Sep 26, 2008

minor wrong spelling leads to Gosh!

I was almost making a big mistake again yesterday concerning English word.
Luckily, before I use the word, I happened to look it up in a dictionary, so I didn't need to bother eliminating it, but anyway, it was close.

That is.

I got a message from Mr.S yesterday in this blog, and I was quite happy about that.
so I wanted to express my feeling in twitter.
I usually use "Whoa" for excitement, but this time I wanted to use another expression.
Then, one word came up with me, that was "g○sh".

I remember listening to this word somewhere again and again, and I think I read this somewhere too, but I couldn't remember it's spelling.
So, my guess for this word was, "gash" or "gosh."

Now, this is the obstacle which many people like me, started learning English once he/she got grown up, might struggle with inevitably.
I don't have ability to distinguish these two sounds, gash and gosh, which sound like almost the same for my japanese hearing.
This means also I can't guess the spelling correctly only by listening to the sounds of new words.
Fortunately, I checked them in a dictionary before using them, and I found out I need to be extra careful to use these words, because "gash" has very rude? physical meaning related to female body. Gee...

I have another example like this, that is, I used "clam" instead of "cram school."
This tells me that when I listen to two sounds, "r" and "l", I classify them into one Japanese sound "a-" I guess.

When it comes to the listening, it doesn't bother me a lot because I understand the meaning of English by not only each words' sound but also contexts of stories.
However, I guess, this could be the invisible wall I'm feeling now, that I can't overcome easily unless I spend tons of hours for conscious listening practices.

Oh, Gosh! I have to make a plan for tomorrow's lunch box now, it's sports festival tomorrow!


Sen~or said...

Hola, emmie-san

This time, I try to write in English so that you can see how poor and unnatural "Japanese English Teachers' English" is, hahaha.

Well, actually, I can't distinguish the "r" sound from "l" sound, the "o" from "a" or "u" (like "cap" "cop" "cup"). But when I listen, it is no problem at all, isn't it? I think I catch each word by the context, not by the individual sound. And I've read an article about an experiment. They investigated on some Japanese people who had lived in the States for more than 10 years and considered themselves as "a fluent English speaker". It turned out none of them could tell the difference between "r" and "l" without any context.

But, as you say, when we write, it could be a big problem. Sometimes, we have to look up in a dictionary to make sure. It's like when we use "kokugo-jiten" to make sure KANJI is correct, isn't it? But, with the computer, we don't have any more trouble because we have "spell checker" and "kanji-henkan."

Anyway, sorry to ojamasimasita. (Does English have similar expression like this?)

Hasta luego!

mrs. malone said...

Hola! sen~or!!

Sorry for being a bit rude to you, but when I first saw your nickname somewhere else, I thought "who this person could be. Does he/she understand how nickname works? How could I call this person face to face." ^^; well, now I think it's really cooool~~

I have a question about pronunciation clinging on to my mind for a long time. The investigation you've mentioned is, I guess, the one I've been looking for to clear away it. Could you please tell me where I can read it?

Yesterday, I talked with a young collage student in texas on skype and asked him if I used "gash" instead of "gosh" mistakenly, does this annoy him a lot. He said the word, gash, means a hole basically, so it's not so offensive?. Anyway, I should use dictionaries time to time as we do to check Kanji.

Don't you think, as long as we are the dimension? mood? of "ojyamashimashita" or "shitureishimashita," it's just impossible to do any in English. I like my character when I'm using English.

I'm going to come to your site soon. See you then!

Chico said...

Hi, emmie. I'll tell you my biggest secret here. Whenever I write something on my blog or somewhere
"public", I use Spelling-check function of my pc, otherwise, I would write as exactly how I hear. Which means I would write "I hava". I'm pathetic with spelling, grammar as well as all those linguistic analysis so that I also amazed with someone's intellectual analysis on any languages. However, as far as the speaking ability is concerned, this amazing skill or knowledge can be a huge block to conquer. I've met and seen too many samples to ignore this rather ironic fact. Unfortunately, I haven't met any one, in fact any English Prof. in Japan who upset my theory. Unless you try to be a scholar, try not to think about those details. I think it is rather futile to spend your time on them.
Speaking of nonsense,the grammar class I took this summer at uni was nothing but rubbish. But there is one thing I learned is that grammar is nothing to do with practical usage of English at all. When it comes to writing, perhaps it is somewhat relevant but again l believe some kind of quite important quality which might be called the art of writing would be lost as soon as you started considering grammatical aspects. Checking grammar or spelling
is a job for proof-reader, not writers.
Well, be careful when you use "academic approach"
you might risk something you've already acquired.
That would be nothing but disaster.

mrs. malone said...

Hi chico!
I was ready to go to bed now, well, bit early than usual because I've got a new manga today and terribly want to read it^^;, but how can I do so once I read your wondersul advice here.
I've met not many but certain number of Japanese English teachers up to now, and none of them satisfied my criteria? for a teacher of English.
However, as soon as I heard you talk about the story of that picture book in Nannan-kai, I thought you were difinitely different from other teachers I've met before. I'm glad that I was right!
After writing my furtile experience of dictation here and having got wonderful advices from you, NEO-san and Mr.s, I was able to come to a conclusion that I will persuit what I believe, not other teachers say.

I will be careful, chico. I don't want to risk what I've already learned at least.
I'm now thrilled to know how much I'm going to change not by studying but reading and listening what I like.