2011/3/1 火曜日

入試問題不正〜この答えですぐばれる

Filed under: life in Japan,学校,日本語,翻訳業,英語一般 — admin @ 7:55:07

京都大学の入試問題が試験中にYahooの知恵袋にでたことで世間が騒いでいるが、すぐばれるはず。意味の合った答えなら仕方がないが、この答えは間違っているだけではなく、Google翻訳機能の結果とほぼ一致。受験中の機械翻訳はありえない。

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ちなみに、英作文に「正しい」1つの答えが滅多にない。2人の受験生がぴったり同じ答えをだせば、あやしい。

カンニング術に時間をかかないで、英文に時間をかけましょう。

2011/2/24 木曜日

Bilingualism 2カ国語でボケ防止

Filed under: English entries,国際家族,,英語一般 — admin @ 8:43:26

An article in the Daily Yomiuri today, “Speaking 2 Languages Protects the Brain,” reporting an announcement at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, says that bilingualism can delay Alzheimer onset by almost 5 years. The reason is that it keeps the brain busy. (Ellen Bialystok of York University in Canada)

“When you’re speaking, all the languages you speak are turned on…the brain…allows you to limit interference from one language when speaking in the other.”(Amy Weinberg, University of Maryland)

So it takes work to say anything! Speaking in one language means actively not speaking in another one.

“Bilinguals simply acquire specific types of expertise to help them attend to critical tasks and ignore irrelevant information,” explains Judith Kroll, from Penn State University. So this makes bilinguals, or people who merely use more than one language,  better at multitasking, too.

The article ends by saying that the ability to speak multiple languages does not make you more intelligent. That may be the “irrelevant information” I choose to ignore here!

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2011/2/17 木曜日

10,000時間。それだけでいい!

Filed under: books,日本語,,英語一般 — admin @ 17:21:59

先週、マルコム・グラッドウェル 著『天才!成功する人々の法則』を読みました。日本語のタイトルは大げさですが、たしかに天才の法則を教えてくれます。それは、「天才」として知られる人々(音楽であろうが、野球であろうが、なんであろうが)を調べて見ると大体全員が1万時間の練習を積んでいるそうです。著者の計算では10年間毎日まとまった時間を練習すれば、「天才」になれる可能性があります。だから、産まれ持った才能よりは人間の成功は努力にあるらしいです。

(ちなみに4000時間で力はつく、6000時間でかなり上手くできるようになるだそうです。)

さて、今日本屋さんに行って、英語学習の本を調べてきました。たくさんありますね。気づいたのは、よく売れている本の題名には「〜だけ!」「すべて!」「確実!」「しっかり」などが入っています。つまり、この本を買えば=英語ができるようになるという印象です。

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遠田和子と一緒に作った本(そして、遠田さんが一人で作った本)は上記のような言葉をタイトルに入れないようにしています。自分たちの知識はインスタントでもなければ、1冊の本を読むだけで英語ができるようになることはあり得ないことです。しかし、著者の長年の経験を元に時間をかけて愛情を注いで書いた本を読んでいただいて、英語好きな読者の皆さんが英語の天才になるための1万時間がより効率の良いものであることを願っています。

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2011/2/10 木曜日

Audiobooks! 英語を聞く!

Filed under: books,cyberspace,English entries,英語一般 — admin @ 17:12:22

My new iPod is keeping me busy. Besides containing all of my Kindle books, there is also an Audiobook app. I paid a big 115 yen extra for the premium version. But there is a free version, too.

Public domain audio recordings can be downloaded with a single touch, for your listening pleasure.

Look forward to further discussion of Audiobooks and other fun & free English sources on the One Chapter Reading Club blog

…coming soon!

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2010/11/29 月曜日

This Christmas, Last Christmasの分かれ道

Filed under: 国際家族,日本語,翻訳業,英語一般 — admin @ 16:57:39

我が家の最近の話題、「今年」と「来年」の使い分けです。

簡単と思うでしょうが、文化の違いで分からなくなることがよくあります。

日本語はカレンダー通りで良いです。2010のクリスマスは2010年1月1日まで2010年12月31日まで「今年のクリスマス」です。2011年1月1日から「去年のクリスマス」に自動的変わります。

which way is this Christmas heading?

さて、英語はどうでしょうか。英語は「今年」と「去年」よりは”this”と”last,”あるいは “next”で区別します。2010年秋頃から2010年クリスマスが”this Christmas”になって、2011年の春頃までその状態が続きます。暖かくなると”last Christmas”へといつの間にか変わります。夏頃存在するのは”last Christmas” (2010年)と”next Christmas” (2011年)。そしてまた秋になると”next Christmas”が”this Christmas”に進化します。

この違いに気づくのはかなりの年月がかかりました。主人いわく、「youだけがおかしいと思った。」

また不思議なことにアメリカ1年半在住の娘がしっかりとthis, last, nextに慣れてしまいました。私が「来年の春」と言ったら、2012年の春として受け取りました。「なんだ、this coming springと言えばはっきりしたのに」と言われてしまいました。

which way is this Christmas heading?

マック、PC、ネットブック、iPhone、iPad、エクスペリア、スマートフォーン

Filed under: English entries,日本語,,翻訳業,英語一般 — admin @ 8:32:55

上記のようなデバイスさえあれば、何でもできちゃう、という時代になっています。持っている方の使用目的はさまざまでしょうが、英語関係はどうですか。実は我々が毎日、当然のように使っているパソコンやケータイにはあまり知られていない英語「力」があります。

『Google英文ライティング』遠田和子著と『なるほど英語ライティング』遠田和子・岩渕デボラ共著の新作は来年2月発売予定。今までは『英語を書く」という視点だったが、今度は英語リーディングです。今までの作品と変わっていないところは「分かりやすい」解説と「無料」な英語題材の提供。新しい焦点は仕事や学習だけではなく、それよりも個人の英語の楽しみかたです。英語が楽しいはずがないと思う方こそ、是非読んでいただきたいです。

詳細が決まり次第、ここで報告します。

Look forward to a new book on English reading by Kazuko Enda and Deborah Iwabuchi. Writing and translating English are what we all do as a part of our work and study, but reading is a personal manner. Find out how the devices you own and use in your everyday life are all you need to enter the modern age of ebooks and online English reading.

Check in periodically to get all the details for this new book scheduled to go on sale February 2011!

2010/11/22 月曜日

Back in the old days in Japan

Filed under: English entries,life in Japan,翻訳業,英語一般 — admin @ 13:38:56

Every few years I have the urge to check up on Frederik Schodt who translated Four Immigrants by Henry Kiyama. The story is of turn-of-the-century Japanese immigrants in the US, something that there is very little documentation of, AND it is a comic book. Fun and educational. Kiyama wrote it in a combination of  Japanese-meant-to-be-Japanese and Japanese-meant-to-be English. This is actually rather easy to accomplish in Japanese. English is a little trickier though, and the translation is very cleverly executed so you can tell which is supposed to be which.

It had been a while, so I decided it was time to see what ol’ Fred was up to. I came upon a page on his website entitled My College Paper. Unfortunately the links to the paper didn’t work for me, but his description of his life in Tokyo at International Christian University 1970-1972 was deja vu all over again.

My first trip to Japan was in 1973 and I was there in college 1975-76. Close enough. I am now going to officially refer this page to anyone who wonders why I am the way I am. I lived in the old Tokyo Olympic Youth Center in Yoyogi which began the day at 6 a.m. by piping in Grieg’s “Morning” full blast over the loudspeaker system accompanied by a cheery but insistent Ohayo gozaimasu, ohayo gozaimasu! I didn’t share a room with a Communist, but I did share a wall with a young woman who had visitors of all sexual orientations over to spend the night with her. I commuted to school on packed buses with old ladies clearing pathways down the aisle with their lethal umbrellas. And I used plenty of those kumitori-benjo! 30+ years later, my poor husband is tired of having me wax nostalgic over the smell of Japanese public restrooms during the summer–one of my oldest and arguably fondest memories.

My only theory on how it was (and somehow remains) manageable is that life is daunting when you are a teenager no matter where you are–being in a foreign country was no less strange to me than high school in California. Especially in the 1960s-70s in the San Francisco Bay Area. Looking back, Japan was–and still is– just another variety of “different.”

On another note, both of my daughters went to ICU and refused to even contemplate the dorms–which were pretty much unchanged from Fred’s day. The cafeteria, though, was rebuilt last year.

2010/10/30 土曜日

New Baby on the Way 新しい一冊の誕生まで、あと4ヶ月

Filed under: 日本語,,英語一般,遠田和子 — admin @ 9:02:46

お兄さんの『なるほど英語ライティング』

いとこの『Google 英文ライティング』

に続いて、新しい兄弟(姉妹?)を作成中。 もちろん英語に関する本ですが、今度は新しい視点からの内容です。楽しく読みながら、新しい学びができることは「家族」揃って同じです。

2010/5/17 月曜日

I don’t get Twitter

Filed under: English entries,ブログ,英語一般 — admin @ 17:05:31

There are a few blogs I enjoy reading, but lately I feel like I’m missing out because I’m being invited to “follow me on Twitter,” which is apparently something else. So there are blogs and twitters and there must be some other things, too, because blogs have all kinds of other icons suggesting other dimensions of cyberspace. But somehow “following” suggests more energy than I have to spend, and I have so far declined the kind invitations.

Back to work!

2010/4/29 木曜日

More words: “Is your child ready for communal life?”

There are lots of Japanese words I just plain don’t like. Many of them are related to children and learning and schools, so I haven’t had as much contact with them workwise as mothering-wise. The end result being that I don’t think about them so much as rebel against (and complain about) them.

I recently had work-related contact with one of my least favorite phrases: 集団生活 shuudan seikatsu, literally “life in a group.”  Many mothers use it as a reason for putting their children into preschool as soon as they are eligible–they want the kids to get used to shuudan seikatsu early on.  (My daughters went to preschool the instant they were old enough, but it was because I wanted someone else to play with them for part of the day!)

Anyway, shuudan seikatsu has been stuck in my craw for years–and I never understood exactly why until a few days ago when the word came up in an editing job. The translator had written about the notion of a five-year-old being “adapted for communal life.” I checked the original Japanese, and sure enough, there it was–”able to deal with shuudan seikatsu.”  This was the aha moment!

I grew up in the 60s and 70s–during the glory days of, well, communal life in the United States. Although I never lived in a commune, I was on the fringes for several years and saw many people I loved and respected heading in that direction. Somehow, though, the notion of being unable to personally own anything was more than I could deal with. I had a good bike, a nice flute, the typewriter my dad took to college, and a few hundred dollars in the bank. The possibility of signing away even those was just too depressing.

So that was it!  My brain read shuudan seikatsu as “communal life,” and I was  terrified of the notion that my children, my only blood relatives on this side of the Pacific, would be ripped from my arms, and I would never see them except for short vacations in the summer or maybe at New Years. They would belong to someone else.

After years of living in the shadow of this menacing image, I could finally kill it off–and in plenty of time to apply it to any possible grandchildren. I carefully crossed out  “adapted for communal life” and wrote in “capable of participating fully in group activities.”

Done!

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