い is "i", not "e". The problem is not new for Lesson 2. The dialogue in Lesson 1 has りゅうがくせい ryuugakusee, せんこう senkoo etc. Even if typical Japanese people say "tokee", he or she has a clear image of とけい, not とけえ. い has sound "i" and sound "e", and is read out according to the situations, and as native Japanese speakers make full use of い, Japanese learners may have difficulty when using Japanese without mastering the concept of い.
At #1, I wrote that Japanese phonetics was very simple and easy to master. But now I regret about having been a little bit too optimistic. From beginners' eyes, Japanese phonetics may be apparently simple but actually complicated. If so, I think that the reason of the difficulty comes from not being able to examine how to pronounce, as native Japanese speakers themselves aren't aware of how to pronounce and of course many of them cannot explain it.
In addition, as you may know Japanese has らりるれろ sounds, that are a kind of a fusion of "l" sound and "r" sound. English speakers are required to recognize l and r sounds as the same in Japanese phonetics, which may be tough.
But, once you have mastered hiragana and katakana, for example you would find original version of manga easy to read. Manga frequently uses onomatopeias and mimetic words, which I think are ones of the biggest wealths Japanese culture has.
Although this example below is neither onomatopeia nor mimetic word, please let me deal with it; つばさ、おれ の つばさ. This phrase was one that Roberto Hongoh said in "Captain Tsubasa". This may be translated as "Oh Tsubasa, my precious Tsubasa." But, the sound おれの is something by far deep. One man of Japanese root had dragged himself to Japan, and found a boy who was his. And the moment he found it, in order to protect the family of the boy he decided to go back to Brazil. Whole circumstances strongly indicates that the man had been loved by Brazilians and as a result loved the boy, so Captain Tsubasa is the story of love from Brazil to Japan. When reading おれ の, "れ" is neither "le" nor "re", but "れ". I hope readers of original Captain Tsubasa to listen to what and how Roberto Hongoh actually said.

Review of "GENKI (third edition)" from a Japanese's eye #1

Hello, Japanese learners all over the world! I am a Japanese living in Tokyo. I'm not such a fluent English speaker, so my English must include a lot of errors. But, I think that comments from a real Japanese may help when you study Japanese, and then I decided to start writing this series of blog, in which I will review a famous textbook for Japanese learners, ''GENKI an integratede course in elementary Japanese (third edition).'' I would like to comment about whatever I feel when reading this book as one of typical Japanese people. In this article, I am going to deal with mainly ''Introduction'' etc. and Lesson 1, which I have read just now. Then, let's go!
First of all, I felt that it is too urgent for begginers people to study hiragana in Lesson 1, katakana in Lesson 2, and kanji afterward. I was a little bit surprised at the curriculum shown on page 17 that says so. If you have plenty of time, it might be an easy & pleasant way to spend one month to master pronunciation and listening. Japanese phonetics is very simple! This is one of the most different points from English, phonetics of which seems to have no end. There may be some who have browsed page 22 & 23 at bookstore and judged that Japanese has complicated phonetics. But, please believe me that until kanji you can acquire Japanese with ease, because the number of sounds used in Japanese is very few. Fundamentally, all kinds are on page 20, 21, and 22, so no more numerous than 200. What is more, almost all sounds can be classified into one of five vowel groups, ''a, i, u, e, o.'' In order to master Japanese phonetics beforehand, I think that maybe you need other recording data which contains many words, read out in Japanese only. Such materials allow you to repeat various Japanese sounds for a long time, that would build your mouth up ready to speak Japanese.
Now I go back to textbook. On page 41, the expression ''XはYです(X wa Y desu)'' is explained. This Japanese phrase is translated as ''X is Y. As for X, it is Y.'' I partly agree with it. I think Japanese has no concept of subject, so the translation ''X is Y.'' looks not so appropriate. Then, when Japanese people say ''X wa Y desu'', what do they mean? In my viewpoint, ''Xは'' makes a kind of field. So, if permitted to translate it, I would say ''Regarding X, it is Y.'' ''せんこう は にほんご です。Senkou wa nihongo desu.'' is translated in English as ''My major is the Japanese language.'' on GENKI. But in my opinion, this Japanese phrase just says ''Regarding my major, the Japanese language.'' No subject. Japanese lets speakers think what is the subject, maybe partly because the keigo (honorific words) system makes it easier to judge who or what is the subject.
As far as vocabulary is concerned, I took notice of ''Korea'' which was translated as ''かんこく Kankoku.'' The reason I watched the word is that North Korea has completely different name in Japanese, ''きたちょうせん Kitachousen.'' ''Kita'' means north. For your reference, Korean peninsula is ''ちょうせんはんとう Chousen hantou'' in Japanese, in which the counterpart of peninsula is ''hantou.'' So when considering by the process of elimination, the translation of Korea turns into ''Chousen.'' According to my not so large stock of knowledge, ''Chousen'' is the word older than ''Kankoku.'' The choice of the words includes complicated affairs, and I cannot help but hope that you will put some importance on these words.
Finally, here is another rather soft topic. On page 25 & 26, the long vowels are written with ''ー'' when only using katakana according to this textbook. But, I often come across hiragana using ''ー,'' yet only in casual situations. The usage of ''ー'' in hiragana seems unofficial, so grants the whole sentences a kind of humor. Furthermore, there is a more humorous tool, ''〜.'' This indicates the long vowels with rolling pronunciation. Speaking of 〜, I would like to illustrate the word ''あ〜ちゃん aachan''. This is the name of a singer & dancer in a trio techno-pop unit, Perfume. By introduced as ''あ〜ちゃん'' rather than ''あーちゃん'', people can identify easily the entertainments she produces. Do you know ''きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅ Kyary Pamyu Pamyu''? It is the same producer, 中田ヤスタカ Nakata Yasutaka, who has composed all songs of both Perfume and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. So, if you like Kyary, it is possible that you like songs of Perfume, which are good at not only melody but also choreography. My recommendations are ''Night Flight'', ''Ceramic Girl'', and ''Zero Gravity'' for now. In a live tour video, あ〜ちゃん singing Zero Gravity controled the audience completely. Youtube would provide you with the video.
That's all for this article. See you on next one.










いやあ、勉強になった。今までの俺は、英語をネイティブのように身に着けたいと自己流で参考書選びをしていたもので、一番売れてるみんながやってる本を俺もやってみよう、という発想は皆無だった。ところが、ひょんなことから塾講師をすることになり、で、自分の好き勝手な勉強じゃなく、かっちりと色んな生徒に対して結果を出せる学習指導力を手に入れるため、という勉強目的が加わったために、今回、じゃあ昔からある「ターゲット1900」を俺もやってみようじゃないか、ということになったのだった。で、わかった。まあこれは、ちょっと別の書籍になるが、旧課程の三省堂クラウンのEnglish CommunicationのIからIIIのどっかで読んだ文章でだいぶ気付かされたことで、その受け売りっぽいんだけど。日本人が英語を身につけるということは、ネイティブのように英語がしゃべれるようになるというよりももっと次元の高いことなのだ。そう思う。





『CROWN English Communication III New Edition』(三省堂の高校英語の検定教科書)読書感想

三省堂の高校英語の検定教科書、『CROWN English Communication III New Edition』を、今、読み終わった。その感想を、ここに書く。










まあ話を冒頭に戻すと、この『CROWN English Communication III New Edition』、かなり読み応えがあって、面白かった。愛着を感じてます。とりあえず最終のIIIまでが終わったんで、ホッとしてます。





30日にアップした第三部『生』の感想文(後注 『魂』感想文の間違い)にて、俺は、柳美里も(お母さんに)愛されてるじゃないか、などと書いた。ちょっと不用意だったと、『声』を読んだり両親と接したりしながら反省した。柳美里とお母さんとの関係は、特に思春期までの関係は、多分最悪だっただろうと想像する。『生』中に、あなたは感情の揺れが大きすぎますとお母さんから柳美里にFAXが届くシーンにも俺は感想文中で触れたが、あれなんか、そっくりそのままそれはお母さんに対しての柳美里からの非難としてこそ通用するものだったんじゃないかな。つまり、もらった柳美里側の心理としては、どの口が言う、という気持ちだったんじゃないか。