Dec 14, 2009

major in Englishなのに・・・


i've met some japanese visiting university students to my university who are majoring in english but don't read english books! that really shocked me, for how can they major in english without reading english books? O_O



Wintersweet said...

Well, I guess I'm not surprised. Several of the international students in my MATESOL program had bachelor's degrees in English from their home countries (Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China). I think the majority of them had never read fiction of any kind in English (outside of a class), and did not like to read English for fun. :/ It's pretty sad, really.

There were some exceptions, though! One of my classmates was a big Jane Austen fan.

chico said...

ooops. you stepped on the mine.
We've already critisized English education in japan uncountably. yet I feel not enough. hahaha
As you know I'm one of English majors currently. I guess the big gap between the myth and the reality regarding the English majours is caused because of the misconception of the term "English literature". English literature in the academic field refers so-called classical literature such as Shakespeare. Jane Austen is considered as the latest writer. even 19th century she produced her books....Gee...
We live in the 21st for god sake.
ok. I admit some classics are brilliant and should be introduced to people no matter how old but introducing them in the freshman year is absurd. All the classics should be read in the MA program.
the fatal misconception of the English majors is the belief that one day they would speak english fluently. Ooops. reading classics with Japanese translation and write about it in Japanese wouldn't provide what they expected unless some sort of miracle happens. In fact, English majours hardly speak English. This is the fact! We read classics with japanese translation. Our major task is to read and write about English literature in Japanese. Major class time would be spent on translation. As long as we are forced to do super lousy translation, we would never learn how to enjoy the essence of English literature. Never, never, never!!!Which is a big bummer caz some stories written by "classic" writers are brilliant, beautiful and even divine!!! With enough amount of time and practice, story-lovers can enjoy many of them and I believe it is extremely romantic to read a book written some ceturies ago.
My conclution here is freshman of english major should start reading from extremely easy books like graded readers. Just read read read without lousy translation. It is lousy and meaningless practice.
or at least, people should be informed that English literature majors are not for speaking ability. It is for English Classics lovers or language nerds who enjoy to discover tiny little differece between the sound of "a" and "o" and other unpractical aspects of English and perhaps for English teacher wannabes but the last one is another controversial issue. Jr. Sr. high, students as well as parents expect to earn some speaking or "communicative" ability. How can you teach such a thing without knowing how to communicate.....
ooops. somebody stop me!!!!
Oh, I should stop myself and do what I need to do. A big exam is around the corner.
sorry about the big whinge.

Wintersweet said...

Good points, chico! I agree with you!

And good luck with your exam...

Mrs. Malone said...


you guys, why not have a discussion in public. ha ha

I thought such idle students exist only in Japan, but it might be happening in other countries too.
One of my friends, who lives in Asian country, said students in her country go to Uni. only because they can get good job with Uni. degree, and they're not eager to study at all...

As for Jane Austen, I guess there are many fans of her novels in Japan, but few of them are fluent enought to talk about the books they read in English. They're reading such excelent books but they never have a chance to exchange ideas with people abroad due to the lack of this social networking age.

Chico, it's not Christmas which is just around the corner for you, but a big test...a bit? sorry to hear that. I'm looking forward to seeing your full of red marks, native proofread essay? soon♪

chico said...

Hey, emmie,
yap my paper is always totally red. It is so red that I started loving the color, red. Perhaps it is my color. It is more colorful and cheerful than the boring black, anyway.
Besides, Santa must love red. My paper is so christmasy!!!!

I'm taking two tests but one of them is interesting one. I can pick a topic to write about. No uesless memorization, either. I think I'm gonna write about "giri"
vs "ninnjo". Who can possibly define the complex concept? No one. Which means I would get RED!
Gee...I'm out of my mind...

Anyhow, I'm getting my new hula skirt. I'll show it off soon.

Mrs. Malone said...

Hi Chico,
and Whoa! so I guess you might start to dwell in the untouchable world of Yakuza, right? cuz "giri" and "ninjyou" is not common practice any more among ordinary Japanese, but I think they are still alive in Y world...

Oh, You do need a stage to show off your new dress. Got it! I'll be super careful not to be found before your show begins^^