2 comments on “English problems of Japanese (日本人の英語の問題) — “English by osmosis”

  1. How to Learn a Foreign Language by Steve Kaufmann


    Learn a Foreign Language

    1) Spend the time!
    2) Listen and read every day!
    3) Focus on words and phrases!
    4) Take responsibility for your own learning!
    5) Relax and enjoy yourself!

    On many topics, you yourself can teach yourself best with proper materials. This is not true for higher energy physics which costs billions…
    But often, it is very difficult to find good text books. It seems easy to find good English and French books.

  2. What kind of mistakes do Japanese, myself included, often make when they are writing in English? I will just add my finding here when I find some typical errors; this is mainly to improve my own writing.

    1) Errors in Articles:

    This is very difficult for Japanese whose language does not have this type of grammatical distinction.

    eg: “5th point is ‘How long do I study English to using tool-English?’ Speaking English is not goal. I love Movie and Book.”

    1: living with English boyfriend

    2: living with an English boyfriend

    comments: one of my many boyfriends. Normally “with my English boyfriend” is appropriate.


    “Interesting” is not so exciting.

    1: I couldn’t sleep till 4:00AM, because the book is interesting !

    Quite often, Americans say “interesting” just for courtesy not to say “do not waste my time on that”. This case, it is better to use a more passionate word like exciting, awesome or intriguing.

    Just confused:

    ‘Write English sentences immediately is effective to expression of my heart ‘.

    I am not sure if the meaning is clear to others. This is saying that making improvisatory English sentences is a good way to enrich one’s English expression. Or just say it in English on whatever came to one’s mind. Do not say it loud in public for your own safety.
    Others English related issues:

    On Lang-8

    Recently I saw people recommending using “Lang-8” to enrich language learning experience. I registered there but immediately lost my interest after finding that I can only correct Japanese since I registered Japanese as my native language. I may be just naive about its function but it should be more flexible on its preference.


    I read its contents on his blog entries. His experience is quite interesting. I, however, really doubt the validity of the claim in the subtitle saying that you can reduce English acquisition time by half by using recent gadgets. English short wave radio programs were available for longtime. Matsumoto was advocating using FEN for improving English more than 30 years ago. But it is true that learning a language at an introductory level is much easier now. Convenience of these tools will not easily translate into ease of learning…

    This is a book for people who need some motivations, who like to believe they are living some special moment in history, or who have never lived in another country. This book may be attractive since it is written by an ordinary folk who is not really specialized in English. Reader may find their own opinions voiced by the author: they can think the author as one of their own kind.

    People who know what to do with their life and who already know what mastering English means to their life and profession do not need to buy the book. If I have to chose one book on improving English, then this is the one: Oxford University Press | Practical English Usage, Third Edition If you cannot read this, then it is good to learn to read this book first. Of course, it is totally depend on what you want to do with English. It seems there are so many fake English experts in Japan. Necessity makes people master a subject.


    Mastering a subject is more important than mastering English.

    I just finished a short phylogenetic analysis course at the genetics department of Cambridge University, UK. The instructors were from Spain. He spoke English well but when it came to understand questions by people, he often missed questions while I got the questions. I rephrased some of the questions for him. I am probably good at rephrasing questions since I had to do it all the time in order for others to understand my points. I need to do this to avoid some words which they are not getting because of my pronunciation or the concept I am describing is not clear to other without drawing figures.

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