Friday, December 16, 2011

Russell's Ken-Bun-Ki June 6, 1996 Listening Power (2)

Note: This article was written with native Japanese trying to learn English in mind, but it is equally true for any native speaker trying to learn any foreign language. 

Last week's article was for the kids. This week's article is for the adults.

Japanese study English for, at minimum, three years in Junior High School. Most study in Junior High and in High School, for a total of six years. I think most people know the basic grammar and some vocabulary. Therefore, using those six years as a base, those people who have an interest in English should be able to improve easily. Let me explain the best three methods to improve.

1. Live in a foreign country
If you are in an environment surrounded by English you will definitely improve. This is the method I am using to improve my Japanese (and  Miyazaki dialect), day by day. However, as a practical choice this is the most difficult method.

2. Talk constantly with visiting foreigners
my motto is, "Do not be afraid of making mistakes when trying to master a foreign language." Failure is the root of all success. It's okay to learn from your mistakes. People who are too shy to try will not improve.

3. Listen to as many foreign songs and watch as many foreign movies and videos as you can
Japanese-dubbed movies don't help you learn any English. At our Cultural Hall we have approximately 100 English language videos. These are without Japanese sub-titles. These are a great way to improve your listening abilities. Also, we have videos that show English sub-titles instead of Japanese. Thse you can listen to the English while reading along. It's a great learning tool. Please watch videos where you know the story or that you have seen before. If you are interested, please come to the Social Education office. These videos are available to borrow at no cost. They are a good way for those people who don't have enough time to join an English Conversation class to try to study English on their own. 

(click on the article to Sumo-size it)

POST-SCRIPT: These articles were written in 1996. Sometimes the content is dated (see our next installment about the 1996 World Cup as prime evidence) but the message of this one, like the first part from last week,  has not changed whatsoever. As the world continues to get smaller and communication becomes closer and closer to "instantaneous," more and more people should be learning foreign languages. I'm happy to say that there are now many more Japanese-speaking foreigners in the world than there were in 1996. 

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