Ling 466 unit 4 presentation


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Project for LING 466, Unit 4, summer 2011

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Ling 466 unit 4 presentation

  1. 1. Difficulties for Japanese-Speaking ESL Students LING 466 Pedagogical Grammar Spencer Reh July 22, 2011
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Learning English can be quite a problem for native speakers of Japanese. </li></ul><ul><li>Japanese and English are very different in most respects, including phonology, grammar, and writing. Because the languages are so different, it is more difficult to learn English for a Japanese speaker than, say, a German speaker. </li></ul><ul><li>Care must be taken in certain areas especially; there are some things that are particularly troublesome. Even speakers who are fluent in English can still have trouble with them . </li></ul>
  3. 3. Phonology <ul><li>Japanese phonology is quite different from English phonology; English has more vowel sounds and more distinctions between consonant sounds. </li></ul><ul><li>Most phonological problems that Japanese speakers have stem from difficulties with the contrast between certain sounds. This can involve trouble hearing the difference between them, or it can be a result of two consonants that are allophones in Japanese being distinct phonemes in English. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Phonology (continued) <ul><li>The most common phonological problem for Japanese speakers when learning English is probably the most well-known: distinguishing between / ɹ / and / l / (the normal alveolar/retroflex approximant and the lateral version). Japanese has but a single liquid consonant, usually transcribed as / ɽ /. This consonant has various allophones, but Japanese does not make a central/lateral distinction for it, so speakers may not understand or perceive the difference between the two. They may even confuse one or both with another consonant, such as / w /. </li></ul><ul><li>Japanese has only five pure vowels: / a /, / e /, / i /, / o /, and / ɯ /, which may have various allophones. English, conversely, has over twice that many, and the vowels of English vary considerably between dialects. Japanese speakers may have trouble distinguishing between similar-sounding vowels, such as / ɑ /, / æ /, and / ʌ /. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Phonology (continued) <ul><li>Certain other consonants can be problematic as well, such as the labiodentals / f / and / v /. Japanese has no labiodental consonants; speakers may substitute / ɸ / for / f / (that being the closest sound in their own language), but there is no corresponding voiced consonant for / v /, and speakers may pronounce it as the plosive / b /. </li></ul><ul><li>Japanese separates consonants with vowels. This can make it difficult for speakers to pronounce English consonant clusters (such as “cl” and “str”) and words that end in consonants. In both cases, the speaker will often insert an epenthetic / u / to form a consonant-vowel pair. </li></ul><ul><li>Interdental consonants (/ θ / and / ð /) are also problematic for Japanese speakers, as their language lacks these. They will often substitute / t / and / d /. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Grammar <ul><li>Japanese and English have considerable differences in their grammar, but some of the biggest problems Japanese speakers have with English grammar is with concepts that don't exist in Japanese. </li></ul><ul><li>This is the case, for example, with articles and relative pronouns. Japanese has neither, and the rules for using them are complex, so they can be very difficult for Japanese ESL learners to understand and use properly. </li></ul><ul><li>Japanese speakers may put English words in the wrong order, since the word order is more free in Japanese than in English and is usually SOV rather than SVO. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Grammar (continued) <ul><li>Another considerable problem area for Japanese speakers is periphrastic verbs. Japanese uses affixes in some cases where English uses separate words, so this can be hard to get used to even for fairly fluent speakers. </li></ul><ul><li>Prepositions can be problematic for two main reasons: 1) because Japanese commonly has post positions, and 2) because of the many phrasal verbs in English. Phrasal verbs whose meanings cannot be determined from their component parts (e.g. blow up , count on , be in for ) can be difficult for Japanese speakers (or any ESL students) to understand, partly because students may not know the difference between a preposition used normally and one used in a phrasal verb. </li></ul><ul><li>Using the right verb tense can be tricky as well, particularly in subordinate clauses, phrases with several verbs that must all be in the same tense (this is not true for Japanese), and phrases containing a future tense (there is no true future tense in Japanese). </li></ul>
  8. 8. Grammar (continued) <ul><li>Counterfactual/irrealist statements in English can be hard to understand for Japanese speakers. So can abstract nouns, simply because they are more difficult to visualize than concrete nouns. </li></ul><ul><li>Japanese uses affixes as classifiers for nouns. This can present a problem when speakers are faced with the count vs. noncount distinction that occurs with English nouns (which is unmarked). </li></ul><ul><li>Some speakers may also have trouble with the past participle and perfect forms of verbs. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Common pitfalls (summary) <ul><li>As discussed, there are numerous phonological and grammatical problems that native Japanese speakers encounter when learning English, but there are some that particularly stand out. </li></ul><ul><li>Confusing the consonants / ɹ / and / l / is the most notorious problem Japanese speakers have with English phonology and pronunciation. </li></ul><ul><li>English vowels are also difficult for Japanese speakers; there are many vowels that sound so similar to each other (to an ESL learner) as to be indistinguishable. </li></ul><ul><li>Japanese lacks both articles and relative pronouns, so Japanese speakers can find them difficult to learn how to use in English. </li></ul><ul><li>English has many verbs and verb tenses that consist of more than one word. Japanese speakers often have difficulty understanding these forms, because Japanese would use affixes to carry the same meanings. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Miscellaneous <ul><li>There are some problems that Japanese speakers have when learning English—mostly minor—that do not easily fit into other categories. </li></ul><ul><li>The principal parts of verbs are not too difficult to memorize, but irregular verbs can be a little more tricky. They are easier to memorize when used in context rather than simply in a list. </li></ul><ul><li>English writing isn't usually terribly problematic. Japanese even has a system for using the Latin alphabet to write Japanese words, called romaji . The problem comes with the spelling, which can often be very irregular indeed. </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes, Japanese teachers teaching English cannot themselves pronounce English words correctly, or they do not care enough about pronunciation to enforce it, so the students never learn correct pronunciation. </li></ul>
  11. 11. References <ul><li>Miyashita, Mizuki (20 July 2011). Personal interview. </li></ul><ul><li>Paul Shoebottom (2011). The differences between English and Japanese. Retrieved from </li></ul><ul><li>Ikeda, Miki. Teaching English to Japanese Students. Retrieved from </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>The End </li></ul>