Apr 24, 2009

Sadako Ogata, that's the English we should be striving for

I've long been searching for the person who I can see as my goal or searchlight in English learning, and finally I came across the person I honestly want to learn from. I'm genuinely impressed by her way of using English.

I listened to the interviews of Sadako Ogata in "English Journal, Mar. 2009," and I thought her English is exceptional and she is the one I've been looking for since I started to give some advice to some students at school.
Her English conversation is quite different from the one spoken by other Japanese who only learned English at school. The most conspicuous difference about her English is that her way of speaking is really fluent. You may not know the interviewee is an Japanese if you listen to the interview audio without any prior information. She is so fluent and her logic so clear that minor grammatical mistakes or some pronunciation problems doesn't affect any to convey her strong messages to the world.
I'm so sorry that I couldn't find any videos of her free conversation on the web and can't introduce her way of conversation here, but if you have any chance to read that magazine, don't miss it. It's truly worth listening to.

So, the final answer I've reached is, there is almost no teachers in English education world in Japan who I think are worth regarding as an good example of English users. If any, only those who's given up grammar oriented or meaningless conversational approaches and are allured into Tadoku are the teachers you should have ears to.
We shouldn't be listening to the words of famous teachers, professional users of English and l articles from English education when you want an advice about your learning. It's understandable to ask for some advice of those specialist if you're also aiming to be one, but I think almost all the English learning won't be a specialist of English, they simply want to use English as a tool in ordinary life or their jobs.
If you want to be a specialist then that's necessary to go on very hard training. But when you want to be an amateur with rather high competence, then is it necessary to follow the same tough path which specialists have gone?

Every time I read some articles about English learning written by specialist of English in some magazines, I'm so mesmerized with difficult contents and depressed thinking that I know nothing about English. There are all so many things I don't understand.
But seeing myself enjoying many things in English, I'm confident now that they are publishing books simply to make profit by making people believe that they can't do anything until they master everything in the magazines or textbooks. Once you're lured to believer their saying, there is no end buying the books. mmm

well, I just wanted to share the joy of the finding Ogata-san's interview, but it seems to come too far... ha ha so I've got to get back to my work...

oh, and I forgot to compare two interviews, Ogata-san and the surbordinate? from Japan talking about whaling issue, but it should be left for the next time...


牛印牛乳 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
牛印牛乳 said...

Hi,Mrs. Malone.

Here is her movie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPpz6EbGjooI found her movies by useing Google ビデオ to click "動画" button on upper part of window with the words "Sadako Ogata".

It's convenient.

Whiskers said...

Hi emmie-san!
It's totally understandable that you admire Ms. Ogata. I myself am a big fan of her. Although I don't remember exactly when, there was a rumor that the then Prime Minister Koizumi would designate her as Minister of Foreign Affaires. How I wished she would accept the designation!!!
Her devotion, intelligence, strength and so on and on... Whenever I read an article about her I always feel swollen with pride probably just because she is a Japanese woman as I am... I've never thought about her English, though. Thanks to 牛印牛乳san, I listened to her speech and I could see what you meant.
Definitely English is an indispensable communication tool for her. In order to carry out her everyday job or achieve her goal she must use English. Probably it's not her English but her job or her existence that fascinates me.

Wow, I got carried away and wrote too much...

Mrs. Malone said...

Hello 牛印牛乳san!
(Have I done the right thing as you requested?) Thanks for the link of her video. It's a shame I haven't seen or read her message up to now.
I think her English in this video is rather formal because it was meant to be broadcasted to the world, so her message is prepared prior to the recording. There are some expressions such as "which," that you'll rarely use when you have a light conversation.
The interview in EJ is more casual and you can see her natural way of conversation.

Mrs. Malone said...

Hi Whiskers-san!

Does your school subscribe to EJ?
The speech in the video is rather formal and it doesn't show enough her natural way of English, so if you're able to get your hands on EJ, spare sometime to listen to the interview on EJ.

She made a brief comment about English educaiton in elementary school in this interview, saying:
"they're debating right now whether to have English in the public, the primary schools once a week from fourth grade. That's nothing. That's nothing. One hour of English at the frourth grade on is nothing; it's a waste. No? Ha ha. I'm sorry if there's an English teachers is..."

mmm, I wish her straight honest words of "That's nothing" could reach to the society.

Whiskers said...

Yes, my school subscribes to EJ and I'm gonna check it out the first thing on Monday.
Hmmm, her comment on Japanese English education in elementary schools sounds very interesting.

You mentioned that there was an interview related to whaling, which also interested me. The first topic in the textbook I'm using for my LL class this year was 'whaling.'

Usually I don't look forward to Mondays, but thanks to you, now I can't wait to go to work!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Ms. malone.

Many thanks today!
...But I wonder if I was helpful for Tadoku Class...
Anyway I enjoyed reading, in particular, ORT1 to ORT3!
I found new things in those again and thought that EASY reading was MOST IMPORTANT for ME.
And I clicked "audio" tag on the right in your blog, then I could listen to materials!
Please let me go to Tadoku Class next time too!