Sep 13, 2011

英語のセンスを育てていますか?

先日から、とある英文を酒のつまにしてtadokers間で楽しんでいます。
みなの意見が一致するところが、さすが多読実践者!


今日もtwitterで知り合った、たぶん英語を専門とされている洋ドラマ好きの方から、
同様の意見をいただいたので、ブログでも話題にしてみます!


(以下は、先ほどネイティブの意見も聞いてみようと、
goodreadsのtadoku コミュニティーに投稿してきたものです。
だれか気づいてくれるかなあ~)

私のメッセージに続いて二つの文章がありますが、
まずは、先入観なしに読んでみてください。
・・・・・
どうでしょう?何かひっかかることはありましたか??

続き(出所、話題にする理由等)は、じらすわけではないけれど、
ネイティブからの意見を聞いてからということで・・・

I'm now in desperate need of English speakers' opinion. It'd be truly appreciated if you could give me a simple and straightforward opinion about the English writing itself for the excerpts below, aside from what they say.

Once I get some opinions, I'm going to tell you where the excerpts came from, what I thought of them and WHY I needed to ask you to read them and give me your thought.

Thanks in advance(@^^)/~~~

P.S.
You're also welcome to give me your words if not being a native speaker of English. Hope it's not too much of a bother.

--------------------------------
"It is important to think about ideal qualities in a pet. As a companion, being cute may be one of the most important elements in choosing a dog. People usually feel comforted with a lovely dog. At the same time, cute dogs surely cheer up their owners and their families.

Another important point is about the duties of a pet owner. Dogs are not toys and it is our duty to look after them every day. Even if we keep a tiny dog, walking it regularly is a must. Otherwise, a dog gets fat easily and it is a great grief to see sick dogs.

Last of all, be careful of restrictions against pets in buildings and apartments. Even if keeping a dog is allowed in our apartment, it is preferable to have a quiet one. A subdued dog may be preferable for the elderly people who have trouble walking.

It is significant to choose a cute dog and walk it every day while we think of restrictions against pets in our apartments."

--------
"Global warming is a serious problem affecting many countries. It is a must to decrease emissions of so-called greenhouse gases by reducing use of oil and gasoline. One thing is that developed countries could help developing countries by giving a fuel-efficient technology to their automobile makers.

Indeed, air pollution is getting worse and worse in Asian countries. More and more Asian people use motorbikes or small cars in their daily life. Also, gasoline used in their cars is well-known for its bad quality. It is a tragedy to see them riding on a motorbike in a traffic jam.

Finally, it is pointed out that laws and regulations should be enforced effectively in many developing countries. Especially, some Asian countries like China and Thailand have built manufacturing factories in local areas. Also, some developed countries move their domestic factories to low-waged countries." 

6 comments:

Liana said...

It sounds like you're interested in how the English sounds and not so much an evaluation of the content, but I've got to say, the first paragraph about the cuteness of dogs strikes me as strange, and I wonder if it's fair to call it a cultural difference in how people think of pet ownership. It's not untrue or anything -- it just sounds irresponsible and shallow, to a lot of Americans with experience owning dogs, to consider a dog's cuteness to be one of the most important things and to say that so blatantly. So I think that's fascinating, because while the grammar and writing style is fine, it's just a thought that I don't think you'd see in an American's writing very often.

"It is significant to choose a cute dog and walk it every day while we think of restrictions against pets in our apartments." This sentence sounds like the writer thinks that every day you should get your dog on the leash, head outside and start walking, and while you're walking you should think about apartment pet restrictions the whole time. :) "Significant" seems like the writer chose a synonym for "important" from the thesaurus, and the gravity of the word makes it seem out of place. If I was going to rewrite it, it might look something like this: "A prospective pet owner should consider a dog's cuteness and any restrictions on pets in their building or apartment, and commit to walking it every day."

That is the most troublesome sentence in that essay; if I was correcting it on lang-8 I would also correct a couple of other word choices and tiny things.

feel comforted with a lovely dog => "by a lovely dog"

I think "you" is more common than "we" - "you" sounds conversational and it's not really referring to the reader, just people in general, but "we" sounds kind of like a lecture, rather like an adult scolding or condescending to a child. (If you happen to be a Harry Potter fan, pay attention to how Dolores Umbridge talks for examples of this.) Used in an essay like this, "we" is a very common sign of writing by a non-native English speaker. "One" is all right, though more formal. So keeping that in mind, I'd change:
and it is our duty to => and it is your duty OR and it is the owner's duty
Even if we keep a tiny dog, => Even if you keep
Even if keeping a dog is allowed in our apartment = is allowed in your apartment

Otherwise, a dog gets fat easily => Otherwise, dogs get fat easily (dogs in general) OR Otherwise, it will get fat easily (the example dog from the previous sentence)

it is a great grief to see => it is a shame to see (because "great grief" sounds super-serious and uncommon, and therefore a little awkward)

A subdued dog => For some reason "subdued" seems strange here, I think because it's basically being used as a synonym for "quiet," but it has its own associations. I might go with "sedate" perhaps?

for the elderly people => for elderly people

With those changes, it would read more naturally and be harder to distinguish from a native speaker's writing. The sentences are still somewhat short, on average, so it would still have an air of simplicity, possibly feeling like the writing of a middle or high-schooler. (The format contributes to that feeling, too, since it basically sounds like a response to an essay prompt.)

I woke up too early and couldn't get back to sleep, but now I'm tired again, so I will save the rest for later :)

Mrs. Malone said...

Hi Liana,
I got up, turned on a PC, found your detailed comment and went to YEAH!
I'm terribly excited to tell you what this material is or ..., but first I've got to make obento for my husband and son, so I'm coming back again. I know other tadokers will also get thrilled reading yours. The reason? later!

Liana said...

Haha, if it's thrilling then I'd better take a look at the other one ^^;;

reducing use of oil => reducing the use of oil

One thing is that developed countries could help developing countries by giving a fuel-efficient technology to their automobile makers.
"One thing" here sounds kind of vague and conversational. I might rewrite it like so: "One possible solution could be for developed countries to help developing countries by giving fuel-efficient technologies to their automobile makers." This sentence, though, seems to me like the setup for the rest of the essay -- but the rest of the essay doesn't expand on the idea at all, so placing the line here seems kind of random and underdeveloped to me.

Also, gasoline used in their cars is well-known for its bad quality.
There's something about this sentence I don't quite like. Having a hard time saying why, though ^^;;

It is a tragedy to see them
Tragedy is a really heavy word. Perhaps "It is a pity to see them riding on motorbikes in a traffic jam."

"Finally, it is pointed out that laws and regulations should be enforced effectively in many developing countries. Especially, some Asian countries like China and Thailand have built manufacturing factories in local areas. Also, some developed countries move their domestic factories to low-waged countries."
This whole paragraph is organized poorly. What is the connection between these three sentences? What do the lower wages of developing countries have to do with greenhouse gases? I bet I know the point they're going for, and it needs a sentence to tie it all together - something like "Because the laws and regulations in these areas are unevenly enforced, factories can get away with releasing extra emissions, which increases global warming." But I can write that kind of sentence because I've seen thousands of essays like this one; the author can't expect most readers to make such an inference.

The dog essay had three coherent ideas, but with this one, it feels like the author is throwing in a lot of ideas that are only vaguely connected to each other. So while the command of English is good, the organization is lacking, and the effect is shallow. As with the other one, it's obvious that it's being written in response to an essay prompt, and it feels oddly short.

I should note that with these two corrections, I'm being rather picky about everything in a way that I am not when I do lang-8 corrections or read most writing by non-native speakers (outside of when I'm at work). I'm not this harsh most of the time, is what I mean to say, but it seems like what you want is basically a peek into my brain as I read these, so I tried to explain my thought processes :) I have a huge amount of experience reading writing written by non-native speakers, but writing at this level would be perfectly understandable and not strange feeling to most Americans, although it does feel like a non-native speaker wrote it.

Clarissa said...

There are various awkward things in the writing. I would rewrite it a lot if it were for publication. If it were student work, though, I'd be happy with it and would only suggest minor changes. (It's totally comprehensible, after all.) I'm dying to know what it's from/for. :)

Mrs. Malone said...

Yes, I was hoping to get a comment from you, Clarissa! but I read you tweeting having got a cold, so I was reluctant to push you. I'm glad to have your comment finally!
OK, so I'll let blog readers know which book they're from. Check my latest entry, please.
You know, I got some comments from five native speakers of English beside you, and all of them agree that the excerpts are no good. But their comments might strongly offend some teachers of English in Japan, so I decided to discuss it in a closed place such as a mailing list of Japanese teachers interested in tadoku.
How are your days? Are you feeling good now?

Clarissa said...

Aw, very kind of you! I'm getting better...it's taking a while, though!