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Koji

How interesting.....actually i was searching some information about the use of "challenging" in English because seems like that some of us may use it in a wrong way...
Now, first I've got to introduce myself, who is a Japanese, living in Santiago, Chile. Usually i don't use English here at all, but sometimes my boss in the company has me do some translations cos I had lived in the UK and have a command of English.
The motive of this search also derives from the translation task assigned to me which is to translate the New Year's greeting of the president of my company. First he wrote in Japanese, then i had to translate it.
He wanted to express something like "chosen-teki-na-seishin" and wrote “the spirit of “always challenging”. I found it so weird as you might see it in the same way, and told him that you could write “the spirit of “always keep trying”” or “the spirit of “always set a challenging goal”” instead. Then I opened up can of worms and had to exchange lengthy email conversations with him about this subject. Well still I haven’t gotten his definitive answer yet but guess after all the use of “challenging” is the best alternative cos the concept of “challenging” might have become almost a Japanese one and everybody uses it like your posting and “challenging spirit”, the famous slogan of the Honda Motors.
Well, just jotted this down to express how i got interested and sympathised with your opinion. Hope to hear from you soon, chao.
Koji

12

01

00:23

Aya

Hola, Koji. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. You mean the keyword “challenging” hit my blog post, right? That’s interesting. :-)

Yeah, I’ll buy your idea that “challenging” is the best alternative. I agree that “challenging spirit” best describes what your boss wishes to convey because Japanese people almost never fail to get what that means. It’s supposedly ungrammatical language-wise, but probably workable culture-wise. I know there’re the cases where Japanglish works really well.

So how's life in Chile? I guess it’s the early summer over there. Here in Japan the temperature dropped significantly today and we nearly froze to death (hyperbole alert). I look forward to your future visit. Hasta luego!

12

02

01:25

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12

02

13:52

Aya

Thanks for the comment.

Why don't we talk more on Facebook, then? I think I can find you. Please accept my Friend Request there if you’ve successfully recognize me. :-)

12

02

23:12

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コメント

Challenge "the challenging spirit of Steve"

Does the present participle + noun phrase “the challenging spirit” sound familiar to you? It seemingly does so to a CEO of a Japanese leading company. He used the phrase in an e-mail to his business associate as in “I really think we need to make sure we inherit the challenging spirit of Steve.” Last night I got to know about the phrase from the blog post titled “The Challenging Spirit of a Challenged Mind.” Isn’t it cool? Then I tried identifying why the phrase “the challenging spirit” sounds so ungrammatical to me. I’m not a grammar expert or a grammarian. I’m a mere English teacher and learner who is writing this small piece in order to sort out her messy thoughts and ideas, so feedback, criticism, and “challenge” are always appreciated to which I may (or may not) respond in as much humanely as possible.

The way I categorize “present participle + noun” phrases is as follows:
1) Nature of the modified noun
e.g.) an interesting movie, an exciting story, a demanding job
2) Ongoing action of the modified noun
e.g.) a burning house, a crying baby, increasing sales
3) Purpose of human action
e.g.) drinking water, running shoes, a boarding pass

Then which of them should I categorize “the challenging spirit” as? Let me do some thought experiment.

1) If the present participle “challenging” describes the nature of the modified noun “spirit”, it implies that “spirit” is brave or brazen enough to challenge people by asking clarification questions, opposing, or confronting.

2) If the present participle “challenging” describes the ongoing action of the modified noun “spirit”, it means that “spirit” is questioning, opposing, or confronting continuously.

The difference between 1) and 2) I’ve noticed is that verbs in 1) are transitive and verbs in 2) are intransitive. As both a transitive verb and an intransitive verb, the phrases “spirit challenges someone/something (transitive)” and “spirit challenges (intransitive)” are far from what the CEO intended to express, I suppose

3) If the present participle “challenging” describes the purpose of human action, it could be rewritten as “spirit (for people) to challenge” as in “water (for people) to drink, shoes (for people) to run, pass (for people) to board”. I guess the CEO wanted to say something like “We should inherit the unremitting spirit that Steve Jobs demonstrated throughout his life”, so I have to say “spirit (for people) to challenge” is far out of this spectrum. I also guess the CEO sees the verb “challenge” as “try doing something difficult” or “strive”. According to OED, the verb “challenge” refers to “object to, invite someone to engage in a contest, oppose against, or threaten someone’s hold on”.

Now I’ll try defending “the challenging spirit of Steve” from another perspective. What if I see “challenging” as an adjective? The adjective “challenging” refers to, according to Merriam-Webster com.,
1: arousing competitive interest, thought, or action e.g.) a challenging course of study
2: invitingly provocative: FASCINATING e.g.) a challenging personality.
Well, my understanding of Definition 1 is that the modified noun (i.e. "course” in the example) arouses competitive interest in people, and thus people become willing to deal with or face it. If Definition 1 applied, the modified noun “spirit” arouses competitive interest in people, and thus people become willing to deal with or face “spirit”. But, again, considering what the CEO supposedly wanted to convey, I think this is unreasonable. “spirit” is something that facilitates people to deal with or face something difficult or impossible, not the object that people should deal with or face in my understanding.

So, my conclusion on the grammaticality of the present participle + noun phrase “the challenging spirit of Steve” is highly dubious and questionable. I’ve come to conclude that the all the misfortune derived from the CEO’s view on the verb “challenge”. It is not equivalent to “try doing something difficult”, but we are apt to think it is. Probably “challenger spirit” is a slightly better misuse. It’s a compound noun and has less serious ungrammaticality, I guess. (FYI, I found no search results for “challenger spirit” on The New York Times, TIME Magazine corpus, and other onlie dictionaries.) This is a good example of our misconception on English words deriving from our sinful Japanglish. We can learn a great deal from our own errors, and we should.

challenge-winding-road.jpg



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Koji

How interesting.....actually i was searching some information about the use of "challenging" in English because seems like that some of us may use it in a wrong way...
Now, first I've got to introduce myself, who is a Japanese, living in Santiago, Chile. Usually i don't use English here at all, but sometimes my boss in the company has me do some translations cos I had lived in the UK and have a command of English.
The motive of this search also derives from the translation task assigned to me which is to translate the New Year's greeting of the president of my company. First he wrote in Japanese, then i had to translate it.
He wanted to express something like "chosen-teki-na-seishin" and wrote “the spirit of “always challenging”. I found it so weird as you might see it in the same way, and told him that you could write “the spirit of “always keep trying”” or “the spirit of “always set a challenging goal”” instead. Then I opened up can of worms and had to exchange lengthy email conversations with him about this subject. Well still I haven’t gotten his definitive answer yet but guess after all the use of “challenging” is the best alternative cos the concept of “challenging” might have become almost a Japanese one and everybody uses it like your posting and “challenging spirit”, the famous slogan of the Honda Motors.
Well, just jotted this down to express how i got interested and sympathised with your opinion. Hope to hear from you soon, chao.
Koji

12

01

00:23

Aya

Hola, Koji. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. You mean the keyword “challenging” hit my blog post, right? That’s interesting. :-)

Yeah, I’ll buy your idea that “challenging” is the best alternative. I agree that “challenging spirit” best describes what your boss wishes to convey because Japanese people almost never fail to get what that means. It’s supposedly ungrammatical language-wise, but probably workable culture-wise. I know there’re the cases where Japanglish works really well.

So how's life in Chile? I guess it’s the early summer over there. Here in Japan the temperature dropped significantly today and we nearly froze to death (hyperbole alert). I look forward to your future visit. Hasta luego!

12

02

01:25

このコメントは管理人のみ閲覧できます

12

02

13:52

Aya

Thanks for the comment.

Why don't we talk more on Facebook, then? I think I can find you. Please accept my Friend Request there if you’ve successfully recognize me. :-)

12

02

23:12

管理者にだけ表示を許可する

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Aya

Author:Aya
English learner

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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。