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英語コミュニケーション

Minutiae

 

 

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The minutiae of life take up a tremendous amount of time. Minutiae? Is that a new vocabulary word? Minutiae mean small details. What are the small details of life? Completing forms, cleaning off your desk, getting a haircut, washing your car, filling up the tank with gas. The minutiae of life take time and effort. Minutiae are the small tasks we all have to do each day.

 

 

Vocabulary
Minutiae: small details
Tremendous: huge, large
Completing: finishing
Tank: the place in your car where gasoline is stored
Effort: attempt, try
Have to do: must

 

 

Words and phrases that you just heard
This is Jenna
A coffee shop
Sips coffee
What human beings do
The question for you
Accomplish
Just part of

Summer activities

So what do you do on a sunny summery Sunday afternoon in San Francisco? You take your catamaran on the bay for the afternoon. You can sail out to Angel Island, which is at the top left of the photo or to Alcatraz, which is at the top right. You can go hiking on Angel Island, or you can see Alcatraz Prison, which is now a state park.

 

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Vocabulary
Summery: summer in adjective form
Catamaran: a boat with more than one hull

 

 

Words and phrases that you just heard
California cuisine
Locally grown fruits
And fusion
Kind of cuisine
California style pizza
Artichokes and spinach

Good fences

 

American poet Robert Frost wrote this: Good fences make good neighbors. He probably meant that fences give people some privacy. Neighbors do not usually walk into your garden if you have a fence. Good neighbors are people who understand the difference between where they are welcome and where they are not welcome. Good neighbors avoid barging in.

 

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Vocabulary
Probably: most likely
Meant: past tense of mean, intend
Privacy: space to yourself
Neighbors: people living near you
Avoid: keep away from
Barging in: entering without permission

 

 

Words and phrases that you just heard
We humans
Boundaries
Backyards
Separate traffic
Although no one
Invisible
Mark our territories

米国のランチ

 

Lunch

 

 

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This is not how we eat every day, but this lunch was unusual. We had a Halloween party and fifty or so people came for lunch. These were giant subs, which were being cut into smaller sizes. Some of the giant subs were filled with turkey and cheese. Some were tuna with celery and lettuce. Another had lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and pickles. They are all gone now. We served punch, a pasta salad and apple pie a la mode.

 

Vocabulary
Unusual: not usual
Giant: big, huge
Subs: Submarine sandwiches
Punch: fruit drink
Apple pie a la mode: apple pie with ice cream on top

 

 

Imagine the size
Gigantic
Grocery stores have
Large packages of cookies
Wrapped in cellophane
Two dozen-cartons
Large bottles of catsup

My lunch

 

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This is what I had for lunch, a hummus sandwich. I know you do not see the sandwich. That’s because this is an open faced sandwich. The bottom piece of bread is there but the top is not. Hence, the sandwich is called open faced. At the bottom is a piece of brown bread. On top of the bread is a layer of hummus. On top of the hummus are cucumbers, avocadoes and tomatoes. On the side is quinoa with greenery.

 

 

Vocabulary
Hummus: a spread made from chickpeas, olive oil and garlic
Open faced sandwich: a sandwich with the bottom slice of bread but without a top slice
Brown: in this context, whole grain
Quinoa: a grain similar to rice
Greenery: in this context, raw green vegetables such as lettuce, arugula and parley

 

 

Words and phrases that you just heard
Quinoa is a relatively
Colombia and Peru
Essential amino acids
A complete protein source
U.S. space agency

At the optometrist

I went to see my optometrist recently. Can you tell from this picture what an optometrist does? I don’t find optometry that interesting, but something in this photo caught my eye: do you see the pirate and the mouse? Is that a mouse? Such pictures are common in the United States. People put their children’s artwork in their offices for everyone to see. I don’t remember seeing children’s artwork or photos displayed in Japan in the same way.

 

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Vocabulary
Optometrist: a person who examines the eyes for problems seeing and prescribes lenses

 

Spelling
We have listed some of the words here in case you hear them, can’t catch them, and want to know how they are spelled. You may want to look some of these up in the dictionary too.

 

Bachelor’s
Rigorous
Admitted

 

Serviced

This couple was waiting to get their car. It had just been serviced. I talked with the woman when her partner went to get the car. She told me how shy she was. She had a slight accent. I didn’t have the time to listen carefully as our conversation was short. Between her accent and her mannerisms, combined with the cigarette, I think she was French. I love this picture. Were it not for the cigarette, the picture would be perfect.

 

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Vocabulary
Serviced: Taken care of. The car has had a tune-up. It has been taken care of.
Partner: Your romantic interest who you normally live with. Partner is gender free and does not contain any marital information. Still, if someone says, this is my partner, I assume they are not married.

 

Spelling
We have listed some of the words here in case you hear them, can’t catch them, and want to know how they are spelled. You may want to look some of these up in the dictionary too.

 

Contributes
Complicated
Unlearning
Doable

 

New words
Are these new words? We think they are relatively new. You can see how they were made below. Adding prefixes is one way we make new words.

 

Unlearning: un + learning (the opposite of learning)
Doable: do + able (able to do)

英作文のコツ

 

~までの意味も持つuntilを日本人英語学習者は曖昧な使い方をしてしまうことが多々あります。

 

This store will be closed until next Monday.

 

訳せば、このお店は来週の月曜日まで閉まっています。

 

おそらくこれで間違いないと誰もが思うでしょう。

 

これに違和感を感じる人がいればその人は、ネイティブか、あるいはかなり英文を読まれている方だと思います。

 

untilをすこし論理的に考えてみましょう。

 

状態A until 状態あるいは行為B

 

untilは継続を意味しますから、Bの状態になったらあるいは行動をしたら、Aの状態は終了することになります。

 

つまり、上述の例の場合、来週の月曜日になったら閉まっている状態が終了するわけです。言い換えると来週の月曜日はお店が開くわけです。

 

This store will be closed until next Monday.をネイティブが見れば、月曜日にはお店が開くと理解することがあります。「ことがある」とはネイティブでも開いているのか閉まっているのか不確かなのです。

 

このお店は来週の月曜日まで閉まっています。

 

私なら、  This store will open next Monday. と訳すでしょう。

 

もしかしたら、日本の英語試験では、誤りとされる可能性もありますが。。。。。。

 

inclusiveを加える方法もありますが、これは契約書や法律的表現です。

勘違いされる翻訳の仕事

 

私たちが書く日本語の手紙や作文を思い浮かべてみましょう。30歳の人でも文章が稚拙であったり、逆に高校生が質の高い文章を書くこともあります。また、どんなに文章能力が高くても、好きでないあるいは興味のないトピックは容易に書けないでしょう。

 

翻訳家と言われる職業があります。主に日英翻訳を行うのが仕事です。しかし、日本語なら何でも英語に訳せる人は翻訳のプロでもほとんどいません。

 

たとえば、音楽に全く関心のない翻訳家は音楽に関するエッセイや論説を完全に翻訳することはできません。翻訳の世界では、翻訳家のバックグランドに応じて仕事を依頼します。

 

と ころが、日本の社会では英検1級などの資格を持っていればなんでもすらすれ英語に訳せるだろうと勝手に理解し、ホームページの英訳を依頼するといった無謀 なことを行う会社が多くあります。そのため、日本企業の英語ホームページには奇妙な表現のページが多々あります。丁度、東南アジアの国を訪れると奇妙な日 本語に出くわすのと似ています。

 

東京オリンピックが決まった今、せめてホームページ程度はちゃんとした英語で表現してもらいたいですね。

Can you Eat Natto? 納豆を「食べられる」これは正しい英語表現でしょうか

 

食べ物の話になると、多くの日本人は、判で押したように納豆を「食べられる」かどうか質問します。しかし、納豆はノーマルな体に大変よい食品で、「食べられる」かどうかの対象ではありません。相手が納豆を「食べる」かどうか質問すべきです。いずれの場合も、納豆は、何度か食べているうちにだんだん好きになる食べ物(acquired taste)なので、納豆に馴染みのない人にいきなり「納豆をたべますか?」または、「(ノーマルな食品でない)納豆を食べられますか?」と聞くのは、お勧めできません。

 

それにしても、日本人が無意識のうちに納豆を話題にするのは、納豆は日本の特異性を代表するものという意識が日本人の心の中に潜在するためでしょうか。そういえば、アメリカ人の多くは、アメリカへ移住した人々はみんな英語を話し、アメリカ社会のしくみを理解できると考えるようです。

 

 

Only Japanese People Can Eat Natto

 

First, we would like to start with a grammar point. The title of this chapter, “Only Japanese People Can Eat Natto,” is a grammatical mistake. If it were true, the correct title would be “Only Japanese People Eat Natto.”

Continuing with more grammar, if you meet someone from overseas and want to ask if they eat natto, the correct question would be as follows:

 

Do you eat natto?

 

Can would not be used, because it implies that some people can and some people can’t. We don’t talk about food like that, whether it is natto, vegemite, or chitlins.

 

Vocabulary:

Chitlins: cooked pork intestines. The proper name is chitterlings.

Vegemite: an Australian spread made from yeast products.

 

Can is used with some eating questions like the following:

 

Can you eat 10 hotdogs in 10 minutes?

Can you eat glass?

 

Both of these questions ask things that are not normal. Therefore, we use the word can.

 

Returning to the natto question, probably very few Westerners spend more than a week in Japan without being asked if they can eat natto. In English, many people say natto. If that is not understood, natto can always be explained as fermented soy beans.  

Some people eat natto and some do not. Natto is a very healthy food and Westerners interested in good health are probably more likely to eat it. Like many other foods with strong tastes, natto is an acquired taste. Some people acquire it and some do not.

If you would like to ask a Westerner living in Japan a question that they are often asked, and probably tired of hearing, asking them if they eat natto is an excellent question.

Please note the sarcasm in the above sentences.

Vocabulary:

Sarcasm: Saying something when you don’t mean it.

 

Is this great interest in natto another part of believing in the uniqueness of Japan?

What is it that makes Japanese believe in uniqueness? Or looking at the other side of the coin, why do Americans believe that everyone who immigrates to America can learn English and how things are done in America?

 

英語学習