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In the comments on the last entry, Anne asked whether there is a difference between a vicious “circle” and a vicious “cycle.” Actually, these two expressions have the same meaning, and both are commonly used, although I think “circle” is probably the original. Last week on a BBC radio show that I often listen to, they did a feature on common sayings and expressions that people get wrong. (I am talking about native speakers of English, not learners.)

People make mistakes in their own language for a number of reasons. With common expressions and phrases, this often happens in English because someone mishears someone else (often a parent), and then starts using the expression wrongly themselves. One good example of this is the expression “I couldn’t care less.” The meaning of this phrase is “I don’t care at all. In fact, it would not be possible for me to care any less than I do, because that amount is zero.” In everyday English, however, it is common to hear people say “I could care less,” which doesn’t make any sense at all.

Another one I hear a lot is “I did it off my own back.” This should be “I did it off my own bat.” It is a metaphor taken from the sport of cricket, and it means that you did something without anyone else’s help. “Off my own back” has no meaning at all, but it is amazing how many people say it.

Here is an article from a UK newspaper that lists some other common mistakes.

It is not just sayings like these that native speakers get wrong because they mishear them. The same thing happens with everyday language. Have you heard of the song “It must of been love”? No, neither have I! The correct title is “It must have been love,” but in phrases like “must have” and “could have,” the word “have” is pronounced in a way that makes it sound like “of,” and a large number of people in the UK now actually think that is correct.

A man who lives near my parents in Wales runs his own business advising people on the language used on their websites. He told me that almost every site he looks at has serious mistakes in either grammar, spelling, or both. I have another friend who is a financial adviser, and when I looked at his company’s website, I found mistakes in almost all of the staff introductions. One of the most common mistakes is the incorrect use of apostrophes, particularly the difference between “it’s” and “its.” You would not believe how many native speakers of English are not sure of the difference between those two words. Other common mistakes are “your/you’re” and “their/there/they’re.”

Anyway, I thought that as learners of English, it might cheer you up to know that native speakers use the language incorrectly all the time. I was also thinking that it might be interesting to discuss some things that Japanese people often get wrong in Japanese. That would probably cheer learners like me up!

Look forward to hearing your ideas.

74 Comments

  1. Tomo on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 02:07 PM

    Hi David,

    Thanks for your feedback on my question! Actually, it was my first “hiniku”(I’m not sure whether it was “irony” or “sarcasm.”) in English, so I’m glad that it sounded natural. When we talked about “irony and sarcasm” a long time ago, it was difficult for me to use them, but it seems like I was able to take a step forward. Yay!(LOL)

    This week’s topic is very interesting, and it cheered me up. If native speakers use their language incorrectly all the time, it is natural for learners to make mistakes.

    > I was also thinking that it might be interesting to discuss some things that Japanese people often get wrong in Japanese. That would probably cheer learners like me up!

    The saying 情けは人の為ならず came to mind. This means, “The good you do for others is good you do yourself” or “One good turn deserves another”(情けは人のためではなく、いずれは巡って自分に返ってくるのであるから、誰にでも親切にしておいた方が良い), but some people think it means, “Being lenient( or Going easy) on him is not really helping him.” 情けをかけることは、結局はその人のためにならない(のですべきではない)

    Hi YU,
    >As you know, I love Japan, and I now consider it my home.
    >”Home” in the sense David meant in his sentence is maybe “A place where your heart(you) belongs to??

    I was thinking how I would express it in Japanese if I were him. I would say, 今では自分の国のように思っています, so I think it could be interpreted as a place where your heart(you) belongs.

    Hi everyone,

    How was your weekend? I had a busy one. I went to hospital to have an annual health checks on Saturday. I was going to take it easy in the afternoon, but my niece asked me to help her with her English study for the test, so I did it. On Sunday, I helped my middle son, his friend, my oldest son, and my niece(She is a hard worker, isn’t she?) with their English studies. I was glad they were willing to learn, but it took me all day, so I was tired. I admire teachers doing this every day!

    See you soon,

    Tomo



  2. Tomo on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 02:14 PM

    By the way, David, did you put the picture because the sign has a spelling mistake?(“FINNISH”(フィンランド人/語) should be “FINISH”?)



  3. David Barker on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 02:18 PM

    Hi Tomo,

    Yes, that’s why I chose the picture.

    Re the “home” translation, I sometimes say 心の古里. Does that sound strange?



  4. YU on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 02:28 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    Reading David’s entry, the term “姑息(な)” came to my mind first.

    Most of Japanese people believe that “姑息な” means
    “ずるい(sly, sneaky) or 卑怯な(mean, dirty)”, but it correctly means 間に合わせの、一時しのぎの(makeshift, temporizing).
    “姑息な” is often used in combination with another word “手段”(means, way). So, for those who misunderstands the meaning of “姑息な”, “姑息な手段” means “a dirty means”(卑怯な手段), but of course, it actually means “a temporizing measure”(一時しのぎの手段).

    Having said that, I’m not entitled to laugh at them, because I also didn’t know its correct meaning until just recently – until I learned it from a quiz show I watched by chance several years ago….hahaha…. 😉

    > He told me that almost every site he looks at has serious mistakes in either grammar, spelling, or both.

    I just remembered about an advertising leaflet of a construction company I received last weekend.
    It isn’t common these days, but everything was written by hand of the company’s president.
    His handwriting was really good, but I found many small mistakes in grammar. I know it’s not my business, but his errors disgusted me.
    I suddenly started to feel like correcting his mistakes, and in reality, I drew correction lines through his mistakes and then corrected them. After finishing the work, I somehow felt refreshed!!

    See you !



  5. Tomo on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 02:32 PM

    Hi David,

    I think 心のふるさと makes sense, but I would use hiragana or 故郷. It’s just my preference, though.



  6. YU on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 02:47 PM

    Hi David and Tomo,

    > Re the “home” translation, I sometimes say 心の古里. Does that sound strange?

    I don’t think it sounds strange at all, but it looks more natural if you write 古里 in hiragana.
    What do you think, Tomo?
    Actually, it(心のふるさと) came to my mind when I wrote “A place where your heart belongs to” !!



  7. YU on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 02:58 PM

    Hi Tomo,

    It seems that you agree with me in using hiragana for 古里!!



  8. YU on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 03:35 PM

    Hi everyone,

    I still have the leaflet in question! まだあった!

    Here are some examples. I found the following Japanese somehow strange. What do you think? If it were you, what would you say?

    1. その理由は今も昔も家を建てるのは職人・人の手で造ることに変わりないからです。

    2. ただ最近悲しいのは『本物の大工の仕事』ができる職人が少なくなってきました。

    *This is not a Japanese language test !
    I just want to know if my corrections were right.



  9. ashmoleanmuse on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 04:26 PM

    Hi David,

    > One of the most common mistakes is the incorrect use of apostrophes, particularly the difference between “it’s” and “its.” You would not believe how many native speakers of English are not sure of the difference between those two words. Other common mistakes are “your/you’re” and “their/there/they’re.”

    I find these mistakes more often than not. No one is perfect, eh?

    > The correct title is “It must have been love,” but in phrases like “must have” and “could have,” the word “have” is pronounced in a way that makes it sound like “of,” and a large number of people in the UK now actually think that is correct.

    I find this kind of thing in online lyrics once in a while.

    The phrase 「気が置けない」is often used incorrectly. “ 彼は気が置けない人だ = He is not trustworthy.” The correct use of 「気が置けない」is “He is an easy person to be with”.

    Oh, and is there any deference between ‘the other way round’ and ‘the other way around’?

    Ash



  10. Tomo on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 04:41 PM

    Hi YU,

    It’s more embarrassing to make mistakes in my own language than in English, but let me try.

    1. その理由は今も昔も家を建てるのは職人・人の手で造ることに変わりないからです。

    I would say, その理由は、今も昔も家を建てるのは職人、人の手だということに変わりはないからです。

    2. ただ最近悲しいのは『本物の大工の仕事』ができる職人が少なくなってきました。

    I would say, ただ最近悲しいのは、『本物の大工の仕事』ができる職人が少なくなってきたことです。

    As for the word ”姑息な”, I have a feeling that it could have the meaning of ずるい, 汚い, or 卑怯 as well. Am I wrong? Has it changed because we have been using it wrongly??

    Tomo



  11. Tomo on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 04:44 PM

    Or

    ただ最近悲しいことに、『本物の大工の仕事』ができる職人が少なくなってきました。



  12. YU on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 05:29 PM

    Hi Tomo,

    > It’s more embarrassing to make mistakes in my own language than in English, but let me try.

    Indeed!
    I admire your チャレンジ精神!!
    I don’t know if my ideas are right, but let me share mine with you.

    > 1. その理由は今も昔も家を建てるのは職人・人の手で造ることに変わりないからです。
    > I would say, その理由は、今も昔も家を建てるのは職人、人の手だということに変わりはないからです。

    I think another strange point is that “理由” and “から” are used at the same time in a sentence.
    So, I would say,

    それは今も昔も家を建てるのは職人、(つまり)人の手であるということに変わりはないからです。

    2. ただ最近悲しいのは『本物の大工の仕事』ができる職人が少なくなってきました。
    > I would say, ただ最近悲しいのは、『本物の大工の仕事』ができる職人が少なくなってきたことです。

    I think yours is right !!
    I guess ただ悲しいことに『本物の大工の仕事』ができる職人が少なくなってきました would be fine as well. What do you think?

    > As for the word ”姑息な”, I have a feeling that it could have the meaning of ずるい, 汚い, or 卑怯 as well. Am I wrong?

    I’m not sure, but I guess if you write so in a Japanese test, you will probably get an “X”(ばってん). Apparently, 広辞苑 doesn’t explain the meaning of ずるい、汚い or 卑怯 yet…
    Having said that, as you say, language changes sometimes when slang(incorrect usage) becomes more common than the original.



  13. YU on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 05:48 PM

    Hi Tomo,

    Or

    今も昔も家を建てるのは職人、(つまり)人の手であるということに変わりはない、というのがその理由です could be fine as well.

    However, I often see Japanese people writing “理由は~からです” sentences.
    主語『理由は』述語『~からです』ってヘンじゃないですか?

    Or am I ヘン?



  14. David Barker on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 05:52 PM

    Hi Ash,

    They mean the same thing, but “round” tends to be used more in British English, and “around” tends to be used more in American English.



  15. Anne on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 06:51 PM

    Hi David,
    > these two expressions have the same meaning, and both are commonly used, although I think “circle” is probably the original. —Oh, I see. Thank you for letting me know.

    Hi YU and Tomo,
    My ideas are almost same as yours, but anyway let me share.
    >1. その理由は今も昔も家を建てるのは職人・人の手で造ることに変わりないからです。

    本文のどの部分をいかすかによりますが。。。
    ーーーその理由として、今も昔も家は職人、人の手によって造られる(建てられる)事には変わりはない、という事があげられます。

    >2. ただ最近悲しいのは『本物の大工の仕事』ができる職人が少なくなってきました
    ーーただ悲しいことに、最近『本物の大工の仕事』ができる職人が少なくなってきました。

    YUのと同じですが、どういうわけか、”最近”の位置がここの方がすっきりするような気がします。意味が違ってきますが。。。
    >, it actually means “a temporizing measure”(一時しのぎの手段).
    ーーーI didn’t know that!!!

    See you soon,

    Anne



  16. Tomo on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 06:55 PM

    Hi YU,

    Thank for your feedback!

    I see. As you said, it sounds a bit strange that “理由” and “から” are used in the same sentence. I think my sentence would be okay if it was その理由は、今も昔も家を建てるのは職人、(つまり)人の手だということに変わりはないということです, but this may sound a bit clumsy, so I think それは~からです would be better.

    I guess it can be “それは~だからです”, “その理由は~です”, or your version “・・・というのが理由です”, but like you said, I also see many people say, その理由は~からです even in dictionaries as translations for English sentences like “The reason is…”, so it’s getting natural to me…

    >I guess ただ悲しいことに『本物の大工の仕事』ができる職人が少なくなってきました would be fine as well. What do you think?

    I think it would be fine, too.

    >Apparently, 広辞苑 doesn’t explain the meaning of ずるい、汚い or 卑怯 yet…

    It doesn’t? I checked some thesauruses(類語辞典), and they say 姑息 can be used as in ずるい, 汚い, 卑怯, and some other meanings like 腹黒い or 陰険. What do you think?

    Tomo



  17. Tomo on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 06:56 PM

    Hi Anne,

    I just found your comment, but I have to cook dinner, so I read it later!



  18. ashmoleanmuse on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 07:26 PM

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the quick reply!

    Ash



  19. YU on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 08:05 PM

    Hi Tomo,

    I see. Recent dictionaries introduce some other meanings, that’s new to me!
    At leaset my 広辞苑(2008,2009版) doesn’t explain so,
    but I’m not sure about the latest edition.

    Every year 文化庁 makes a survey of public opinion on Japanese language. And last year the term “姑息” was the center of attention. 

    http://www.bunka.go.jp/publish/bunkachou_geppou/2012_06/series_10/series_10.html

    I think it’s still safer to use 姑息 in the original meaning, but I may start to use it in the meanings of 卑怯 or ずるい sometime in the near future if 広辞苑 explains them…

    > I guess it can be “それは~だからです”, “その理由は~です”, or your version “・・・というのが理由です”, but like you said, I also see many people say, その理由は~からです

    I think その理由は comes after the question of “~はなぜ(ですか)?” The most natural answers should be not “その理由は”, but “なぜなら~(だ)からです” or “それは~(だ)からです”. If you want to use the phrase その理由は no matter what, then you must finish the sentence without using “から”, so その理由は~です, as you say. However, that sounds still a bit strange to me.

    Hi Anne,

    >本文のどの部分をいかすかによりますが。。。
    ーーーその理由として、今も昔も家は職人、人の手によって造られる(建てられる)事には変わりはない、という事があげられます。

    I think this would be fine as well.
    It sounds very natural!!

    >2. ただ最近悲しいのは『本物の大工の仕事』ができる職人が少なくなってきました
    ーーただ悲しいことに、最近『本物の大工の仕事』ができる職人が少なくなってきました。
    > YUのと同じですが、どういうわけか、”最近”の位置がここの方がすっきりするような気がします。意味が違ってきますが。。。

    You’re right! Japanese language is 深い~!!

    See you !



  20. David Barker on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 08:23 PM

    Hi YU

    I think you will find that every language in the world is 深い, not just Japanese. The human brain is an amazing thing.



  21. David Barker on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    Hi everyone,

    I am just in the process of learning to use Facebook as a company. If you are on Facebook, please search for BTB Press. If you “like” us, you will get a notification when I update the blog, so you won’t have to keep checking on Mondays and Fridays to see whether the new entry is there yet.



  22. Anne on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    This week’s topic is interesting and I’m relieved to know that even native speakers in English use the words incorrectly. Having said that, I’m worried about MY use of Japanese!
    I had a look at the site you had showed us, and none of them were familiar with me.

    Here are some words or phrases that came to mind:
    1. 「ご苦労様」
    There is no problem with the phrase itself, but this is the one that is used from people in higher position to the subordinates. Just suppose a freshman says “ご苦労様” to his/her boss when his/her boss leaves the office at the end of the day, his/her future in the office would be miserable or “the boss” would “冷笑する” with his/her remark.

    2. 「ら」抜き言葉
    I guess a lot more people have become to use “「ら」抜き言葉 such as “食べれる/見れる/来れる” these days but I don’t like these words.
    They should be “食べられる/見られる/来られる.”

    3. 全然+positive meaning

    ”全然” is originally used with phrase that implies negative meaning like “全然。。ない.” These days people often use the expression” 全然ーーいい.”

    Well… there are lots of expressions that come up with me, but anyway that’s all for tonight.

    Good night!

    Anne



  23. Tomo on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    Hi YU,

    Thanks for your explanation and the interesting link! In the article, they introduce the definitions of the word from three dictionaries. 日本国語大辞典 第2版(平成12~14年) didn’t mention the meaning of 卑怯 at all, 大辞林 第3版(平成18年) says the usage is wrong, and 新明解国語辞典 第7版(平成23年) says it is used commonly(俗に). It seems that the definition is changing little by little, but like you said, it would be better for us to stick to the original meaning for the time being. Also, we need be careful if we start a sentence with その理由は・・・.(← This structure is a bit tricky, isn’t it?) Anyway, thanks again for your Japanese lesson!

    Hi Anne,

    Thanks for sharing your ideas. I think your version is not only natural but also beautiful!
    母国語を正しく使うのも難しいです。。

    >1. 「ご苦労様」
    In that case, it should be お疲れ様です, right?

    2と3については、私は全然OKですね~ってこれですよね? はい、分かってます。間違ってます!(笑) I don’t use it in writings, but I use it in everyday conversation with my family or friends.

    Hi David and everyone,

    I think it is an informal expression, and people use it wrongly on purpose, but the expression やばい came to mind. As you know, this means, “Oh, no!”, “This is bad.” or “Things have gone wrong”(危険や不都合な状況が予測されるさま), but it is used as in すごくいい or 最高(like “Awesome!”) these days, especially by young people. I wonder whether children who learned it from TV or their big brothers/sisters know the original meaning.

    Good night,

    Tomo



  24. Tomo on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    Hi David,

    Sorry, but I’m not on Facebook…



  25. David Barker on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    I don’t know whether it is actually wrong or not, but when I studied Japanese, I was taught that you shouldn’t use お in front of katakana words. I am not a native speaker of Japanese, but I hate おタバコ and especially おビール even though I’m not sure why. They just sound really ugly to me.



  26. David Barker on Monday July 2nd, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    Hi Tomo,

    Don’t worry about it – I’m not really on Facebook either. I just use it for my company. I never post anything personal.

    Actually, I am getting quite advanced now, and I am going to do updates on Twitter as well! (I will probably make a mess of it, though.) If you are on Twitter, search for BTB Press. If you follow me there, I will let you know when new entries are published.



  27. Kotomi Ohtake on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    Good evening,David and everyone.
    I am Kotomi.
    Nice to meet you.
    (↑Is this expression right in this scene?)

    I was surpresed that native English speakers use incorrect words!
    I had thought they used accurate English.

    Well,I come to think of incorrect Japanese word which natives are using.

    That is “やばい.”
    This word is ordinally used when we are in dangerous situation.
    However,these days,it is also used in order to tell something is fantastic,for instance,”やばい。これ、おいしい。”



  28. amo on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 at 08:39 AM

    Hi David and everyone,

    27 comments on one day?? That’s awesome:)

    It seems that almost all common mistakes that I could think of are already listed by others. If I can remember anything, I will let you know later.

    Hi Kotomi,

    Nice to have you with us:)
    Am looking forward to your next comment.

    Oh, this is my station, I got to go now,
    Bye
    amo



  29. ashmoleanmuse on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 at 09:22 AM

    Hi David,

    > If you are on Facebook, please search for BTB Press. If you “like” us, you will get a notification when I update the blog, so you won’t have to keep checking on Mondays and Fridays to see whether the new entry is there yet.

    I’ve checked it.

    “This week’s BTB Blog for Learners topic “Things That English Speakers Get Wrong” has now been uploaded.” 今週の BTB ブログ学習トピック「物事が英語スピーカーを得る間違って」が公​開されました

    As ever, the translation by Bing is odd.

    Ash



  30. ashmoleanmuse on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 at 09:46 AM

    David,

    > , but I hate おタバコ and especially おビール even though I’m not sure why. They just sound really ugly to me.

    Generally, お should not be used with loanwords.

    Having said that, おタバコ is OK with me, but おビール, Nooo!

    One of my friends said おケーキ、which had made me shudder.

    Ash



  31. YU on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 at 09:55 AM

    Hi Kotomi,

    Nice to have you with us!! 🙂

    Hi Anne,

    > 1. 「ご苦労様」
    Just suppose a freshman says “ご苦労様” to his/her boss when his/her boss leaves the office at the end of the day, his/her future in the office would be miserable or “the boss” would “冷笑する” with his/her remark.

    There was a man who always started all internal documents(e-mails) with “ご苦労様です” in the company I used to work for. He was not a freshman. He was hired after having worked somewhere else.
    One day, I told him, “ご苦労様 is not an appropriate phrase for your superiors or elders.” He looked shocked and asked me in return, “Then, what should I say?”. I answered, “Maybe お疲れ様です!?, but I don’t think those words are necessary when you draft internal documents in the first place”.

    > 2. 「ら」抜き言葉
    I guess a lot more people have become to use “「ら」抜き言葉 such as “食べれる/見れる/来れる” these days but I don’t like these words.
    They should be “食べられる/見られる/来られる.”

    My son has been trying to learn the correct usage of 『れる/られる』. Like Tomo, I sometimes use 『ら』抜き言葉 myself unconsciously, but I must stop it for my son!!

    >3. 全然+positive meaning

    全然いいよ or 全然OK are getting normal in everyday conversation, but I don’t use them in writings.
    Strangely, I even feel nicer when someone tells me “全然+いい/大丈夫/OK” than without “全然” these days. I might have been corrupted by the wrong usage of “全然”…. (汗)

    Hi Tomo and Kotomi,

    I don’t use “やばい” in the way you mentioned myself, but I ofen hear young people using it in the wrong way. I wonder who started it first…

    Hi David,

    > I was taught that you shouldn’t use お in front of katakana words. I am not a native speaker of Japanese, but I hate おタバコ and especially おビール even though I’m not sure why. They just sound really ugly to me.

    The expressions of おタバコ or おビール remind me of nightclub hostesses…

    『おタバコはお吸いになられますか?』

    This sounds really ugly to me.
    Too many 丁寧語 in the same sentence is ヘン!!

    Hi everyone,

    Another strange Japanese came to my mind.
    That is “~になります”.
    When you are served dishes you ordered in a restaurant, maybe 90% of waiters/waitresses use this phrase nowadays – 『ハンバーグセットになります』

    Whenever I hear it, I wonder when my meal “becomes” ハンバーグセット. Is “this” still in the progress of becoming a ハンバーグセット? If so, please cook in the kitchen first, and then serve me!!

    See you !



  32. Tomo on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    Hi Kotomi,

    Nice to have you with us! It seems like we came up with the same expression やばい 🙂

    >Nice to meet you.
    (↑Is this expression right in this scene?)

    Hmmm, I see some people use it on the blog, but I’m not sure about this. I wouldn’t use it in this case because “meet” sounds a bit strange to me, but I understand Japanese people(including me!) want to say はじめまして when they join a new community.

    Hi David,

    I just signed up for Twitter and followed you. I thought Twitter was easier(or simpler) than Facebook, but I don’t know what to do… I need to read “how to use Twitter”!

    Hi YU,

    >Whenever I hear it, I wonder when my meal “becomes” ハンバーグセット. Is “this” still in the progress of becoming a ハンバーグセット? If so, please cook in the kitchen first, and then serve me!!

    You are right!!(LOL) I guess you would feel strange when you hear a cashier say, “~円からお預かりします.”

    See you soon,

    Tomo



  33. ashmoleanmuse on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    Hi YU,

    > The expressions of おタバコ or おビール remind me of nightclub hostesses…

    Have you ever been to a nightclub?

    > 『おタバコはお吸いになられますか?』This sounds really ugly to me. Too many 丁寧語 in the same sentence is ヘン!!

    Yeah, redundant 敬語 is discussing.

    Ash



  34. ashmoleanmuse on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Oh, not again.

    Discussing should have read disgusting.

    Ash



  35. YU on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    Hi Tomo,

    > I guess you would feel strange when you hear a cashier say, “~円からお預かりします.”

    I assume they say that just because it’s written so in their 業務マニュアル, but I want to know who on earth writes such an “interesting” manual !! (LOL)

    Hi Ash,

    No, I’ve never been to a nightclub
    But I’m a bit curious to learn how they attract male customers, because I can’t do that at all !!



  36. David Barker on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    Hi Kotomi,

    Thanks for your comment. It’s a bit difficult to say what is natural and what is not natural on a blog, but when you say your name, it would be better to say “My name is Kotomi.”

    Actually, Japanese people often use the expression “Nice to meet you” wrongly. You can only say this after you have met someone. Japanese people often say to me, “Hi, nice to meet you,” which makes me want to say, “You haven’t met me yet!”



  37. ashmoleanmuse on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    YU:

    > But I’m a bit curious to learn how they attract male customers, because I can’t do that at all !!

    Are you working in the place where you have to attract male customers? No offence intended.

    David:

    > You can only say this after you have met someone. Japanese people often say to me, “Hi, nice to meet you,” which makes me want to say, “You haven’t met me yet!”

    I would use “Nice to see you” when I meet people who I’ve previously known and “Nice to meet you” when I meet someone for the first time.

    Ash



  38. Kotomi on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 at 01:57 PM

    Hi,Tomo!
    I feel strange when someone use “やばい” in positive meaning.
    But, I use it so often.

    Hi, David!
    Oh, I see.
    Actually,we cannot meet people through the Internet.
    But, as Tomo said,I want to say はじめまして when I join a new comunity.



  39. David Barker on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 at 02:52 PM

    Hi Kotomi,

    One of the most difficult things about learning a language is learning how to not say things that you would say in your own language. English doesn’t have yoroshiku onegaishimasu either, I’m afraid!



  40. ashmoleanmuse on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 at 04:28 PM

    Ah, otsukaresama is one of them, right?



  41. rinko on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 at 06:08 PM

    Hi David and everyone.

    Wow! There are already lots of comments for this week’s topic!

    To tell the truth, I have some words I’d completely misunderstood and misheard for a long time.

    One of them is “確信犯”. I thought the meaning of this is “to do something on purpose” in another words,”to do something pretending not to know anything” But actually this means “Someone commits a crime but he or she believes strongly it’s a justice”

    And another one is rally embarrassing.
    As you know there is an expression “話を脚色する” which means that “dramatize a story” or “make a story exaggeratedly “. I misheard this for “話を着色する”and used to use it wrongly when talking with someone very long time! I don’t remember when I noticed my mistake but it’s quite late(maybe I was in university..I’m not sure)and I was very shocked with my silly.

    Hi Ash and Kotomi.
    Nice to have you with us!
    Sorry I’m late to say this, Ash.

    Bye for now everyone!

    rinko



  42. YU on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 at 08:01 PM

    Hi everyone,

    I always thought that “雰囲気” should be read as “ふいんき”. I never payed attention to how to read each kanjis – “雰”(ふん),”囲”(い), and “気”(き).
    To tell the truth, it still sounds “ふいんき” to me when I hear it. Don’t you all pronounce it “ふいんき” actually???

    See you !



  43. Kotomi on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 at 08:45 PM

    Hi, Yu!
    I think I pronounce it truly.
    But, I sometimes sound “ふいんき” when I hear it.
    So, when I say “ふんいき”, someone may sounds like “ふいんき.”



  44. Fumie on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    This week’s topic is interesting. Yes, it cheers me up to know that even native speakers use the language incorrectly all the time. I must admit that I use Japanese incorrectly sometime or there are some words or phrases that I use as wrong meanings.
    I misunderstood the meanings of “情けは人の為ならず”and ”姑息“. I didn’t even know how to read 姑息。 You can guess how bad my Japanese is. So it’s a good chance to know correct usages and meanings of some Japanese. I read the article that David mentioned, one common mistake I find interesting is “Nip in the butt”. Of course the correct way to say this is “bud” not “butt”. As you know “butt” has a meaning of bottom.
    Although I make a mistake often in my own language but I can’t think of those words and phrases right now. So I looked up some sites. Here is one. 
    http://machigaijp.ti-da.net/

    Hi Kotomi,

    Nice to have you with us!

    Hi David,

    Last night my son asked me that what is the difference “will”, “be going to ” and ” be ing”. I know those three are used when we talk about future but I only vaguely knew the differences. So I cheked A-Z book and said to him to read pages that explaining those differences. He said I beginning to understand. (The explanations in school textbook is like mumbo jumbo.) Your explanations are easy to understand. (Your Japanese is so good!)

    Fumie



  45. Tomo on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    Hi YU,

    I know it’s not correct, but I pronounce it as “ふいんき” because it’s easier to say and sounds more natural to me. I still remember that I was very surprised when I learned the correct version. I think it was when I was in the 5th or 6th grade, and one day, a teacher wrote ふん囲気 (or ふんい気) on the blackboard.(We hadn’t learned “雰” at that time.) Everyone in the class thought that the teacher had made a mistake, and someone asked about it to her, but of course she was right! 正しい言い方を知っても、気をつけて「ふんいき」なんて言ったことないですね~ 日本人失格??(笑)

    Tomo



  46. Tomo on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    Hi rinko,

    >One of them is “確信犯”. I thought the meaning of this is “to do something on purpose” in another words,”to do something pretending not to know anything” But actually this means “Someone commits a crime but he or she believes strongly it’s a justice”

    I didn’t know the correct meaning! My dictionary says the same thing, but I found some dictionaries say the wrong meaning is also okay now, so maybe it’s changing or has changed??

    Anyway, please have a look at this site.

    http://kotobank.jp/word/%E7%A2%BA%E4%BF%A1%E7%8A%AF

    下にスクロールして「デジタル大辞泉」と「大辞林 第三版」のところを見てみて下さい。

    Tomo



  47. David Barker on Wednesday July 4th, 2012 at 12:12 AM

    Hi Fumie,

    Thanks for your comment. My Japanese is only good because I have a very good editor, but I’m glad your son liked my explanation. Please tell him that it is not possible to completely understand the different uses of English future forms: I don’t completely understand it, Michael Swan doesn’t completely understand it, and I can guarantee your son that his English teacher doesn’t completely understand it either! Language is not like maths or science, and one of the key things to understand is that it is not possible to understand it completely.



  48. YU on Wednesday July 4th, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    Hi Kotomi and Tomo,

    Thanks for your comments regarding “雰囲気”.
    As Tomo says, it’s not easy to pronouce “ふ-ん-い-き” in natural speaking speed. And that might be one of the reasons why we started to pronounce “ふ-い-ん-き”.

    Another wrong Japanese : こんにちわ

    I really really often see people writing こんにちわ.
    It is correctly “こんにちは”.

    “こんにちは(今日は)” was once part of a greeting sentence (today is …), however, its use has transformed the expression in modern times as a shortened way to say hello.
    (「今日は、お日柄もよろしく・・・(例)」などの
    挨拶文の最初の部分だけが残った挨拶語ですから!)

    Oh, I just rememberd that my friend said “良し悪し/善し悪し” “よしわるし”. Of course, it is “よしあし” correctly.

    Do you correct other Japanese people’s mistakes in Japanese language?
    If you do, how?
    I rarely do it, and only when the speaker is younger than I am.
    I correct my husband’s wrong Japanese without reserve, though… 😉

    Good night!



  49. Fumie on Wednesday July 4th, 2012 at 06:10 AM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your comment.
    >Please tell him that it is not possible to completely understand the different uses of English future forms: I don’t completely understand it, Michael Swan doesn’t completely understand it, and I can guarantee your son that his English teacher doesn’t completely understand it either! Language is not like maths or science, and one of the key things to understand is that it is not possible to understand it completely.

    I’ll pass on your message. Your message also cheers me up. I didn’t know that even native speakers of language experts has few things that they don’t understand fully.

    Hi YU,

    Regarding こんにちは、so many people write こんにちわ。I guess people just remember from how they hear the words.

    Fumie



  50. Tomo on Wednesday July 4th, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Hi Fumie,

    I often use David’s books when I teach English to my children and my nieces. Like you said, David’s explanations are easy to understand, and also, his example sentences are very interesting(and funny!) and easy to remember. I don’t like example sentences in my son’s textbooks because they just make complicated things more difficult, and I can’t think of situations to use them.

    The other day, my son wrote, “The train is stopping” as in “The train is stopped” or “The train is not moving”, so I corrected him and explained about “continuous aspect” using A-Z. The wrong example sentences made him laugh, and I think he learned how important tenses can be.

    By the way, I learned a new expression from your comment. “Mumbo jumbo” sounds funny!(I mean, the sounds of the words are funny. ダンボみたい 笑)

    I’ll post another comment later,

    Tomo



  51. YU on Wednesday July 4th, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Hi everyone,

    The other day, I saw on TV a brain scientist mentioning, “When human being are told the same things(untruths) about 1500 times repeatedly, then they start to believe them to be true. So were Aum’s believers brainwashed, and so confess innocent people falsely.” It’s scarely, isn’t it?

    I wonder if we start to misunderstand “wrong Japanese” for “correct Japanese” because we heard the wrong Japanese words/phrases too many times.



  52. David Barker on Wednesday July 4th, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    Hi YU,

    That actually happens to native speakers of English who live in Japan for a long time. We hear English mistakes so often that they start to sound normal to us, and it is often difficult for us to judge what is natural and what is weird.



  53. YU on Wednesday July 4th, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Hi David,

    I kind of understand…
    My husband always makes same mistakes in Japanese language(I don’t mean he is baka), and finally some of them have started to sound normal to me. Furthermore, one day, I realised myself using the wrong Japanese…



  54. David Barker on Wednesday July 4th, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    When I was young, my friends and I used to make fun of people of my parents’ generation who used the word “courting” to mean “dating.” I started using the word as a joke, and before long, my friends were all saying it as well. The more we said it, the more normal it became, and after a while, it just became part of our regular way of talking.



  55. YU on Wednesday July 4th, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Hi David,

    Isn’t it just because you’re approaching おじさん  generation? I’m joking !! 😉

    > The more we said it, the more normal it became,

    I agree with you.
    Languages come and go, just like people come and go.
    The more we associate with our friends, the closer they become to us.



  56. David Barker on Wednesday July 4th, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    I’m not “approaching” the ojisan generation – I’ve been here for a few years now!



  57. Tomo on Wednesday July 4th, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    Hi YU,

    >I really really often see people writing こんにちわ.

    Me too!! Actually, my niece often writes “こんにちゎ” in mails or something. (She uses a small “wa.”) Apparently, it looks “cute” for young girls…

    >Do you correct other Japanese people’s mistakes in Japanese language? If you do, how?

    I don’t correct other Japanese people’s mistakes, but I’ve been correcting my children’s language like other parents. In my children’s elementary school, teachers often make students write a diary as homework especially when they are in lower grades, and my daughter always asks me to check her homework, so I correct her writings as well. Last summer, my middle son had to read a book and write an essay(読書感想文), and he was struggling to express his thoughts, so I gave him some advice on how to explain things in an essay(like introduction, development, turn, and conclusion). I also corrected his mistakes and gave him better examples. I tried to leave his voice as much as possible, but I seemed to have helped him too much… He got an award(賞状) in a book report contest and said, “来年もよろしく!” Of course I said, “No, you have to do it all by yourself next year!”

    Hi YU and David,
    “Brainwashing” sounds scary, but maybe that’s how languages change?? I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I think it shows how people easily adopt to new things or changes.

    By the way, your exchanges made me laugh!

    See you soon,

    Tomo



  58. YU on Wednesday July 4th, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Hi Tomo,

    > He got an award(賞状) in a book report contest and said, “来年もよろしく!” Of course I said, “No, you have to do it all by yourself next year

    Hahahah…
    That actually happened to my husband and me as well!

    As I mentioned before, I used to teach foreign people Japanese language as a volunteer teacher.
    Several years ago, my husband took part in a speech contest for foreigners living in Japan.
    He was not interested in it at all, but other volunteer teachers strongly recommended him to participate the contest.
    Finally, I wrote the manuscript all alone and taught him how to read it.
    And….he got an award like your son!
    He even got interviewed on a local TV!!
    I can’t forget his confused face…

    I have to take my son to swimming school now.
    Starting today, he is a student of “ラッコクラス”.
    I’m anxious if he can keep up with other classmates…



  59. rinko on Wednesday July 4th, 2012 at 03:32 PM

    Hi Tomo

    Thank you for your information!

    >I found some dictionaries say the wrong meaning is also okay now, so maybe it’s changing or has changed??

    I’m relieved to know that.Actually I still use “確信犯” wrongly because it’s quite convenient to express people who do something on purpose and also no one seems to doubt it’s used wrongly…

    Hi YU

    ”ラッコクラス”sounds very cute!
    How was your son at swimming school?
    I’m sure he did very well!

    Have a nice day everyone!

    rinko



  60. YU on Wednesday July 4th, 2012 at 06:15 PM

    Hi everyone,

    Which one do you use?

    > fast food

    1. ファーストフード
    2. ファストフード

    I have a feeling that everyone used to pronounce it
    “ファーストフード” when I was young, but people pronounce it “ファストフード” these days. “fast pass(ファストパス)” of Tokyo Disneyland is another example.

    > away (home and awayの)

    3. アウェイ
    4. アウェー
    5. アウエー

    I always thought that “アウェイ” was correct, but everyone says “アウェー” or “アウエー” nowadays. When I hear them, I feel a bit strange, but they are mainly used nowadays.

    > web

    6. ウェブ
    7. ウェッブ
    8. ウエブ

    I used to pronounce it “ウェッブ”, but several years ago my friend asked me, “What is ウェッブ? I’ve never heard the word like that”. So, I explained what I meant by “ウェッブ”. She just said, “Oh, you mean ウェブ!!”.



  61. Tomo on Wednesday July 4th, 2012 at 09:57 PM

    Hi YU,

    Your husband might have had mixed feelings, but I think he got the award because he practiced hard, and you must have been very proud of him!! And I hope your son’s first ラッコclass went well too 🙂 My sons used to go to swimming school. At the beginning, they couldn’t swim at all, and there were times they failed the same test again and again, but they learned all the strokes before they finished elementary school. If your son is enjoying himself, I think everything will turn out just fine!

    Anyway, here are my answers to your questions.

    1. ファーストフード (When I was younger, I believed it was “FIRST food”! 笑)

    3. アウェイ

    6. ウェブ

    Tomo



  62. Fumie on Wednesday July 4th, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    Hi Tomo,

    I hope(wish) David will write school textbooks.

    Fumie



  63. amo on Wednesday July 4th, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    Hi David, and everyone,

    >I thought that as learners of English, it might cheer you up to know that native speakers use the language incorrectly all the time.
    I have some friends in UK and US and they use their own language in correctly, so it’s not surprising, and as for myself, I am native Japanese speaker and I know that my Japanese is not perfect. To tell the truth, my Japanese is getting worse day by day(lol)

    Anyway, here are some phrases that I memorised incorrectly.
    怒り心頭に達する(怒り心頭に発する)
    的を得た(的を射た)
    I must have misheard those phrases in TV. I can’t remember when I realised that I had memorised incorrectly, but luckily, I had never used them by myself.

    The other day, a customer came to our bank with her son. I didn’t see him but I heard his voice and I took he was about 2 years old or so. When he came into the entrance, he said “だだいま.” While his mother was at the counter, he was moving around and every time he came into the entrance he said “ただいま.” I guess that he just has learnt this phrase and his understanding of this word is to say when you come into a entrance.

    Hi YU,

    About your questions, my answers are the same as Tomo. Can I ask you why you want to know such things?

    Good night and sleep tight,
    amo



  64. YU on Thursday July 5th, 2012 at 06:50 AM

    Hi Tomo and amo,

    Thank you for answering my questions.

    Actually, I asked the same questions to my English club’s American teacher some months ago, but he just told me, “They are certainly English words,
    but カタカナ英語. That’s your original culture, so I can’t answer you anything. Please discuss it with your Japanese friends”.

    > Can I ask you why you want to know such things?

    As for “fast food” and “away”, I just wanted to know if 外来語(カタカナ英語) also changes as time goes by like other “pure” Japanese words.
    And for “web”, it is a quite new 外来語, so I wanted to know if my understanding(pronounciation) was normal, and at the same time, I was curious about how “normal pronounciation” for a new word is developed.(どう形成されていくのか)

    By the way, I didn’t know that you work at a bank!
    I always thought bank employees don’t need to work on weekend, but you sometimes do, don’t you?

    RE your customer’s son.
    I think that happens to all small children, maybe all over the world.
    For example, yesterday my son said, “sakanamatsuri(さかな祭り)”, but I soon understood he actually meant “sakanatsuri”(さかな釣り). I don’t know where from he got the idea of “さかな祭り”, though. I always correct his mistakes immidiately, and he says “I got it” like other mothers and children do.
    There is no end to the number of mistakes in his Japanese, but I guess children learn their own language in the way like that.

    Hi rinko and Tomo,

    My son tried some new activities at his new class, some went well, but some not.
    Anyway, yesterday his swimming school gave him discount coupons of 大磯ロングビーチ, which used to be well-known for “芸能人水泳大会” until a few decades ago! 🙂 It will open this Saturday, so we might go there.

    Bye for now !



  65. YU on Thursday July 5th, 2012 at 08:57 AM

    Hi amo,

    I’m sorry, it seems that I misread your story…

    As you mentioned, some small children believe that “ただいま” is an all-around phrase.
    When fathers come home from work and say “ただいま” at the front door, children often reply “ただいま~” to his/her father. Of course, it should be “おかえり~”, but when children are around 2, their vocabulary is so poor that they use one word/phrase for all other similar words/situation. I read in a book on child care that it is a quite normal stage in children’s language development.
    For example, when my son was 1~2, he used to call every animal “わんわん” or “にゃんにゃん”, but now he is almost 4 now and call them with correct names.



  66. trmr on Thursday July 5th, 2012 at 09:05 PM

    Hi David and everyone
    Wow, what a lively topic!
    I pick up these phrases.
    “重複”. It should be pronounced “ちょうふく” but many people pronounce it “じゅうふく”.
    “役不足”. It originally means that a role is poor for an actor. He/she can do more. But nowadays, it is used as an actor doesn’t have enough skill to play a role. Although I’ve known this fact, I sometimes say it in wrong way. It’s difficult to kick my habit.

    Some people mentioned about “全然+肯定文”. I was also taught that was wrong usage. But I was surprised when I find that Soseki Natsume used “全然+肯定文”. Other literary figures in Meiji era also used it. Did you know that usage of “全然~ない” is determined after the war?

    A language is interesting. It is living and changing. People from Heian era definitely consider us using completely wrong Japanese. I heard that language is changed by a leader of community who affects other people strongly. That’s why the wrong usage is spreading.

    Good night 🙂
    trmr



  67. Anne on Friday July 6th, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    Hi YU and members,
    As for the question about ”カタカナ英語”、my answer is also the same as Tomo and amo.
    >I was curious about how “normal pronunciation” for a new word is developed.(どう形成されていくのか)
    ーーーMe,too.
    While I was reading your comment, another idea came to mind. Katakana is one of the components that Japanese learners need to remember. As you know, katakana is used for words mainly from foreign countries and there could be a difference between the words they write in katakana and the words they pronounce in English.
    I might be stupid, but when they pronounce “coffee”, it sounds like “コフィ.” However, it is written as “コーヒー.” I’m wondering if there are any words that they write wrongly when they first started learning Japanese.
    David, did you have any experience where you feel that the words are difficult to write in katakana?

    By the way, as for “away”, I guess people pronounce it as “アウェー/アウエー” not “アウェィ.” That’s the reason they chose those answers.
    As most of the members mentioned, words are alive and their usage have been changing!

    Hi amo,
    >When he came into the entrance, he said “だだいま.” —I had a similar experience as you had seen. The day before yesterday, when I was wondering which lotion I should buy at a cosmetic corner in a supermarket, a baby girl around 2 in a bay buggy suddenly pointed at me and said,”スカート!” Yes, I was wearing the skirt that day. Her mother looked embarrassed, but that baby girl kept saying when she saw women wearing skirt. It was funny and lovely, wasn’t it? The word “スカート” must have been a magic word for her. Yeah, she is learning new word one-by-one.

    Hi trmr,
    I didn’t know the story about “全然.” It’s interesting.

    When I tried to post my comment, I failed and mine was disappeared! So sad…

    Bye for now,

    Anne



  68. amo on Friday July 6th, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    Hi YU,

    >“They are certainly English words, but カタカナ英語. That’s your original culture, so I can’t answer you anything. Please discuss it with your Japanese friends”.

    I see what he meant, because katakana eigo is not English words at all.
    So I suppose once an English word turn into katakana, that word no longer English so the pronounce might be different from original word. For example, my foreign friends say マクドナルド doesn’t sound Macdonald’s. Hope you understand what I was trying to say.

    Hi trmr,

    Come to think of it, I have heard that before and I was a bit surprised about it.

    Hi YU and Anne,

    I hope that that boy was taught the correct usage of ただいま from his mother.

    Bye for now,
    amo



  69. Jyoji on Friday July 6th, 2012 at 02:07 AM

    Hi Everyone,

    今週はあまりに忙しすぎたので少し訳し終わるのに時間がかかってしまいました。
    でも、今週も分からないところが若干有りますので、良ければ見てやってください。

    「デビッド・バーカー氏のブログを訳してみる」

    I have been too busy this week , so I could not translate since Wednesday. But I couldn’t translate some parts , please tell me correct answer!!



  70. Fumie on Friday July 6th, 2012 at 06:54 AM

    Hi David and everyone,

    Regarding Gairaigo, loan words, it is confusing for learners of English because pronunciations and how to write in Japanese are totally different from original English words. Like amo’s example Macdonald’s, マクドナルド、and Anne’s example coffee, コーヒー。Because Japanese learners of English know these incorrectly pronounced and written loan words, that confuse them.英語の発音と全然違う呼び方、書き方を知ってるために、それが正しい英語と思ってしまう。
    I notice that people try to write as similar to the sound of English of those words recently. For example, エネルギー、エナジー and カリフォルニア、キャリフォルニア。I think this way of writting style is better for learners.

    Hi trmr,

    But I was surprised when I find that Soseki Natsume used “全然+肯定文”. I was also suprised to know that ”全然+肯定文”is already used from Meiji Era.

    Hi Anne,

    >When I tried to post my comment, I failed and mine was disappeared! So sad…

    Similar incidents happened to me several times. It’s so sad!

    Fumie



  71. YU on Friday July 6th, 2012 at 09:25 AM

    Hi trmr,

    As far as I know, most Japanese people mistake “役不足” for “力不足”. Strangely, we communicate with each other better when we use them wrongly !!

    Hi amo,

    >For example, my foreign friends say マクドナルド doesn’t sound Macdonald’s. Hope you understand what I was trying to say

    When I heard it first, it sounded like “マッドーーウナル”to me. I can remeber that I almost couldn’t catch “ク” or “ド”, and the sound of “ド” was specially stressed and long!!

    Hi Anne,

    > By the way, as for “away”, I guess people pronounce it as “アウェー/アウエー” not “アウェィ.”

    I think so too.
    When I was watching NHK Sports news the other day, the announcer pronounced it “アウエー” pointing the flip bord on which “アウエー” was written. I was a bit schocked, but at the same time, I felt “アウエー” might be correct, because NHK used it!!

    Hi Anne and Fumie,

    >When I tried to post my comment, I failed and mine was disappeared! So sad…
    >Similar incidents happened to me several times. It’s so sad!

    Why don’t you copy your comment before you submit it?
    コピーしておけば送信に失敗してもまたトライできますよ!

    Hi Jyoji,

    Please take good care of your health!
    I’ll have a look it later !

    See you !



  72. ashmoleanmuse on Friday July 6th, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    Hi YU,

    > When I heard it first, it sounded like “マッドーーウナル”to me. I can remeber that I almost couldn’t catch “ク” or “ド”, and the sound of “ド” was specially stressed and long!!

    MacDonald’s has three syllables, on the other hand, マクドナルド has six syllables. If one asks native speakers of English, “Where is マクドナルド?”, they will scratch their heads. So, when you are visiting English speaking countries, pronounce McDonald’s correctly!

    Ash



  73. YU on Friday July 6th, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    Hi David,

    > One of the most common mistakes is the incorrect use of apostrophes, particularly the difference between “it’s” and “its.” You would not believe how many native speakers of English are not sure of the difference between those two words. Other common mistakes are “your/you’re” and “their/there/they’re.”

    May I aske you some questions?

    Were you already a language expert as now you are when you were a police officer?

    Did you always manage to write and tell the “correct” English words or phrases mentioned above when you lived in the UK?



  74. YU on Friday July 6th, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Hi Jyoji,

    う~ん、今回は何となく言いたいことはわかるものの、どう訳せばいいのか分からない文がいっぱいありますね。ハ~、難しっ!
    (Apparently, this “難しっ”, “寒っ”, “デカっ”, etc.. is a new trend of “形容詞” in recent Japanese language.)

    1. People make mistakes in their own language for a number of reasons.

    人々は幾つかの理由で自国語において間違いを起こします。

    – 自国語を間違えるのにはいろいろ理由があります。
    (ほとんど同じ意味ですけど!)

    2. With common expressions and phrases, this often happens in English because someone mishears someone else (often a parent), and then starts using the expression wrongly.
    parent : 元になる
    mishears:聞き間違える

    一般的な表現やフレーズに対してですが、英語ではそれは時々起こります。なぜなら誰かが他の誰か(時々それが元になる)の(言った)ことを聞き間違えます、すると間違った表現が使われはじめるのです。

    *”With common expression..の”with”には”~について、~に関しては”の意味があるようです。

    *”a parent” は単純に”親”じゃないでしょうか?

    *”someone”は特定の人物を指さずに曖昧にしたい時によく使われるので無理に『誰かが』と訳さなくてもいい場合もあると思いますよ。

    – 一般的によく使われている英語の言い回しや慣用句に関して言えば、こういう事はよくあるのです。なぜなら人は他の人(これは自分の親である事が多いです)が言っていることを聞き間違えてしまうからで、さらにまた、その表現を間違えて(間違ったまま)使い始める、と言った具合です。

    3. One good example of this is the expression “I couldn’t care less.” The meaning of this phrase is “I don’t care at all. In fact, it would not be possible for me to care any less than I do, because that amount is zero.”

    一つのいい例として「I couldn’t care less」という表現があります。このフレーズの意味は「私は少しも心配していません。事実私ができることよりもより少なくしか心配することができないでしょう。なぜならその合計はゼロだからです」

    ふ~む、このエントリーで最も難解なところですね~。

    “一つのいい例として「I couldn’t care less」という表現があります。このフレーズの意味は「私は少しも心配していません。”
    の部分はバッチリだと思いますよ~(Tomoのマネ)。;-)

    問題は”it would not be possible for me to care any less than I do”。
    直訳すると、『私が(心配)するより(も)より少なく心配することは私にとって不可能でしょう』!? 正直この直訳もかなり怪しいですけど(笑)

    今ひらめいたんですけど、”I couldn’t care less”って”I can’t agree with you more”(これ以上あなたに賛成できない=全くもって同意見です)と同じようなパターンなんじゃないでしょうか。だから”I couldn’t care less”(これ以上心配しないことはできない=全く心配してしてない、気にしてない)の意味になるのかな!?

    色々長々と書きましたがとりあえず私なりの訳を・・・

    – 実際には、自分が(できる範囲内で)気にしないのより更に気にしないようにするなんてムリでしょう、だって全く気にしないこと(ゼロ)だってできるんだから(ゼロより下はない=全く気にしないより気にしないことは不可能)。

    なんかかなり想像で訳しているので正しくはTomoに聞いてください~! :-)

    4. In everyday English, however, it is common to hear people say “I could care less,” which doesn’t make any sense at all.
    しかしながら、日常的な英語のなかで、人々からそれからは全く何も感じることができない「I could care less」などという言葉を聞くのはめずらしくありません。

    – しかしながら、日常英語の中では”I could care less”と言っているのをよく耳にします。これは全く意味をなしていないんですけど。

    5.It is a metaphor taken from the sport of cricket, and it means that you did something without anyone else’s help.
    これはスポーツのクリケットから来た比喩です。そしてその意味は「他人の援助なしに物事を行いなさい」というものです。

    -『他人の助けを借りずに何かやる』という意味です。

    6. It is not just sayings like these that native speakers get wrong because they mishear them.

    その様な言い回しは無いのですが、ネイティブの人たちは聞き間違いのせいで勘違いをするのです。

    – ネイティブ達が聞き間違いから起こしている間違いはこのような言い回しだけにとどまりません。
    (次に”It must of been love”の例を出す前置きの文と考えればいいと思います。)

    7. No, neither have I!

    いいえ、私は両方(見たことも、聴いたことも)ありません。

    – 私も聞いたことありません!

    8. You would not believe how many native speakers of English are not sure of the difference between those two words.

    皆さんはどれだけ多くの英語のネイティブ・スピーカーたちがこのふたつの言葉の違いに厳密でない、ということが信じられないでしょう。

    – この二つの言葉の違いについてあやふやだ、

    9. Anyway, I thought that as learners of English, it might cheer you up to know that native speakers use the language incorrectly all the time.

    さて、私は英語を習っている人たちが、ネイティブ・スピーカーが自国語を日常的に間違った使い方をしているのを知って励みになるんじゃないかと思いました。

    *Anyway とにかく

    10. I was also thinking that it might be interesting to discuss some things that Japanese people often get wrong in Japanese.

    私は日本においても人々がときどき起こす勘違いについて話し合うのは面白いんじゃないかとも考えました。

    – 日本人がよく起こす日本語の間違いについて話しあうのも面白いんじゃないかと思いました。

    That’all for now.

    See you!



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