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Perfection doesn't have limits

There's only one day left for the year 2012. In terms of English learning, this year has been "Year of Speaking" for me. At the very end of 2011, I started taking Skype-based online English lessons, and since then, I've been talking with English tutors in the Philippines almost every day until early November. For the first six months, my focus was on pronunciation because it's always one of the major interests that I have for my English learning. Until around Golden Week holidays, Eric was the head teacher for me. He's a former pronunciation trainer for professional disc jockeys in the country, and was also an instructor for a pronunciation training sponsored by the government. He was very, very particular about mispronounced vowels, especially diphthongs. His feedback and comments were harsh sometimes, which I’m missing somehow. He always wanted me to sound spontaneous, not mechanical. It was not easy for me to speak spontaneously while paying careful attention to how I'd pronounce each word, but he required me to do so. After five-month intensive training, he finally gave me very positive feedback. In fact I didn't realize improvement of my pronunciation back then. It was only after I stopped taking his lessons that I noticed something has changed in my speaking. Among so many things I learned from Eric, the biggest enlightenment for me was that it takes much more time and effort to improve my pronunciation than expected, but what was invested would finally yield great results. The six months with Eric and subsequent months during which I focused on pronunciation were paid off to the extent that I now feel much more comfortable with the way I pronounce English words and phrases. It doesn't mean at all that I'm good or perfect. The most important thing for me here is that I've become better than before, like earlier this year.

As some of the visitors here may know, I kept writing a quick essay as Quick Write since June in 2011. The beauty of Quick Write hasn't lost its meaning to me, and to anybody, but I started thinking a little differently a while ago. When I started this writing exercise 18 months ago, I think I needed as many opportunities to write in English as possible, and to develop the habit of writing in English. The initial objectives were achieved, as I see it, and I'm ready to move on to the next phase. Looking back at the year 2011, it was “Year of Writing”. In December 2010, I started this blog "Learning by Teaching". A few weeks after its launch, I wrote my very first bog post in English, and got fascinated. Nothing gave more pleasure than writing in English, and made me want to be a better writer. Then I thought; to be any better writer you need exercise. Then sometime later that moment, I came up with an idea to write every day for 10-15 minutes. Supported by my English learning friends, I kept Quick Writing for more than a year and produced 375 QW posts. I planned to continue QWing until I've written 1000 pieces, but I don't know. Now I'm more leaning toward to refining the quality and content of what I'd write, not much of the quantity and the act of writing for its own sake. It might be true that publishing my first book has changed my perspectives on writing in general. In publication a writer is responsible for everything that he or she has written. The writer can be wrong or misunderstood, but at least he or she has to make sure that every word, every sentence, every passage in the publication represents he or she really intended. The writer needs to scrutinize, scrutinize, and scrutinize what he or she drafted out to convey their messages that are to be delivered. This whole deliberate process of book writing has diverted my focus of English writing practice from its quantity and habit and shifted it to its quality and content. I love writing in English nonetheless because it has already become part of me, but I'll no longer write so frequently like I used to do.

Then why not talk about the year of 2013? I'm not very sure about my English learning focus for the next year yet. Now I’m wondering if I should go back to the basics; reading and listening. I mean I need to do more of "reading to write, and listening to speak". It may sound banal and boring to the visitors here, so I apologize to you all in advance. I'm aware that I'm an output-oriented person: I want to speak and write regardless of the language medium. The thing is, if you really want to improve and enhance the quality of your output, not just for self-congratulatory purposes, you'll need to input what you'd consider has high quality, and thus makes you want to emulate. I don't know what I'll be doing intensively for the next year really, but it's obvious that I need to have more input to improve my output, definitely.



perfection doesnt have limits
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The 12th Must Read Dokkai Review (読解特急4 ビジネス文書編)

Let's celebrate an opportunity to read and learn from the latest version of this highly educative as well as readable and interesting book review series; the 12th Dokkai review

The other day some English learner and I talked about the DT reviewer. What I told her was that it would definitely be his that I'd choose were I forced to pick up the only one blog to read for the rest of my English learning life. She rolled her eyes upon hearing my bold statement.

Let me first cite the following remark on "diverse vs. different" in the review:
" [NOTE: It might be possible to put it this way; "English learners in Japan are diverse" is internal, whereas "English learners in Japan are different" is external, though there must be a lot of 'delving-into, deliberating-over and expounding-on' to be done before fully verifying it.]" - DOKKAI 4 p.216 読解特急4ビジネス文書編 — DT4

Why not check dictionary definitions on these two words to begin with?

diverse (a): very different from each other and of various kinds
Example a: people from diverse cultures
Example b: My interests are very diverse.

different (a): 1) not the same as somebody/something; not like somebody/something else 2) separate and individual 3) unusual
Example c: People often give very different accounts of the same event.
Example d: They are sold in many different colours.

Reference: Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

Now do you agree or disagree with the statement by the reviewer that diverse is internal while different is external? I sort of agree with his perspective in that "diverse" usually modifies a group of something or somebody whereas "different" always connotes something to compare besides the subject mentioned. See Example b sentence. Do you think that you can replace diverse with different, as "My interests are different."? Well, you can do so with a certain context that implies from what my interests are different, as "My interests are different (from yours/the ones people around my age would have/what you would expect, etc...)"

When you use an adjective "different" for a noun, you'd always have something else in mind to compare and contrast the noun to be modified. When you use an adjective "diverse" on the other hand, it's very likely for you to think of one whole thing, group, or category. So, it seems quite logical to say that diverse as in "English learners in Japan are diverse." sounds internal, and differentt as in "English learners in Japan are different (from the ones in other countries)." sounds external.


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Must Reread DOKKAI 4 p.38 & p.46 -- EDITED (読解特急4ビジネス文書編)

Here's good news. The very first Dokkai Review has been edited and become even more educative and readable for us.

DOKKAI 4 p.38 & p.46 -- EDITED

Those who want to gain knowledge of prepositional phrases will benefit from what the reviewer presents as follows:
"...reimbursement for"
"...cleaner that I purchased on October 12 through your online catalog"
"...a long crack in the handle"
"...as stated on your Web site"
"...a full refund in the amount of"
"...with instructions on how to return"

Also, those who want to know more about modifying clauses and phrases should read the discusion on several different interpretations of "to lead" in "Business leaders are always looking for techniques to lead their organizations toward productivity and growth." It's very interesting to read the reviewer's perspectives and consider who or what is supposed to "lead their organizations toward productivity and growth".

You cannot miss this articulate statement on what dictionaries we should use for English learning, quote,

"You should all use these dictionaries.

Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (OALD)
Oxford Dictionaries Online (OED)
Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary (MWLD)
Merriam-Webster Online (MWO)

You need no other dictionaries."

FYI, I regularly use three of the above.

One thing I cannot help saying here is that I couldn't have felt more honored when I knew the reviewer mentions our newly published book, TOEIC(R) テスト いきなり600点! in this recently edited review because he is my very important English learning friend.

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The 11th Must Read Dokkai Review (読解特急4 ビジネス文書編)

I'm very much happy to announce that the 11th Dokkai review has been published.

DOKKAI 4 p.206

I've noticed that the reviews have become more and more readable as they're published: readable in a sense that the learnining points and analyses are cogently explained focusing on what intermediate and advanced English learners would need to know.

Among so many good parts in the review, the following is my favorite construction I'd really like to emulate:

"This reviewer admits in a sort of pathetic self-praising manner that his rendition indeed does not sound so bad; others' possible criticisms notwithstanding."

This demonstrates only a tiny fraction of the reviewer's talents and proficiency, I'd say.

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The 10th Must Read Dokkai Review (読解特急4 ビジネス文書編)

I just realized that this is the 10th Dokkai 4 review.

DOKKAI4 p.184 & p.194

Can you imagine how much discipline and self-regulation it would take to keep writing those ten thorough and dense blog posts? Honestly, I've found these Dokkai 4 passages, or any other TOEIC Part 7 passages, almost never enjoyable, amusing, or exciting to read through for whatever purposes. One of so many things for which I always admire his Dokkai reviews is his "eye" for what lies to be learned in the passages. A lay English learner like me simply goes ignorant of the gems that the reviewer would expound on for analysis.

You can import the phrases discussed in the review such as "keep abreast of" and "start off". You can also reevaluate the words like "primary" and "assume" along with the context. For those interested in learning grammar, the review offers perspectives to see tenses and parallelism. There are so many valuable things for us to learn from this 10th Dokkai 4 review: Go, read, and learn.

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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。