May 22, 2012

自分の書く英語に欠けていたもの

今日もツイート対話のおかげで、Aha!な気づきのあるスタートです。

どういうAhaだったかというと、自分が3年前に書いた英文と、今の英文って、
何か違うよなあ~と思っていて、その違いがやっと言葉なった。
それは「無駄」「遊び」「余裕」ってこと。

ここで二つの英文をのせてみます。
これは、2009年6月に書いたもの。お題は「英語に自信をなくした理由」

I didn't know why but I was not in a mood to use English lately, and I almost lost confidence in my English ability. I know it's terribly awkward to mumble like this, I can do many things in English, listening to podcast, watching youtube, talking to my friend in Utah and mailing to some friends in US and Canada... That's great, isn't it.
However, It's a different story once your English competence is measured by the standard of Japanese English education.

I took an English test, TOEIC, the other day, and I didn't do well as much as I expected partly because my back started to ache being forced to sit on a fixed seat for two hours, so I couldn't concentrate, and mostly because it was not allowed to write down any marks on the question sheet. I found it terribly difficult to remember the important parts of the story or the names. If I were to put some marks on the sheet, it would be much much easier to pick up the correct answers. sigh...

Furthermore, I have a chance to read some Japanese English textbooks for high schoolers and it was sooo difficult. Of course I can understand it easily, but I doubt it that I would ever be able to write such complicated sentences...phew

So these experiences made me doubt my English ability, but now I know the reason why I ended up losing my confidence.
Our English ability is measured only by the correctness and the amount of knowledge about language itself in Japanese education system.
But I'm able to use English not because the knowledge but something like my characteristics. My English ability wouldn't be measured properly unless my characteristics such as aggressiveness or curiosity is somehow included into the test. There is no room for me to show my strong points.

次に、同じお題使って書いてみる。。。

So, it's about the time when I lost my confidence in my English ability. I've been feeling positive and feel like nothing stops me from going ahead of my pursue of becoming a better user of English, so there aren't many stories I can remember, but here is one experience that is slightly related to the topic. 

I do some easy Japanese to English translation from time to time for an indie project, that I'm working on with some friends scattered around the world. One time, I asked one person to check my  translation and got a reply with the draft marked beet red all over the pages. Then this friend got too busy to check the rest of my translation, so I asked another person to check the rest. What happened is that she didn't make much correction and even said to me that my translation got some minor  grammatical mistakes, but over all, it's very nicely done. 

Huh? The amount of corrections they made on my translation was quite different. Why does it mean? And I began to wonder how seriously I should take those comments from native speakers of English about my English writing. Can't it be said that even if my translation was thoroughly corrected, it might not imply that mine was intolerably poor and doesn't make any sense. The amount of corrections might varies depending on what kind of writing a proofreader likes or how much a proofreader is familiar with Japanese way of thinking or communication.

I think it's a commonly believed idea that to improve your English writing, you've got to ask native speakers or teachers to correct your writing and you should learn from corrections that what kind of mistakes you're likely to make. But if you're able to write fairly acceptable sentences with simple grammar and plain words, there should be another way to improve your writing other than having made corrections all the time. Some might enjoy writing as many words as they can, and the more they write, the finer their writing would become. They don't need to be reminded again and again that their writing is not perfect. What they really need is to feel confident and being encouragement that they can do it. That makes them to be a frequent and happy writer, and slowly but surely, their writing will be improved and polished, I believe.

さてさて、上記の二つの文章って、違いがあるかなあ?
少なくとも自分の中では、書くときの「楽さ加減」が、全く違います。
今は楽しい。そういうのって測れないからなあ~
ともかくですよ、私はプロの書き手さんになるわけじゃない。
だったら、気持ちよく書いた文章のほうが、読む人にとっても親切だよね、と思うのです。

ーーーーー
最後に、ツイートで多読仲間の方と交わした会話なんですが、

私:自分がブログに書いた3年前の英文と、今の英文を比べたら、何が変化したのかわかってきた。今の文章には「無駄」がある。だから読みやすいんだ、自然なんだ、人間らしいんだ。

友:英検では顔のない、無駄のない文を書くのが無難に点数を取る方法。だって「遊び」をいれるとそこで足をすくわれる。でも、実は「遊び」のない文章ってとても退屈な文章なんだよ・・・。

無駄っていうとworthlessな響きだけど、「遊び」「余裕」と言い換えるとpositiveですよね。
これからも、数年後にはまた違ってくると信じて、
常識にとらわれないでいこう、これっきゃないです。

3 comments:

Whiskers said...

You.... I thought you're gonna write a post on another blog! Duh.
Well, of course you feel more comfortable writing here, I can understand.

It's so cool that you put up your post from the past and the one you just wrote together. Even though the older one sounds quite good, the new one flows more naturally. This is really...WOW.

Now when and how do you think this change happened? Did it gradually change? Or rather drastically?

If you could analyze this, probably you can write a book!

Mrs.Malone_emmie said...

You're right, if I were able to narrow down the crucial reason why I manged to change my writing style, I'd be writing a book for people who wish to write English more pleasantly, but that's what I can't remember. Or it might just there was no particular explanation besides the fact that I've read many books.
You know, I'm really proud of myself not having listen to the widely believed voices that you have to learn how to write grammatically perfect sentences and then you should learn from all the corrections made by native speakers. By far the most important thing is to relax and write whatever you like as much as you're satisfied. It's simple, isn't it?

Whiskers said...

Hm. Even if you couldn't find what changed your writing style, I think you should write a book! And you must include the episode that you thought 'together' 「補語」!For school English grammar lovers, it really is an unbelievable story. No school English teacher can imagine someone with close-to-nil knowledge of grammar can write English this fluently.