Dealing with Communication Difficulties

One of the biggest problems that English learners in Japan face is that schools and teachers do not give them enough communication practice, and so they don’t have enough intercultural communication skills.  As an English teacher, this is my main focus: to teach my students not just what words mean, or how to use grammar, but how to communicate with real native speakers.

Maybe the most important part of this is learning how to deal with communication difficulties.

No matter  how much you study or how much vocabulary you memorize or how much grammar you understand, you will have problems communicating with native speakers.  But it’s not your fault.  Communicating in another language in a foreign setting is difficult.  There are many things to consider and it takes a lot of practice to get used to it.

I’ve spent a long time teaching and paid attention to when communication breakdowns happened and what caused them.  I’d like to share with you some very simple strategies that I’ve taught my students to help them deal with three very common communication problems that happen when speaking to native English speakers.

1. Sometimes Native English Speakers talk really fast

It’s an exaggeration, but this video illustrates how English sounds to English learners sometimes.

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Have you ever felt like this?  It’s enough to make someone panic!  But what can you do?

Well, as I often tell my students, trying to practice English enough so that you can understand everything he says is going to take a long time, and when someone is talking to you really fast right now, you can’t say “please wait a few years until my listening improves.”  You have to respond.

That’s what communication is all about: knowing how to respond.  You have to say something so the speaker knows he or she is talking too fast for you.  What should you say?  That’s simple:

“(I’m sorry), Could you speak more slowly (please)?”

Very simple.  But it lets the other person know very clearly that they are speaking too quickly for you.

However, even though this is a clear response, don’t expect every native speaker to slow down, or even continue to slow down.  For some people, speaking very quickly is a habit, and it’s hard for them to slow down.  Most native English speakers do not understand how hard it is for non-native speakers to catch everything they’re saying.  But don’t give up!  Keep responding using the question above (and hope that they slow down!).

Another important note, especially when you are talking to people who speak fast: you may have to interrupt them.   In Western culture, interrupting is not as rude as it is in Japanese culture.  We often expect to be interrupted, so it’s okay.  Think about this: which would be better:

A. To talk to someone for a long time and realize they didn’t understand anything you said (so you have to say everything again) or

B. To be interrupted after just a few seconds, but be understood by the listener?

Most native English speakers would probably say B is better.  So even though it feels awkward, please don’t hesitate to interrupt if you are having trouble understanding a native speaker’s English!

2. Sometimes it’s really hard to hear someone

Have you ever talked to someone really quiet, or in a really noisy place or (I get this one a lot) on the phone and just couldn’t hear them?  It can be frustrating, not knowing if your listening is bad or if you’re just not hearing them clearly.

Your response in this case is also very simple:

“(I’m sorry) I can’t hear you.”

You could also ask

“(I’m sorry), could you (please) speak up?”

The second one is a request for the other person to increase the volume of their voice.

This almost always works, especially on the phone.

The last one is a very common and very important one.  I highly recommend using it and – if you can – practicing it when you meet foreigners.

3. You don’t recognize a word or expression that a native speaker uses.

English is filled with difficult vocabulary, complex grammar forms, weird idioms and a plethora of ways to use even the simplest vocabulary.  It’s impossible to memorize everything before you have conversations.  That’s okay, but what that means is there will be times that a native speaker uses a word or expression you will not understand, or even have trouble catching.

What do most English learners do in these situations?

  • Ignore it
  • Pretend they understood
  • Respond in an interculturally inappropriate way (more on this in the future)
  • Parrot (more on this in the future too, I promise!)
  • Panic

Are any of these responses appropriate?  Well, if the information is not too important, they might be fine.  But if it is important, then no!  You need to get that information!

So what do most people do?

“What does [sounds they caught] mean?”

This is fine if you are excellent at catching English, but most people aren’t, because English pronunciation is really hard.

The reason that asking this question first is a mistake is because it makes a false assumption:

“If I heard a word that I didn’t recognize it means it’s a word I don’t understand.”

Notice I use the word recognize.  Why is this?

Because before you can understand a word, you have to be able to hear it!

This is really, really important, so please take note of this: when speakers send their message to you – that is, when they speak to you – it has to be filtered through your ears before you can understand!  So if you misheard it, then of course you won’t understand it: you caught the wrong word or words!  So many times a big problem started because I said something that my students actually understand, but because they didn’t hear it correctly, they thought I was saying something new!

Okay, so what can we do about this?  Glad you asked.

Ask this question FIRST instead:

“Did you say [word or words you heard]?”

This does two things:

  1. It’s a simple confirmation question, so it keeps the response simple.  The other person will either say “Yes” or “No, I said…”.  Keep the communication simple!
  2. It confirms that either you heard the word or words correctly, or that the problem was that you misheard them (and you get to hear them again!)

After you are able to confirm that you heard correctly, THEN you can ask:

“What does [word or words] mean?”

So remember:

Step One: Confirm your listening (Did you say…?)

Step Two: Ask about the meaning (What does… mean?)

Hope that was helpful!  Don’t hesitate to comment or ask questions!  You can leave me a message here or catch me on twitter.

Take care, and keep studying!

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Prepositions of Time!

Last time we talked about parts of speech.  So this time, let’s talk about prepositions!

Prepositions have many functions, but one of their most common and basic ones is indicating time.  In many languages, you can use the same one or two prepositions to talk about time, but in English there are a lot more!

But if you know which prepositions to use, there are some simple rules that you can follow that will help you with most conversations about time.

So let’s talk about the three most fundamental (and confusing!) prepositions: at, on, and in.

At

At is used for clock time.

  • At six o’clock
  • At seven thirty-five
  • At midnight

“I’m going to bed at ten o’clock tonight.”

What time does the show start?”

At 6:30.”

Be careful, though!  Many English learners think “midnight” and “noon” refer to times of day instead of clock times, but they are clock times.  Specifically, midnight is 12:00am (when most people are asleep) and noon is 12:00pm (when many people are eating lunch).  So, for example, 12:01am is NOT midnight and 12:01pm is NOT noon.

At is also used for one more time expression: night.

  • At night

“I usually watch TV at night.”

When do you exercise?”

“Usually at night.”

On

On is used for single days.

  • On Monday
  • On January 10th
  • On my birthday
  • On Christmas

“Work starts again on Monday.”

“What are you going to do on your birthday?”

When is your husband coming back from his business trip?”

On the 4th.”

In

In is used for any period of time longer than a day.

  • In December (one month)
  • In 2015 (one year)
  • In the summer (about three months)

“I’m moving to Tokyo in January.”

“I’m going to go surfing in the summer.”

When did you start working here?”

In 2010.”

In is also used to talk about times of day.

  • In the morning
  • In the afternoon
  • In the evening

“I exercised in the morning.”

“I’m going to meet some friends in the evening.”

“When do you take a nap?”

In the afternoon.”

In can also be used to talk about a point in the future.

  • In two days.
  • In a few days.
  • In 2020.

“I’m going to move in three weeks.”

“The movie is going to start in an hour.”

When will dinner be ready?”

In just a few minutes.”

That’s it for now!  Check back in a couple weeks to see how to use these prepositions to talk about locations and directions!

4 Good Reasons to Record Yourself Speaking English

Hey again everybody, good to see you again.  🙂

I often get students asking me how to improve their English at home, or how to improve their English by themselves.  This is a great question.  Let me introduce a new way to improve not only your speaking, but your vocabulary and grammar too:

Record yourself speaking English.

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Wait, what?  How would that help me improve my English?

I’m glad you asked.

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So what are the four reasons it’s a good idea to record yourself speaking English?

1. It’s active practice

When you are recording yourself speaking English, it means you are practicing!  For many of us, it’s hard to find another native speaker who will practice with us.  Even if we can find someone, it’s not always easy to do it regularly.  Sometimes they are busy, or we become busy.  But who says you have to have another partner just to speak English?  Instead of just sitting and reading or listening, why not be a little more active and speak!  Speaking by yourself is better than not speaking at all, and it’s (usually) much more active than just listening or reading.

2. It will improve your fluency

I noticed something very interesting with my students who started recording themselves: they started speaking much more smoothly and fluidly.  This change happened immediately in their recordings, and gradually during our lessons.  Why?  Because when you are talking to yourself, there is no pressure from anyone else!  No one is pressuring you to speak faster or speak correctly.  You can take your time, speak at your pace, and even make mistakes and there’s no penalty!  It’s a great way to take the pressure off and just speak.  You may even be surprised at how good your English actually is when you just relax.

3. You can improve your English by revising

“Ok,” you might be saying, “but why should I record it?  Why not just talk out loud?”  This is a good question!  Let me ask you another one: why keep an English journal?  So you have something to look over in the future!  Journal writing is a way to keep a record of what you’ve done and it allows you to go over past mistakes as you learn more English to improve your English even further!  In the same way, you can listen to an audio recording again and catch mistakes.  Sometimes you make mistakes while you are speaking that you don’t even realize!  Recording yourself speaking helps with this.  You can also share it with a teacher so she can help you revise, but you don’t have to.

4. You can improve your English by reflecting

The final and maybe most important reason to record yourself is because it gives you opportunities for reflective practice.  Reflective practice is, very simply, thinking about your learning!  Normally, when people study or learn something, they just figure out what to do, do it, and that’s it.  Instead, you can think about what you did.  In this case, it means listening to your recording, and stopping at some points and thinking:

“Was that correct?”

“Was that natural?”

“Is there another way to say that?”

“Would a native speaker say it that way?”

“What’s the different between the word/expression I used and another similar one?”

“Could I have said this instead?”

Even if you don’t know the answers to the questions you think of, write them down!  The next time you have an opportunity, ask a native speaker (like me!) your questions.  Alternatively, you could experiment: try thinking of other ways to say what you said, and try them out with native speakers.  Reflective practice is the best way to grow as an English learner.

So there you have it!  Four good reasons to record yourself speaking English.  You can do it as often as you want, as long as you want.  I recommend doing it at least once a week, 3-5 times a week is better.  If you are not sure what to talk about, start very short.  Even just one minute is enough!

So give it a try!  Let me know how it goes on twitter or in the comments, and feel free to ask me any questions that come up!

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By the way, if you want some great ideas for speaking (or writing) topics, check out this website:

http://www.myenglishpages.com/blog/keeping-a-journal-a-writing-activity/

They have a fantastic list of interesting, crazy and funny topics for you to speak (or write) about.

Parts of Speech

Hey everybody!

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Did you enjoy your golden week?  I hope so!

Today I’d like to talk about a really important aspect of grammar called parts of speech.  No, parts of speech have nothing to do with making speeches!  They are a way of categorizing different words.  It helps us know how to use those words.  So let’s take a look at the parts of speech right now:

Nouns
Words that are things, people, places or ideas Pen, car, dog, café, teacher, music, experience
Verbs
Words that are states or actions Feel, have, do, go, try, collect, experience
Adjectives
Words that describe nouns Big, tall, expensive, convenient, strict, soft, interesting
Adverbs
Words that describe verbs or adjectives Quickly, carefully, really, very, somewhat
Prepositions
Words that tell us the time, location or direction of something; also separates two words In, at, on, for, with, to, of
Pronouns
Words that replace nouns I, you, he, she, it, they, them, we, us, me
Conjunctions
Words that connect other parts of speech or sentences And, or, but, because, since, when
Interjections
Words or expressions that are used alone Hey, huh, oh, ah, oops, ouch
Articles
Words that go with nouns to indicate which or how many The, a, an, no

Many teachers consider pronouns a separate category, but some teachers consider it part of nouns as well.

Ok, so what?  Why are parts of speech so important?

On a very basic level, they tell us how to use words.  For example, what is wrong with this sentence?

“The dog floor.”

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That’s right, there’s no verb connecting the two nouns!  If someone said this to you, what would you do?  If we don’t apply the parts of speech properly, it’s hard to understand other people.

How about this one?

“I ate pizza my house.”

In this case, it is missing a preposition to separate the two nouns (“pizza” and “my house”).  Without the preposition (I ate pizza at my house) it’s very difficult to understand.

More importantly though, sometimes the same word is a different part of speech in different languages.  For instance, the word “confuse” is a verb (a transitive verb), so it connects a subject and an object like this:

“This book confuses me.”

But in Japanese, it is only an adjective – ややこしい – so it is used differently:

この本がややこしい。

So very often when my students try to translate this into English, they say something like:

“This book is confuse me.”

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Do you see the problem there?  Both “is” and “confuse” are verbs, so the sentence pattern became S-V-V-O, which is incorrect!  As you can see, recognizing parts of speech in the language you are studying is important.

So when you learn new vocabulary, be sure to find out what part of speech it is and practice using it with other parts of speech!

Knowing these eight categories is very helpful, but as your English improves, you will need to know more about each one!  There are different types of nouns and verbs and prepositions.  If you know about each type, you can use them even more naturally and become even more fluent!

Probably the most difficult part of speech is prepositions.  Many of my students hate prepositions, and I don’t blame them!  There are about 150 prepositions in English.  We only use about half of those in common speech, but that’s still a lot!  Japanese doesn’t have nearly as many.  They are a big challenge, so in the near future I’ll talk a little bit about a few of the most common prepositions and how to use them naturally.  Hope to see you then!

Would you like more resources on parts of speech?  Check out these links:

In English

http://www.english-grammar-revolution.com/parts-of-speech.html

http://www.edb.utexas.edu/minliu/pbl/ESOL/help/libry/speech.htm

In Japanese

http://www.kilc.co.jp/english/hinshi.php

http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%93%81%E8%A9%9E#.E8.8B.B1.E8.AA.9E.E3.81.AE.E5.93.81.E8.A9.9E

Expressions and Idioms Glossary

Ok, here is the final glossary!

In this one, I’m going to compile all the useful expressions, idioms, collocations and other patterns that I used in my blog that I think will be helpful in conversations.

Again, I’ll update this glossary sometimes with new expressions, so please check it out again once in awhile!

A certain amount of

ある数量

– A specific but unknown amount

“You can only bring a certain amount of money, but I don’t know how much exactly.”

As you wish

かしこまりました

– Indicates that the speaker will comply with the listener’s wishes/commands (very formal, archaic)

“Waiter!  Could you take these plates please?”

As you wish.”

Be beyond words

言語に尽せぬ

– Unable to be expressed by words

“The beauty of this ocean is beyond words.”

Be born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth

富貴の家に生まれる

– Be born into affluent or fortunate circumstances, usually wealthy.

“He’s never worked a day in his life. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.”

Be consistently active

貫き通す

– Take the same or similar actions regularly

“You just need to be consistently active to stay healthy.”

Be driven by

必死になる

– feel pushed or extremely motivated

“He studies English because he‘s driven by a desire to live in America some day.”

Be familiar with

詳しい

– have good knowledge about

“I‘m not familiar with this area, can you show me around?”

Be going on

– Continue, happen

“Even after everybody went home, he went on working.”

“Person A: My neighbor always plays loud music until after midnight.
Person B: Really? How long has that been going on?”

Be (highly) regarded

激賞する

– be considered as someone respectable or admirable

“Celebrities are usually highly regarded in society.”

Be in the same boat

境遇・状況・状態を共になる

– be in the same or similar situation/circumstances.

“I’d like to lend you some money, but I’m in the same boat as you: I don’t have any money, either!”

Be open (with s/o):

隠し立てしない

– Candid, frank, receptive, free of prejudice

“It’s nice to be open with someone you love.”

Be particular (about N)

こだわりが強い、好みがやかましい

– fussy, difficult to please.

“She’s very particular about music:  She only listens to very famous J-pop singers.”

Be worth it

価値がある、やりがいがある

Having a quality or qualities that make it worthwhile

“Being a parent is tough, but it’s worth it.

By law

法律によって

– be true according to the law

“You are required to file taxes every year by law.”

Circle of friends

仲間

– One’s group of friends

“He has a very big circle of friends.”

Cut (#) part(s) from s/t

何か から[#つの]部分をカットする

– Remove a section of something from something

“I didn’t like the movie. They cut too many parts from the book.”

Deeply ingrained

深く染み込んだ

– Firmly established (usually in someone’s mind)

“He has a deeply ingrained work ethic, that’s why he’s such a hard worker.”

Develop into

徐々になる
– slowly/gradually become/change

“Because he didn’t go to the doctor to get treated, his cold developed into bronchitis.”

End up

最後に。。。になる

Become ___ in the end.

“He put all his money on the number 23, but ended up losing it.”

Even if

としても

– indicates that a possible situation would not prevent something from being true or happening

Even if you can’t speak English now, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn.”

Extrinsic motivation

外発的動機づけ

– Being motivated by external factors

“Money is an example of extrinsic motivation.”

Get along with

仲良しする、円滑な関係がある

Maintain a harmonious relationship with

“I don’t love my father in law, but we get along.”

Get s/o to do s/t

誰かに説得して何かをしてもらう

– Find a way to persuade or force someone to do something

“He always finds a way to get other people to do his work for him.”

Give s/o space

距離を置く

– Allow a period of time apart

“I don’t want to talk to you right now, please give me some space.”

Glass ceiling(s)

女性がリーダーシップの地位に対するのを防ぐ労働人口で態度の天井

– A discriminatory barrier that prevents women from rising to higher positions, especially in a corporation.

“The only reason she hasn’t become a manager yet is because of this company’s glass ceiling.”

Have mixed feelings (about N)

名詞についての 複雑な心境 [です]。

– have both positive and negative feelings

Moving to Tokyo would give me a good opportunity to get a great job, but really crowded and noisy, so I have mixed feelings about it.

How ADJ is N

名詞はどのぐらい形容詞?

“How old is this house?”

Human rights

人権

– something that people deserve to have or be able to do

“The freedom of speech is one of the most important human rights.”

I guess…

やっぱり。。

Hmm. The map said the restaurant was here, but I don’t see it. I guess this is the wrong place.

I would have to say…

– 私が言うとしたら。。

– I normally don’t say this, but I feel compelled to say…

“I like Tokyo and Osaka, but I’d have to say Osaka is better.”

Ignorance is bliss

知らぬが仏

People are happiest when they don’t know something.

“Look at that small child, so happy. I guess it’s true: ignorance is bliss.”

In general

一般に

– about or affecting the majority

“Japanese food, in general, is healthy.”

In summary

手短に言えば

– indicating that the speaker is saying or explaining something briefly or shortly

In summary, our company is doing well.”

In the world

世界中

“Tokyo is the biggest city in the world.”

Intrinsic motivation

内因性動機付け

– Being motivated by internal factors

“Too many rewards can reduce intrinsic motivation.”

It’s okay to V-O

…をしても大丈夫です

“I don’t know if it’s okay to smoke in here.”

Look like

…のように見える

– Look similar to

You look like a Buddhist monk with your haircut.

Lose motivation

やる気がなくなる

“After the divorce, I lost motivation to keep working at a job I didn’t like.”

Majority vote

多数決

– a vote which more than half of the voters cast.

“In order to pass this bill, we need a majority vote.”

Make ___ different from/than ___

見分ける、弁別する、識別する

– Distinguish ___  from ___

“The food and hospitality make Osaka different than Tokyo.”

Make a gesture

手まね・身ぶりする

– Gesture

“I don’t understand this gesture that you are making.”

Move up (in N)

名詞に進出する

– Improve one’s standings or rank

“I heard he has his own company now! He’s really moving up in the world.”

Mutual friends

共通の友達

– A group of three or more friends who all know each other.

“We had mutual friends in college so we hung out a lot together.”

No matter Q/W-S-V-O

たとえ疑問詞~でも

– It doesn’t matter Q/W S-V-O.

No matter what I say to her, she won’t listen.”

Not… any more

もう。。「では」ない

– Something that was true before but is not true now and will not be true in the future.

“When I was a kid, I collected baseball cards, but I don’t collect them any more.”

Not to mention

言うまでもなく

– in addition to

Old/New friends

旧友・新しい友達

– A friend who you have known a long/short time.

“He’s a very old friend of mine from elementary school.”

“Let’s go to this party and make some new friends!”

Once a(n) N, always a(n) N

一度名詞になるとずっと名詞でいなければならない

– If someone becomes a(n) N once, they will always be a(n) N.

“I wouldn’t go out with him.  You know what they say: once a cheater, always a cheater.”

Out of N

名刺の中で

– Among

Out of the four seasons in Japan, spring is my favorite.”

Pros and cons

賛否両論

– The good points and bad points

Before taking this job, you need to weigh the pros and cons.

Put s/o (up) to s/t

取りかからせる

– Urge or force to an action

“I didn’t want to do it, but my friend put me up to it.”

Safety net

安定策

– Guaranteed financial security

“I hope you have a safety net in case your business venture doesn’t succeed.”

See a difference

違いが分かる

– to recognize, notice, realize or understand that something is different

“Did you cut your hair? Sorry, I don’t see a difference…”

Senior citizen

高齢者

– An older person.

“Many movie theaters offer discounts for senior citizens.”

Stay the same

そのままである

– Remain in the same way, state or situation

“They say the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

The point of ___ is

〇の主眼点

The purpose trying to be reached

The point of the story is (that) it’s important to be honest.”

There are all kinds of people in this world

さまざまな人がいます。

Can you believe that guy?  He was so rude.  Well, I guess there really are all kinds of people in this world.

Vote against

反対して投票をする

– express one’s disapproval through election

“I didn’t like that presidential candidate, so I voted against him.”

Vote for

賛成して投票をする

– express one’s approval through election

“I liked that presidential candidate, so I voted for him.”

(The) Welfare system

福祉制度

“Many people say Sweden has the best welfare system in the world.”

What do you think of…?

…のことをどう思いますか?

What did you think of that movie?  Was it good?

What is about N is ADJ?

名詞のどこが形容詞

English is hard?  What is so hard about it?

What is ADJ (about N) is

何が形容詞かというと名詞である。

– Explaining why or how something is ADJ.

What is great about marriage is the companionship.”

Conversational Glossary

Hey guys!

Okay, for some reason I thought I already posted this, but apparently I didn’t, so I’m going to start over again.

Here is a list of words which I have used in my blogs.  I’ve compiled them to help you build your vocabulary for conversation.  These words are more useful in day-to-day conversation than the technical words, and there will be a lot of them!

Like the Technical Glossary, I’ll be updating this one once in awhile, so be sure to check back!

Because this list will be so long, I’m going to format it differently.  It will look like this:

Word (part of speech): Japanese

– Meaning

“Example sentence”

Here you go!

A

Acceptable (adj): 容認できる

– Can be accepted

“Being late to work every day is unacceptable.”

Accurate(ly) (adj/adv): 適切な・に

– Within acceptable limits of a standard or fact

“This weight scale is very accurate, so it’s worth the purchase.”

Acquire (v): 習得する、身に付ける

– get by effort or experience

“The best way to acquire a language is to use it.”

Activity (n): 活発

– State of being active

“It’s important that children engage in activity for their growth.”

Adamant (adj): 断固とした

– very determined, not willing to shake, definite

“He was very adamant about drinking coffee at Starbucks instead of Cafe Veloce, I don’t know what his problem is.”

Address (v): 向けて言う

– Direct the attention to

“We really need to address this problem as soon as possible.”

Adopt (v): 採用する

– Take and follow

“We need to adopt a new plan, the old one isn’t working.”

Advantage(s) (n): 利益

– Something beneficial or favorable.

“Being good-looking is an advantage in life.”

Affect (v): 及ばす、影響する

– Have an influence in changing

“That movie affected me very deeply.”

Apply (v): 適用する

– Put into special use, put into action

“Don’t just memorize new vocabulary, apply it, too!

Approach(es) (n): 取り込み方

– A way or means to something; a method for dealing with something

“A deep learning approach is better than a surface one.”

Attractive (adj): 魅力的な

– Physically pleasing to look at

“Which actors do you think are most attractive?”

Autonomous (adj): 自治権のある

– Independent in mind, self-directed

“Letting children take care of themselves helps them become more autonomous.”

B

Beauty (n): 美しさ

– An appearance or feeling that people like.

“Some people find beauty in traditional Japanese temples.”

Beholder(s) (n): 見る人

– A person who looks at something.

“Whether or not this painting is beautiful depends on the beholder.”

Beneficial (adj): 有利な

– producing a favorable result

“They say exercise is beneficial to your health.”

Besides (prep): 以外に

– in addition to, other than, except for

“Besides soccer, I also play baseball and tennis.”

Bias (n): 偏見

– an unfair act based on prejudice

“Don’t make a decision based on bias.”

Biased (adj): 偏した

– showing bias

“Action movies often portray men and women in a biased way.”

Birthrate (n): 出生率

– The ratio of total births to total population; how many babies are born compared to the population

“The birthrate in Japan has steadily been going down.”

Bother (v): せがむ

– cause to be irritated or annoyed

“Your smoking is bothering me so please stop.”

Bow (v): お辞儀する

– Incline the body or head in greeting

“In Japan, people often bow to each other.”

Broadcast media (n): 電波媒体

– TV and radio

“In the U.S., the broadcast media is regulated so that it is appropriate for children.”

Broaden (v): 広める

– Make broad or broader

“Travel really broadens your horizons.”

C

Capable (adj): 可能、行う能力がある

– possible, having the ability to do

“You can rely on him, he’s a very capable guy.”

Cause (v): 引き起こす、もたらす

– Bring about, be the cause, be the reason

“The earthquake caused a lot of damage.”

Certain (adj): ある

– fixed, definite

Certain teachers are better at teaching conversation.”

Childhood (adj):   幼い

– The time or state of being a child

“I have very fond memories of my childhood.”

Citizen(s) (n): 公民

– A person who is a resident of a city or country

“I was born in Japan, but now I’m an American citizen.”

Close (adj): 親しい

– Feeling intimate, having a strong relationship

“She’s a very close friend, so I can tell her anything.”

Cognitive (adj): 認知の、認知的な

– relating to or about thinking

“Learning is a great cognitive experience.”

Combat (v): 闘争する

– struggle against

“We need to combat prejudice in any way we can.”

Commonalit(y/ies) (n): 共通点、共通性

– Something that is shared or common among two or more people

“Having commonalities is important for maintaining friendships.”

Compete (v): 競争する

– Strive against each other to win or get something

“I love to compete by playing sports.”

Competition (n): 競争

– Striving against others to win or get something.

Competition on Wall Street is fierce!”

Compulsory (adj): 義務的な

– Required, obligatory

“Education is compulsory in many countries in the world.”

Conservative (adj): 保守主義の

– preferring traditional views and values.

“My dad doesn’t want to see many changes in politics, he’s very conservative.”

Condition (v): 慣らす

– cause to be in a certain condition

“Schools condition us to be perfect instead of creative.”

Consider N… (v): 。。だと考える

– Think of s/o as s/t, Regard s/o as s/t

“I consider you my best friend.”

Considerate (adj): 思いやりのある

– Regarding the feelings or needs of others.

“Thank you for being so considerate, and I’m sorry I was so selfish.”

Consistent(ly) (adj/adv): いつもと同じ

– reliable, steady

“It’s important to study consistently if you want to improve.”

Contribute (v): 貢献する

– help bring about a result

“All the stress from work probably contributed to you getting a cold.”

Cosmetic (adj): 美顔用の

– Improving the physical appearance of something

“She’s considering getting cosmetic surgery to hide her wrinkles.”

Countless (adj): 無数の

– incapable of being counted; both countless and innumerable are basically the same.

“He has countless old records at home. I think he’s a collector!”

Curl (v): ひねる

– twist into a spiral shape

“When did you curl your hair?”

Curly (adj): 巻き毛の

– having or looking like curls

“My dog’s fur is very curly.”

Cut (off) (v): 切り捨てる

– Separate from, Discontinue

“My wife dislikes him, so I had to cut off our friendship.”

D

Date (v): 付き合う、デートする

– Go out with someone romantically

“When did you start dating?”

Deadline (n): 期限

– a time limit

“I need to give this to my teacher before the deadline.”

Deal (with) (v): 扱う

– take action on, do business with

“If you don’t deal with your problem now, it will just get worse.”

Deceased (adj): 死亡した

– Dead, passed away (very formal)

“My favorite author is J.R.R. Tolkien. Unfortunately, he’s deceased now.”

Define (v): 意味を説明する、定義する

– State the exact meaning of

“Each person defines beauty differently.”

Describe (v): 説明する

– Give an account or represent what s/t is

“Can you describe your best friend?”

Desire (n): 欲望

– The feeling of wanting of something

“You have to have a strong desire to succeed.”

Demonstration (n): デモ、示威運動

– publicly showing one’s opinion or view, usually in a group.

“We’re going to hold a demonstration downtown tonight, do you want to join?”

Desperate (adj): 必死

– extremely urgent, driven by great need or desire

“Ever since she turned 30 she became desperate to get married.”

Develop (v): 発展する

– Help s/t grow

“It takes time to develop a friendship.”

Development (n): 発展

– the state of being developed

“Technology has really advanced human development.”

Discrepancy (n): 不一致

– Something different, a disagreement

“There’s a discrepancy between your reported income and your spending.”

Discrimination (n): 差別

– treatment based on a group instead of an individual

“Hiring a man instead of a woman, if the woman is better at the job, is sexual discrimination.”

Discuss (v): 話し合う、論じる

– speak with another person or other people about

“I need to discuss this problem with you as soon as possible.”

Distinguish (v): はっきり区別する

– Know the difference or consider as different

“Some people say they can’t distinguish Japanese people from Chinese people.”

Distinction(s): (n) 区別

– Being different in a unique way

“Is there a distinction between ryokucha and macha?”

Distracting (adj): 気を散らす

– Causing to lose focus or attention

“Please turn off the TV while I study, it’s very distracting.”

Doable (adj): 行うことができる、簡単にできる

– Can be done, easy to do

“You want these translations finished by tomorrow?  It’ll be tough, but it’s doable.”

Domestic (adj): 家庭の

– relating to the house or family

“People have owls as pets?  Are they even domestic?”

Domestic animal (noun phrase): 家畜

– an animal kept by people, usually as a pet.

“I’m not sure if foxes are domestic animals, but some people keep them as pets.”

Drawback(s) (n): 不利益、欠点

– Something unfavorable or not beneficial.

“One of the drawbacks to living in the city is all the noise.”

E

Edible (adj): 食べられる

– something that can be eaten; something that was made to be eaten

“Is this yogurt still edible?  It smells really strange.”

Elaborate (v): 詳しく述べる

– explain in greater detail

“He didn’t really elaborate on his plans, so I’m not sure what he’s going to do.”

Eliminate (v): 除去する

– Get rid of, remove

“How can we eliminate poverty?”

Empowering (adj): 力付けた

– Give or provide power or motivation

“His speech was very empowering.”

Engage (v): 従事する

– Get involved in

“When you engage your mind in learning, you become smarter.”

Enhance (v): 高める

– Make better or stronger. add improvements

“I just enhanced my computer by putting in additional memory.”

Entrench (v): 立場を固める

– fix firmly or securely

“Don’t entrench yourself in your beliefs; be flexible.”

Ethics (n): 道義

– a set of principles of right behavior

“Our company has a code of ethics to make sure we treat our customers right.”

Evaluation (n): 評価

– Act of determining the value, importance or effectiveness of something

“The teacher gave us a level evaluation.”

Exactly (adv): 正確に、きっかり

– in an accurate manner

“I need to know exactly what he said.”

Excusable (adj): 申し訳の立つ

– Can be excused

“I’m sorry, but your behavior is inexcusable, so you have to leave now.”

Exist (v): 存在する

– continue to be real or true

“It’s hard to believe that slavery still exists in some parts of the world.”

Experiment (v): 実験をする、試す

– try something new, usually to get better

“If you want to get better at English, you have to experiment with new words and expressions.”

External (adj): 外面の

– related to or connected with the outside part

“It’s good to breathe in external air sometimes.”

Extreme (adj): 極端的

– beyond what is normal

“Communism is a bit extreme, don’t you think?”

Extremely (adv): そこぶった、とても

– very, highly

“It is extremely humid in the summer in Osaka.”

Extrinsic (adj): 外部の

– originally from outside

“They said his condition was from extrinsic causes.”

F

Factor(s) (n): 因子

– something that contributes to a result or process

“Consistency is a big factor in determining success.”

Fragile (adj): はかない

– lacking strength

“His confidence is fragile now, so be nice.”

Frustration (n): 欲求不満

– Feeling or state of discouragement or irritation

Frustration is a normal part of the learning process.”

Fund (v): お金を供給する

– Provide money

“Your purchase funded our school trip, thank you.”

Fur (n): 毛

– The hair covering the body of a mammal.

“Your dog has really long fur!”

G

Gender (n): 性

– sexual identity

“If women get paid less than men for the same job then there is no gender equality.”

Gesture (v): 身ぶりする

– Make a gesture, show by gesture

“Is that woman gesturing at us?”

Glean (v): 収集する

– collect or learn bit by bit

“You can glean a lot of useful English from movies.”

Government(s) (n): 政治

– An agency which administers policies and affairs of a state

“It seems like most people don’t trust the government nowadays.”

Grace (n): 優雅、気品

– Effortless and refined movement, form or behavior.

“The ballet dancer dances with grace.”

Greedy (adj): 欲張りの、貪欲な

– Wanting more than is reasonable.

“Hey, share some of the food! Don’t be so greedy!”

H

Habitat (n): 生息場所

– The area or environment where something or someone naturally lives.

“The jungle is a lion’s natural habitat.”

Hand-cooked (adj): 手作りの

– something that someone cooks by themselves.

“Did you like the food?  It was hand-cooked (by the chef).”

Harassing (adj): 悩ました、困らせた

– Causing irritation or discomfort

“That guy keeps sending me harassing messages, I wish he would stop.”

Helpful (adj): 助けになる

– Providing or offering help

“He fixed my broken sink for free!  He’s so helpful.”

A hermit (n): 仙人

– A person who lives alone, apart from society.

“When I retire, I’m going to become a hermit!”

Highly (adv): 激賞した

– with great admiration or respect

“He thinks very highly of his boss.”

Hobby-horse (n): 常にそこに戻る話題

– a subject or topic one is obsessed with

“English education is my current hobby horse.”

Hold: [手に] 持つ

– keep in one’s hand

Hold (on to) the hand rail while on the escalator.”

Honest (adj): 素直な、真実だけを言うこと

– Not telling lies

“I know you want to be honest but telling a woman her hair looks terrible is a bad idea.”

“How-to” book (n): 実用書

– A book that explains or teaches the reader how to do something.

“Did that how-to book you bought help you learn how to fix the sink?”

I

Identify (v): 把握する

– Figure out the nature or character of something or someone.

“Can you identify the person who stole your purse?”

Immature (adj): 未熟な

– Not fully grown or developed.

“She’s 28, but sometimes she acts like so immature you’d think she’s 16.”

Implement (v): 実行する

– carry out

“How do you intend to implement this plan?”

Incremental(ly) (adj/adv): 増加した

– increasing step by step

“If you are incrementally improving, then you’re doing a good job.”

Indefinitely (adv): 無期限に

– the ending time is not determined

“He said he’s leaving Japan indefinitely.”

Independence (n): 自立

– Ability to take care of oneself

“It is important to teach children independence to prepare them for adult life.”

Infrastructure (n): インフラストラクチャー

The basic facilities, services, and installations needed for a society (transportation, water, electricity, gas, etc.)

“The earthquake destroyed most of the town’s infrastructure.”

Innumerable (adj): 無数の

– incapable of being counted; both countless and innumerable are basically the same.

“He has innumerable old records at home. I think he’s a collector!”

Inspired (adj): 鼓舞された

– excited or guided by inspiration

“I felt inspired to join a volunteer group recently.”

Insult (n): 侮辱

– Something that gives offense, offend

“In America, raising your middle finger to someone is an insult.”

Insulting (adj): 侮辱的な

– Expressing disrespect or rudeness

““Go to hell” is an insulting expression in English.”

Integrate (v): 統一する

– join with something else, unite

“If you can integrate your grammar and vocabulary together, you’ll be a good English speaker.”

Internal (adj): 内面の

– related to or connected with the inside part

“I think your computer is having some internal complications.”

Intrinsic (adj): 内部の

– originating from inside

“When motivation is intrinsic, you never run out of it!”

Issue(s) (n): 論点

– a matter or matters of public concern

“Equality is a very important (public) issue.”

J

Judgment (n): 判断

– Act of judging

“You don’t have the right to pass judgment on others.”

L

Lax (adj): 厳しくない、手ぬるい

– Lacking in strictness, slack

“The security in this place is so lax, anybody can get in easily.”

Lengthy (adj): 長々しい

– considerably long; long and boring

“That novel is really lengthy, how long will it take to read it?”

Liberating (adj): 自由にする

– Setting free

“Being on vacation is liberating.”

Likeable (adj): 好かれやすい

– Easy to like

“You will love her new boyfriend, he’s very likeable.”

Limiting (adj): 制限した

– Acting as a limit

“If your beliefs are limiting, you won’t be able to accomplish much.”

Linear (adj): 直線的な

– In the shape of the line, unmoving

“Improvement doesn’t occur on linear plane.”

Long-Distance (adj): 遠距離の

– between two distant places

“My best friend moved to America, so now he’s a long-distance friend.”

Longevity (n): 寿命

– length of life

“If you want to increase your longevity, you need to eat healthier.

M

Maintain (v): 維持する

– Keep up, continue, preserve, keep in good condition

“I’ve maintained several of my childhood friendships even as an adult.”

Manageable (adj): 扱いやすい、管理できる

– Can be managed, easy to manage

“A smaller house is more manageable than a larger one.”

Mature (adj): 十分に発達した

– showing characteristics typical of a well-developed adult

“Trying to get revenge isn’t very mature; just move on.”

Measure(s) (n): 処置

– a necessary action or necessary actions

“If a country accumulates too much debt, what measures will be taken?”

Meme(s) (n): ミーム

– A meme is a funny image, video or text that is copied and spread around the internet.

“Have you seen that meme about the cats?”

Misconception(s) (n): 誤解

– a false or mistaken view

“High school causes students to have misconceptions about learning.”

Moderate (adj): 穏健な

– against radical or extreme ideas

“Too much change is dangerous, we need to be more moderate.”

Mold (v): 陶冶する

– guide or influence the growth of someone

“Teachers mold the minds of their students.”

N

Never-ending (adj): 終わりのない

– something that does not end; extremely long

“Sometimes it seems like my problems are never-ending.”

Noticeable (adj): すぐに気付く、顕著な

– Easy to notice, can be noticed

“You have lost a noticeable amount of weight, good job!”

O

Obey (v): 服従する

– carry out or comply with a command

“It is important that soldiers obey their superiors.”

Objective(ly) (adj/adv): 客観的な

– Existing independent on the mind

“Think objectively about your mistakes, that will help improve.”

Obstacle(s) (n): 障害、障害物

– Something in the way of progress

“There are lots of obstacles on the way to growth.”

Offensive (adj): 侮辱的な

– causing someone to become angry or upset

“Please don’t tell any of your offensive jokes to our new friends.”

Ongoing (adj): 進行中の

– currently taking place; in progress

“Learning is an ongoing process.”

P

Paradigm (n): 見方

– A set of assumptions

“If you are pessimistic, you might want to consider your paradigm.”

Parameter(s) (n): 制限範囲

– a factor that determines the range of possibilities

“It’s important to set parameters for children’s behavior.”

Part(y/ies) (n): 政党

– An established political group

“Do you know how many parties there are in Japan?”

Pass Away (phrasal v): なくなる

– die (polite, formal)

“I was very sorry to hear your grandfather passed away.”

Passive(ly) (adj/adv): 受動性の

– Receiving stimulation without responding actively

“Many people think listening is a passive activity, but it’s not.”

Pattern(s) (n): 様式、傾向

– something that happens consistently

“In order to overcome your bad habits, you have to recognize your patterns of behavior.”

Patriotism (n): 愛国心

– Love of one’s country

“Having a national flag in one’s home shows patriotism.”

Penalty (n): 刑罰

– a punishment required for breaking a rule, usually money.

“What is the penalty for driving through a red light in Japan?”

Personality (n): 性格

– All the inner traits of a person.

“Being attractive isn’t enough, you need to have a good personality, too.”

Plastic Surgery (n): 形成外科

– Surgery to restore or repair external body parts.

“Do you think plastic surgery will make me look more beautiful?”

Point (v): 指を指す

– Aim or direct one’s finger at someone or something

“You shouldn’t point directly at people, it’s rude.”

Pop culture (n): 大衆文化

– Culture that we learn from the media, like TV, movies, YouTube or even popular books.

“If you don’t know the pop culture of a country it’s hard to understand their jokes.”

Poverty (n): 貧乏

– The state of being poor.

“Nobody wants to live in poverty.”

Prejudice (n): 先入観

– unreasonable, preconceived ideas or judgments

“Jackie Robinson overcame racial prejudice in America and become one of the most famous baseball players of all time.”

Prestigious (adj): 名声のある

– having a high/good reputation

“The Nobel prize is one of the most prestigious prizes in the world.”

Print media (n): 印刷媒体

– Newspapers and magazines

“Where do you get your news from, broadcast media or print media?”

Printable (adj): 印刷できる

– Can be printed, easy to print

“These worksheets are printable, so you can make copies of them easily.”

Process (n): 過程

– A series of actions that lead to a certain result

“Learning is a life-long process.”

Progressive (adj): 前進的な

– preferring progress towards better or different views or values

“President Obama is trying to change healthcare and welfare, he’s very progressive.”

Promising (adj): 末頼もしい

– Likely to develop into something great.

“If he keeps doing this well, his future looks promising.”

Protest (v): 異議を申し立てる

– formally showing or expression disapproval

“I often see people protesting nuclear weapons on the street.”

Proverb(s) (n): 諺

– A short and common or popular saying.

“A very popular proverb in Japanese is 知らぬは仏.”

Q

Qualit(y/ies) (n): 特性

A characteristic or trait, something used to describe something else

“Honesty is an important quality in a friend.”

R

Racial (adj): 人種上の、人種間の

– about or related to race

“Segregation is an example of racial discrimination.”

Radical (adj): 急進的な

– preferring revolutionary changes

“America has been a democratic republic for a long time, changing it to a communist state is pretty radical!”

Rational/Irrational (adj): 合理的な・不合理な

– (not) Based on reason; logical

“Smoking is not a rational habit.”

Record(s) (n): 世評

– An unsurpassed measurement.

“The record for eating a 72 ounce steak the fastest is three minutes.”

Reflect (v): 熟考する、反省する

– Consider seriously and carefully

“It’s important to not only study, but reflect on your studying.”

Regard (v): 見なす

– consider in a particular way

“She regards me very highly.”

Reputation (n): 評判,世評

– what other people think of someone or something

“He doesn’t have a very good reputation.  He needs to improve it.”

Restricting (adj): 制限した

– preventing from going past certain limits

“Living in small town is kind of restricting.”

Retain (v): 記憶する

– Keep in mind, memorize

“It’s hard to retain all this vocabulary for a test.”

Reunion(s) (n): 再会の集い

A gathering of people who have been separated for a long time.

“I saw lots of old friends at my high school reunion.”

Revolutionary (adj): 革命的な

– resulting in a radical change

“America’s independence was revolutionary at the time.”

Reward (n): 報い、ほうび

– a satisfying consequence of good behavior

“A nice bath is a good reward for a day of hard work.”

Rewarding (adj): 価値のある

– Providing satisfaction

“Sometimes just working really hard is a rewarding experience by itself.”

(The) Rich (n) : 裕福層, 富裕層

– People who have a lot of money.

“Where do the rich live?”

Role(s) (n): 役

– expected behavior of an individual based on his or her position in society

“I think my favorite role in life is being a father.”

Rural (adj): 田舎の

– relating to the countryside

“Shiga is a very rural area.”

S

Saying(s) (n): 諺、格言

– A proverb or maxim

“‘Look before you leap’ is my favorite saying.”

Self-Esteem (n): 自尊

– Respect or pride in oneself.

“It is hard to be happy if you don’t have any self-esteem.”

Self-reliance (n): 自立

– Relying on one’s own abilities

“Children should develop self-reliance at an early age.”

Setback(s) (n): 頓挫、逆行

– an unexpected stop in progress, a change from better to worse

“It’s normal to experience setbacks in progress.”

Sign Language (n): 手話

– A language used by making signs with one’s hands

“How do you say your name in sign language?”

Signal (v): 合図する

– Make a sound or gesture to someone to communicate

“How do I signal a waiter in the US?”

Skill(s) (n): 技能、技術

– trained or developed ability

“He has some skill at speaking English.”

Slither (V): 滑るように進む

– glide or slide; describes the way a snake moves

“The snake slithered across the grass.”

Slithery (adj): つるつるした、狡猾な

– Literal meaning: to be slippery, to slide a lot

– Figurative meaning: tricky, clever, cunning (negative!)

“Snakes are slithery.”

“That guy is very slithery.  I don’t trust him.”

Societ(y/ies) (n): 社会

– all social relationships between people

“People couldn’t survive without the benefits of society.”

Spend (v): 過ごす

– Use, specifically time or money.

“Some women spend hours putting make up on every day.”

“I spent way too much money in Vegas.”

Spread (v): 広がる、流布する

– Distribute widely, stretch out

“The news spread across the country quickly.”

Stray (adj): はぐれた

– have wandered away from one’s natural habitat or home

“The stray tourist found her way back to the hotel after a few hours.”

Stray animal (noun phrase): 野良ー

– an animal which has wandered away from one’s natural habitat or home

“There are a lot of stray cats in my neighborhood.”

Support (v): 支える

– Provide for or maintain by giving money or resources

“We need to support each other sometimes.”

T

Take care of (phrasal verb): 大事にする

– take control of, make sure s/t or s/o is ok

“If you don’t take care of your problems now, they’ll just get worse.”

Task(s) (n): すること、仕事

– a piece of work to be completed

“Washing the dishes is one of my tasks at work.”

Taxes (n): 税

– A required contribution for support of one’s government.

“I heard the sales tax [消費税] went up recently.”

Think of (v): 考える、思い浮かべる

– Choose in one’s mind

“Can you think of a good movie to watch tonight?”

Thrilling (adj): ワクワクさせる

– causing to feel pleasure, exciting greatly

“Having a conversation in a foreign language is thrilling.”

Toward(s) (prep): に向かって、のほうに

– in the direction of

“Negotiation is the first step towards peace.”

Trade-off (n): より有利なもの得るために何かを差し出す取引

– Accept something bad in order to get something good.

“I got a smaller car because it consumes less fuel, even though it’s a little less comfortable.  I think it’s a good trade-off.”

Trait(s) (n): 特性

– A feature or aspect of one’s personality or character.

“Honesty is a very important character trait.”

Trick (n): 芸当

– a special skill

“Your dog is smart!  Can he do any tricks?”

Tuck into (phrasal verb): 寛大に食べる

– eat in an enjoyable way

“After a hard day of work, I like to tuck into a good meal.”

U

Understanding (adj): 物分かりが良い

– Appreciating the thoughts or feelings of others.

“I thought he would never forgive me, but he was so understanding.”

Unequal (adj): 平等ではない

– Not equal.

“The pay at that place is still unequal, someone should complain.”

Unfair(ly) (adj/adv): 不公平な・に

– not justly or evenly

“I don’t appreciate how unfairly you treat me.”

Unique (adj): 唯一の

– The only one of its kind

“Every country has its own unique culture.”

Universal (adj): 世間一般の

– Related to or the same everywhere in the world

“Some gestures are universal, like waving at someone to greet them.”

V

Valuable (adj): 価値の高い、重要な、高価な

– Easy to value; important

“These photos of my childhood are very valuable to me, please don’t lose them.”

Value (v): 大事にする、尊ぶ

– regard highly, think s/t or s/o is important

“If you don’t value your friends and family, you could lose them.”

Variable (adj): 可変の、変わられる

– Can vary; varies easily

“The quality of the food at that cafe is variable, so I don’t recommend it.”

Virtually (adv): 実質的に、ほとんど

– Almost but not quite, practically

Virtually no Japanese people speak English fluently.”

Visible (adj): 目に見える

– Possible to see, can be seen

“Even from this distance, the building is visible.”

Vital (adj): 重要な

– Necessary for the effectiveness of something

“Creating consistent habits is vital to improvement.”

Vote (v): 投票する

– Express preference for a candidate or  resolution of an issue

“I’m going to vote at the next election.”

Vote(s) (n): 投票

– The act of voting

“Every vote counts.”

W

Wealthy (adj): 裕福な

– Having a lot of money.

“When I grow up, I want to be wealthy.”

Welfare (n): 福祉

– Financial aid provided by the government.

“Does Japan care about welfare?”

Whole (adj): 全体の

– not divided, as one piece/part

“Did you eat the whole pizza by yourself?”

Wild (adj): 野育ちの

– not domestic or tame

“He went wild when he saw another guy talking to his girl.”

Wild animals (expression): 野生動物

– animals which are not or cannot be tamed or domesticated

“You can see wild animals in the zoo.”

Workplace (n): 仕事場

– a place where a person works

“Most people’s workplace is an office.”

Y

Yearbook(s) (n): 卒業アルバム

– a memorial book published once a year, usually in high schools and usually at the end of the year, that has information on what happened that year.

“Sometimes I like to look through my old yearbooks and remember my days in high school.”

Technical Glossary

Hey guys!

So I’ve decided to create a page where I will collect any technical vocabulary I use in my blog.

Technical vocabulary is vocabulary related to language or linguistics.  We don’t use it very often in regular conversation, but I use it a lot when I teach English to my students.

I will update this page any time I use any new technical words or expressions, so please check back once in a while!

I will list each word, then

  • Its Japanese translation
  • Its part of speech
  • Its meaning
  • Some examples (if possible)

A

Ability

  • 機能
  • Noun
  • Quality of being able to do something

Abstract

  • 抽象ー
  • Adjective
  • Not concrete; not visible or tangible

Action Verb

  • 一般動詞
  • Noun
  • A verb which expresses an action
  • Run, jump, take, grab, hit

Active form/tense

  • 活性形
  • Noun
  • The regular verb conjugation of a verb

Active verb

  • 能動態動詞
  • Noun
  • A verb that has been conjugated regularly

Adjective

  • 形容詞
  • Noun
  • A word that describes a noun
  • big, easy, silly, fun, challenging

Adjective form

  • 形容詞形
  • Noun
  • A way to say a verb or noun as an adjective

Adverb

  • 副詞
  • Noun
  • A word that describes a verb or an adjective
  • quickly, carefully, very, somewhat

Affirmative

  • 肯定的な
  • Adjective
  • answering with a “yes”

Appropriate

  • ふさわしい
  • adjective
  • suitable or fitting for a condition or situation

Assume

  • 勝手に思う
  • Verb
  • take for granted, believe, suppose

B

Broad

  • 意味の広い
  • Adjective
  • Having a wide range of meanings

Build

  • 築き上げる
  • Verb
  • increase

C

Certainty

  • 確実、確信
  • Noun
  • Confidence that something is true

Check

  • 確認する
  • Verb
  • verify or consult to make sure is correct or accurate

Clarify

  • 明らかにする
  • Verb
  • Make clear or easy to understand

Clear

  • 明白な
  • Adjective
  • Easily understandable

Collocate

  • 連語になる
  • Verb
  • occur together in order

Collocation

  • 連語、連語を作ること
  • Noun
  • The act of collocating, the state of being collocated

Common

  • 普通の、よくあること
  • Adjective
  • Used often and/or by many people

Concrete

  • 有形の
  • Adjective
  • Material or tangible, not abstract

Connotation

  • 意外の意味
  • Noun
  • An idea or feeling associated with a word

Construct

  • 組み立てる
  • Verb
  • Form by putting parts together

Context

  • 文脈
  • Noun
  • The situation in which something happens

D

Degree

  • 度合い
  • Noun
  • The extent or measure of something

Double entendre

  • 両儀を持つ語句
  • Noun
  • a word or expression that has two meanings, one of them is usually humorous.

E

Effective

  • 効力のある
  • Adjective
  • Having the intended or desired effect

Error(s)

  • 間違え
  • Noun
  • a mistake

Express

  • 言い表す、表現する
  • Verb
  • Put into words, communicate, make feelings or thoughts known

Expression(s)

  • 表現
  • Noun
  • A particular word or phrase

F

Formal

  • 形式の
  • Adjective
  • Following accepted norms or rules

G

Grammatical

  • 文法的
  • Adjective
  • About or relating to grammar

I

Impolite

  • 失礼な、無礼な
  • Adjective
  • Not polite

Indicate

  • 指摘する
  • Verb
  • Show

Inquire

  • 尋ねる
  • Verb
  • Seek information by asking a question

Informal

  • 会話体の、形式ばらない
  • Adjective
  • Not formal

Interchangeable

  • 入れ替えられる
  • Adjective
  • Can be changed with something else

Interjection

  • 感嘆詞
  • Noun
  • A part of speech that expresses an affective state and stands on its own
  • Uh, what, wow, cool, yay

Intransitive verb

  • 自動詞
  • Noun
  • A verb which does not require an object

K

Key point

  • 重点
  • Noun
  • An important part, aspect or part

L

Language Transfer

  • Noun
  • Applying rules or knowledge from one’s native language to a foreign language

Listener

  • 聞き手
  • Noun
  • The person or people listening

Living Suffix

  • 生き接頭辞
  • Noun
  • A suffix which can be added to any verb to form a new word

M

Modal(s)/Modal Verb(s)

  • 法助動詞
  • Noun
  • A helping verb that expresses possibility or necessity

N

Narrow

  • 意味の狭い
  • Adjective
  • Having only one or very few meanings

Natural

  • 自然な
  • Adjective
  • Expected or accepted as normal or correct

Necessity

  • 不可避性
  • Noun
  • Being necessary or unavoidable

Negative

  • 消極的な
  • Adjective
  • Not positive

Negative Form

  • 不定形
  • Noun
  • The form of a form that is in the negative
  • Unhappy, impossible, indirect

Neutral

  • 中立の
  • Adjective
  • Having neither positive nor negative connotation

(Not) Necessarily

  • とは限らない
  • Adverb
  • Sometimes true but not always

Noun Form

  • 名詞形
  • Noun
  • A way to change an adjective or verb into a noun

Numeral(s)

  • 数詞
  • Noun

O

Object

  • 目的語
  • Noun
  • The part of the sentence after the subject and verb

Outdated

  • 時代遅れの
  • Adjective
  • old-fashioned, not commonly used any more

P

Parrot

  • おうむ返しに言う
  • Verb
  • Repeat without understanding

Passive form/tense

  • 動詞の形態
  • Noun
  • A verb conjugation that uses “be” and the past participle

Passive verb

  • 受動詞
  • Noun
  • A verb used in the past participle with “be”

Past Participle

  • 過去分詞
  • Noun
  • A verb form used in perfect and passive tenses and sometimes as an adjective

Perfect Tense

  • 完了形
  • Noun
  • A verb tense that uses “have” with a past participle

Permission

  • 許可
  • Noun
  • Permitting, allowing

Phrasal Verb

  • 句動詞
  • Noun
  • A verb with another word or words (usually prepositions) that takes on a particular meaning

Phrase

  • Noun
  • A sequence of words that have meaning but are not a sentence

Polite

  • 丁寧な
  • Adjective
  • Showing consideration for others

Possibility

  • 可能性
  • Noun
  • Being possible

Preposition

  • 前置詞
  • Noun
  • A word that indicates a relation between two nouns or a verb and a noun or an adjective and noun

Pronunciation

  • 発音
  • Noun
  • Utterance of speech in a certain sound

Q

Quantifiable

  • 量化できる
  • Adjective
  • Able to be counted

Quantity

  • Noun
  • An exact number or amount

Question word

  • 疑問詞
  • Noun
  • A word that is used to make an open question
  • Who, what, where

R

Redundant

  • 余剰的な
  • Adjective
  • Needlessly repeated

Repeat

  • 繰り返す
  • Verb
  • Say the same thing someone else says

Request

  • 要請、頼む
  • Noun, verb
  • Politely asking someone to do something for you

Require

  • 必要とする
  • Verb
  • Have or make a necessity

Root (word)

  • 語根
  • Noun
  • the main component of a word
  • mem, vis, audi(o)

S

Sentence

  • 文章
  • Noun
  • A group of words which forms a coherent meaning and can stand on its own.  It contains at least a subject and verb and usually an object.

Speaker

  • 話し手
  • Noun
  • The person or people who speak

Specific

  • 特定の
  • Adjective
  • Explicit, definite, intended for or applying to a particular thing

State

  • 状態
  • Noun
  • The way something is

State

  • 述べる
  • Verb
  • Say something is true

Statement

  • Noun
  • A sentence which is not a question or a command

Stative Verb

  • 状態動詞
  • Noun
  • A verb that expresses a state

Stiff

  • 堅苦しい、堅い
  • Adjective
  • Overly formal

Stress

  • アクセント
  • Noun
  • The force with which a syllable is spoken

Subject

  • 主語
  • Noun
  • The first part of a sentence, before the verb

Subtle

  • 微細な
  • Adjective
  • So small it is difficult to notice

Suffix

  • 接頭辞
  • Noun
  • A part added at the end of a root
  • -able, -ible, -ly, -ment

T

Tend

  • 傾向がある
  • Verb
  • Be true often or in most cases

Tone

  • 語調
  • Noun
  • The pitch of a spoken expression

Transitive Verb

  • 他動詞
  • Noun
  • A verb which requires a direct object

U

Uncommon

  • 珍しい、よくあることではない
  • Adjective
  • Not used often or by many people

V

Verb

  • 動詞
  • Noun
  • A word that indicates an action or a state
  • Go, stay, have, be, take

Verb form

  • 動詞形
  • Noun
  • The way to change a noun or adjective into a verb

Verb tense

  • 動詞の時制
  • Noun
  • The conjugation of a verb that determines the time of the action or state
  • Present simple tense, past continuous tense, present perfect continuous tense, etc.

 

6 Myths Regarding Learning English, Part 2

Welcome back!

For those of you who missed it, two weeks I posted about three myths regarding learning English.  If you haven’t checked it out, please do!  It may help you on your journey towards English mastery!

Now, on to the last three!

Myth #4: If you are studying and practicing well, you shouldn’t be making mistakes.

A lot of English learners, my students included, get very frustrated about making mistakes.  It seems like no matter how much they learn, they keep making mistakes.  But if you’ve been making a lot of effort and studying hard, shouldn’t you make fewer mistakes?

No.

The amount of studying you do has no effect on how many mistakes you’ll make, or how often.  Vice versa, the amount of mistakes you make or how often you make mistakes has no bearing on well you are progressing.

In fact, I’d say the better you get, the more mistakes you should make!

Why is that?  Well, as you get better, you should realize that making mistakes is how you grow and improve!  In other words, the more mistakes you make, the more opportunities you have to get better at English.  It’s a natural part of your growth.  Learning a foreign language is a life-long process.  Even native speakers can get better at their own language.

As you practice English more and more, you should realize just how little effect mistakes actually have on you and your progress.  You should realize most people don’t care, or even notice, most of your errors.  You should realize that you can make mistakes, even lots of mistakes, and still be a good speaker!

All of this should make you more comfortable with making mistakes.

So, unless you’re making very basic mistakes, mistakes are nothing to worry about.

Myth #5: If you don’t understand what the book or teacher says and you need to ask questions, you’re probably not too smart.

While I think the next myth is probably more prevalent myth, I think this one is the most important one to dispel.

It is absolutely NOT  true.

In fact, I want to go so far as to say the opposite is more likely true: the more curious you are, the more you will want to understand, and the more you will want to ask questions.  In fact, the more deeply you want to understand something, the more questions you will have!  This is the sign of a very intelligent and inquisitive person, not a dummy!

In addition, even though many textbook writers and teachers understand the language or education very well, they aren’t always good at explaining things.  Sometimes teachers explain things badly, or too quickly, or not clearly enough.

Every student has his or her own learning style.  Yours might be visual – maybe you need to see pictures – or it might be audio – maybe you need a clear explanation that you can think about – or it might be kinesthetic – maybe you need to actually do it yourself to get it – or you might need to sit down and read the information.  Your teacher’s style may be different from yours, so they may be teaching in a way that’s easy for them to understand, but not you!

Because learning is your responsibility, it is also your responsibility to ask questions when you don’t understand something.  Pretending to understand something is not a good idea.

Myth #6: Learning happens on a straight, even incline.

45line

Many people assume learning goes something like that.  You study for one hour today, and next Tuesday and the Wednesday after that, and your improvement will be exactly the same every time.

Wrong.

Think about it.  You’re a human being.  You have good days and bad days.  You have busy days and free days.  You get sick some times.  Things happen every day that affect your mood and motivation.

Beyond that, your mind works in unusual ways.  Sometimes it needs a break, other times it’s ready to receive and integrate lots of information.  Sometimes certain study methods don’t work, other times they seem to work perfectly.  Some teachers are better than others.  Different learners have different strengths.  We’re not computers uploading programs.  We’re people.

If you want to know what actual learning progress is like, check this out.

Unfortunately, plateaus, troughs and declines are just as common and normal as progress.  If you feel stuck, or like you’re even getting worse, that’s nothing to worry about.  It’s all a necessary and natural part of the learning experience.

Anyway,  I hope I managed to dispel some myths that you are holding!  If you have any questions, or if you are wondering about other beliefs regarding learning, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment, send me a message or find me on twitter!

Group Discussions: Jobs & Work, Like & Dislikes

Hello everybody!

On Saturday (April 25th) we’ll talk about jobs and work.

On Monday (April 27th), we’ll discuss a light topic before we head into Golden Week: likes and dislikes!  Most of these questions will be pretty simple, so I’m not going to have levels this time, just some sample questions.

Saturday

Here are some new questions you might hear (new lexis is in italics):

1. Do any industries have bad working conditions in Japan?

2. Which shift is the best to work?

3. How hard is it to become a billionaire by working?

Click here to see the lexical set and the previous questions!

Monday

Here they are:

1. What kind of music do you like?

2. Do you like to play sports?

3. Do you like movies from other countries?

4. What is your favorite color?

5. Are there any foods you don’t like?

6. What TV shows don’t you like? OR What TV shows do you dislike?

This topic is pretty straightforward, so no additional lexis will be necessary!  Just have some topics in mind that you want to talk or ask about!  See you then!

Today’s English Grammar: Action nouns vs. Gerunds

Hey guys!

One of my higher level students gave me a really tough question last year.

Some English learners may notice that English has both gerunds (verbs with the “-ing” suffix) and action nouns.  Sometimes, one word can take on both forms!  Here are some examples:

 

Gerunds Action Nouns
Arriving Arrival
Inspecting Inspection

There are many, many more!

Both of them function as nouns, but both describe actions or things happening.  So what’s the difference.

It’s actually very simple!

  • Gerunds are not countable, so they refer to the action in general!
  • Action nouns are (usually) countable, so they refer to a specific action or event.

Here are some examples:

“We are waiting for his arriving.” X

“We are waiting for his arrival.”  O

“There was attacking on Gaza recently.”  X

“There was an attack on Gaza recently.” O

Editing newspapers is hard work.” O

The edit of a newspaper is hard work.” X

Evaluating students’ work is important.” O

The evaluation of students’ work is important.” X

That’s it!  Hope that helps, and hit me up if you have any questions!