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08

29

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QW 082912 “Joy and Happiness”

The article that I discussed with my online English tutor last night was about education and happiness. We finished regular sequences of a lesson in about 1o minutes, with which I had no problem, and spent the remaining time of 15 minutes discussing happiness in life. Among various questions posed by the tutor, the following question came back to me: What’s the difference between joy and happiness? My initial response to this question was that they’re different because even if you’re not joyful or you’re not feeling joy you can still be happy. Of course joy can bring happiness, but there are other sources that bring happiness to you.

Then the tutor asked me this question: Is happiness at a higher level than joy? What I said was that it’s not a matter of higher or lower; they’re just different. Joy is more specific and happiness is more general. Both are the names attached to person’s inner feelings, but in my understanding, being happy or happiness is broader or more general compared to joy.

Here I keep pondering. What is joy in learning English and what makes me happy as far as my English learning is concerned? I can’t instantly answer this question. I’m not learning English because I want to feel joy or happiness. I’m just learning English simply because I just want to. I consider myself as a happy English learner although others may not consider me as. What I know is I’m happy and joyful while learning English no matter how boring, painstaking, or depressing what I do to my English may be.

(30 minutes / 267 words)

[広告] VPS
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08

26

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QW 082612 “English learning is not language learning?”

It makes me curious to see some people consider English learning is NOT language learning. Believe me, there’re learners out there who are dead serious in claiming that they’re learning English, not a language. I’ve heard claims from adult English learners that they’re not good at using English because they’re not good at using a language. What are they trying to get at? I don’t really know. If they’re attributing their poor English proficiency, speaking skills in most cases I guess, to their poor language ability, I’d go “Then what?” If you’re not good at certain things, which is not at all uncommon to anybody, but you need to or want to become good at it, you’d just try hard, harder than those who you’d think are naturally talented. Am I making sense?

It makes me sad to see some people consider English learning is studying simply for a test. I have no idea of how vain and empty such only-for-test learning could be. As an English learner, I consider myself as a very lucky one because I’ve always been fascinated by the language. All the way from Day 1. I’ve never studied the language simply for a test. Of course, I’ve taken various kinds of English proficiency tests and am taking some for research purposes as an English teacher. However, those English proficiency tests are always accessory to my objective of English learning. If you’re learning English strictly for the sake of tests or meeting requirements forced by employers or schools, you can reconsider and shift the focus of your English learning. And always remember how vain and empty only-for-test learning could be.

(25 minutes / 274 words)

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08

23

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QW 082212 “Let’s get accented”

In the previous QW piece, I wrote that my new orientation is on intonation, rhythm, melody, and the overall vibe to make me sound more natural and spontaneous while speaking English. Now I’m trying to obtain more natural rhythm and tempo in my speech by being exposed to English with accents. As an English learner who could choose to be neutral from any accents that most of the native speakers wouldn’t avoid having, I’ve long thought being able to speak English with no particular accents can be one of the ideal form of English proficiencies. I wouldn’t say I was wrong, but it seems that I could try something I’ve never tried to further improve my speaking.

Now I’d really like to get rid of my Japanese accents and mid-sentence rising intonations that could be attributed to my first language. Every time I play back the recordings with online English tutors, I cannot help noticing those intonations of mine here and there. Which I really hate. There has been some noticeable improvement on my vowel production since the beginning of May. It’s time to focus on broader aspects; rhythm and intonation.

For the past few days, I listened to English with the Brooklyn accent. Did you know that there are lots of English speakers who’d think English with the Brooklyn accent very cool? I read comments submitted by the viewers of several Youtube videos about the Brooklyn accent, and knew there are such people. The Brooklyn accent that I’ve so far heard on in movies and videos sounds charming and far from being pretentious. It’s kind of distinctive, so I guess English learners will identify its features a bit more easily than other accents to get the vibe of the language. I won’t be able to copy or mimic the accent very well, but can get the vibe and flavor of its tempo, rhythm, and intonation.

(30 minutes / 316 words)

"Goodfellas"(1990): Simply great movie in which you can enjoy listening to the brooklyn accent
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08

20

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QW 082012 “A new orientation”

It’s been three weeks since my previous pronunciation teacher, seemingly, left the school. During those weeks, once again, I kept realizing that I might sound a bit better with other teachers than with him. I’m basing this statement on numerous recorded files of the lessons, so it might be legitimate. My pronunciation teacher used to say that I would sound better when I’m unconscious than I’m conscious and focused on pronunciation. Isn’t that kind of a discouraging comment to hear? Well, in fact, I must admit that it represents the reality. I can tell. While being with my pronunciation teacher, I used to be careful and conscious about how I pronounce each word, each phrase, and each sentence; always on the watch, so to speak. In fact, it’s not at all a bad thing for a devoted English learner to try doing. I can be more confident with the way I speak the language with others instead. The thing is, I’ve already graduated, or had to graduate, the intensive pronunciation sessions that I had been engaged since the beginning of May.

It might not be just a coincidence that two people gave me the similar comment on my pronunciation last week; I have a tendency to have rising intonations at the end of certain mid-sentence words or the end of sentences. It could be either the result of my L1 interference or just the habit that I’ve oddly developed, or both. Anyway, it seems that I’ll need to work more on the intonation and melody to make me sound more smooth and natural. Okay, “natural” is a tricky word. You can define “natural” in any possible ways. For me, being natural in terms of English pronunciation is; 1) being free from the L1 influence, 2) being intelligible to both L1 and L2 speakers of English, 3) speaking with the standard American accent, and 4) at the same time, sounding spontaneous and not contrived. I want my speech sound clear and understandable, but I don’t want to sound mechanic, contrived or even “bookish”. The biggest disadvantage that I have is that I basically self-taught myself how to speak English within the country, not in English speaking countries. I’m neither complaining nor whining. I’m just stating the fact that I need to do a lot more to my English pronunciation availing myself of whatever effective to make me sound more natural, spontaneous, and still intelligible. In order to do so, my focus should shift to more global elements, such as intonation, rhythm, melody, and “the vibe”.

These days, I observe noticeable improvement of my speech while I read aloud three or four pages of a paperback every morning. I’ve been doing this practice for more than six months. It was three months before I started my pronunciation project that the Ondoku Practice had started. Initially, I was dissatisfied with every aspect of my speech. Now I can give okay to some of the aspects that I think need to be worked on. Remember, it was not until I worked on my pronunciation for as long as three months. Well, well, anything takes just “three months” to see improvement; that’s what my friend said. For the next three months, I mean until the end of November, I’ll be focusing on my intonation, rhythm, melody, and “the vibe” to realize “naturalness” I’m pursuing.

(60 minutes / 559 words)

This Web site might be helpful to some; AT&T Natural Voices® Text-to-Speech Demo

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08

18

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QW 081712 “Inside and Outside the Place”

This morning on the way to Manila International airport, I first saw, from a luxurious Toyota SUV, many local Filipinos who’re living outside the resort we were staying in. Inside the place, everything was perfectly arranged for its visitors from overseas; exotic meals, comfortable spas, soothing yoga programs, clean pools, timely afternoon tea, and convenient free wi-fi network. The staff are so warm, attentive, and hospitable, and speak good English. The place is what you’d call “A Dream World”. Once you get out and see what’s happening in the real world, a different world is coming at you. Roads are not paved, and thus bumpy. Buses are full of passengers. Tricycles are carrying more than two people. Some of the houses and buildings are about to collapse. And above all those things, I saw some sort of “hopelessness” in people’s eyes. I’m not being philanthropic, or I might be, but I couldn’t help feeling bad or guilty or at least uneasy about having stayed in such a snobbish resort doing all the snobbish stuff. It felt as if our luxury was something very, very shallow, and it could’ve been so. I may sound like a hypocrite, but that was exactly what came up to my mind on the way back to my safe, developed, home country. This trip has made me want to know more about the country, seriously.

(30 minutes / 229 words)

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Aya

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上記広告は1ヶ月以上更新のないブログに表示されています。新しい記事を書くことで広告を消せます。