Departmental Bulletin Paper On Several Problems of English Usage Observed among a Group of "Global Leaders Program" Students at a Tokyo University
On Several Problems of English Usage Observed among a Group of "Global Leaders Program" Students at a Tokyo University

Martchev, Milen

Description
This paper focuses on three broad types of problematic English usage, as evidenced in a collection of student writing done for various “Global Leaders Program” projects at a metropolitan Japanese university. The usage patterns identified here were found to occur persistently and possibly reveal a set of tacit linguistic and cognitive tendencies on the part of Japanese speakers of English, which may be of interest in TEFL contexts. The types of expressions examined are: 1. The awkward use of certain verbs (such as “explain”, “tell”, “learn” and “show”) when referring to the giving or receiving of information of a complex type, 2. The conspicuous (over-)use of “deep” and “deeply” in contexts regarding knowledge, learning and understanding, and 3. A variety of frequently occurring prepositional phrases using “of ”, with a special focus on phrases featuring the nouns “situation” and “condition”. The paper will give estimates of the relative frequency of these problematic phrases, along with numerous actual examples, and at the same time seek probable explanations as to why they occur, while occasionally providing obvious native English alternatives, in the hope of being of possible assistance to English instructors in devising comprehensive lessons andeducational strategies to address the above and related problems. The article will conclude with the author’s thoughts on the role of English education as part of the said Global Leaders Program.
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