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日本で英語に触れる その2







話は変わりますが、英文の中に、イソップ物語の the Turtle and the Hare が出てきます。日本語では、「ウサギとカメ」となりますが、英語では、順番が違うようです。ウサギに対応する英語は、hare なのですね。


More Regular Practice


In Chapter 1, we talked about three ways for regular practice. We suggested them because almost everybody has a TV or radio and can practice regularly with NHK, TV, and movies. For most people, in most situations, these will be the three best ways for regular practice. There are also other kinds of regular practice that we would like to suggest, but some of these may not work as well. Some people may not have access to some of these methods and some people may not have interest.


Volunteering is a great way to practice if you are in an environment where you can volunteer to work with English speakers and practice that way. Can you have English speakers do homestays with you, volunteer with international associations, and find other such ways to practice your English?


Pen pals, or key pals, which are pen pals via the Internet are another option. Look on the Internet and try to find keypals. Another option is chat rooms. There are many avenues for communication on the Internet. Just keep at it!


We would also like to talk about reading in this chapter. Reading is not popular with everyone, but reading is one way to improve your English. There are two kinds of reading. One is where you read difficult things and look up many words. This is fine for learning new vocabulary. If you do this on the computer, you can use computer dictionaries to look words up easily. This is good as you can read what you are interested in and learn vocabulary.


The other way to read is to read things that are easy for you, things that you can understand without a dictionary. This will not help your vocabulary much, but it will help your grammar greatly. This reading helps you improve your fluency for both speaking and writing. How can this help when you are reading something easy? Because it is easy, it is easy for you to read. You are not working hard. So, you can read and remember the language naturally. You cannot do this when you are reading something too difficult.


While reading is not popular, reading is very important. People who really want to get good at English should read. Spoken English that we hear in conversation, in movies, and on TV uses less vocabulary and is simpler. The English that we read is much richer, using more vocabulary. To truly become good at English, reading is essential.


Different people like different kinds of regular practice. To improve, you need regular practice. Think of the Aesop’s story of the Turtle and the Hare. Slow and steady gets you to the English finish line. Studying one hour a day is more productive than studying for 10 hours every Sunday. Living in English for one hour a day is better than studying for 10 hours every Saturday. Regular hopefully means daily. You need to spend a lot of time at English to make significant improvement. We hope you can take time every day. While 10 minutes is better than nothing, it is still not much. We would suggest at least an hour a day.


If you remember only one thing from this book, we hope that you will remember regular practice, living in English.