2017-04-26

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Coffee Hour: Awkward English

Author:Author unknown, Issue: April 2000, Topic: Coffee hour

As part of its activities, the Tsukuba Information Center sponsors a bilingual discussion group the fourth Wednesday of every month from 2 to 4 pm, with invited guests giving a presentation from their area of expertise or experience.

This month, we are pleased to have Ms. Laura S. Flathau, who will be giving a program entitled Awkward English. Here is what she writes: In my experience, the following are some examples of awkward English. I have been asked, Can you eat sushi? This sentence is grammatically correct, but the meaning is different in English. Of course I CAN eat sushi, but the real question should be Do you like sushi? Another example of awkward English is the lack of using tag questions. On a beautiful morning, someone might turn to me and say, Is it a nice day? I would agree with her: yes, it is a nice day. Her question is grammatically correct, but it does not sound natural. Instead, she should ask me, It is a nice day, isn't it? These awkward sentences are compounded by a lack of intonation, gestures, and appropriate responses. However, these can be remedied by studying English movies and having conversation with foreigners. A variety of functional lessons with natural dialogues and role-plays would be beneficial to overcome these problems.

The Coffee Hour is meant to be an informal exchange of information and opinions. English and Japanese are both used with efforts made to make sure those who can not understand one or the other are able to at least get the gist of the conversation. Likewise, you don't need to commit yourself to the entire two hours and can come and go freely. So drop by, whether for a short time or for the entire two hours, and enjoy some free refreshments along with a stimulating discussion. Please let us here your opinions as well.

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