English-Education Pet Peeves in Japan

I just read a spot-on post about a friend’s pet peeves with the English-educational system in Japan. 

I’m not referring to the teaching methods here. I’m talking about what they’re being taught to say. Things that aren’t necessarily wrong, but will certainly lead to varying degrees of awkwardness and misunderstandings if the Japanese person tries to converse with a native speaker in English for real. A lot of this stems from the fact that you can provide an accurate translation for a word, but that doesn’t take into account the situations that you should use it in. That might be confusing, but don’t worry: this is meant to be a list, so I have lots of examples.

“Let’s enjoy…”– The use of “enjoy” as a verb is a great example, and my second biggest pet peeve of all. In Japan, a perfectly natural answer to the question “What did you do last night?” might translate to, “I enjoyed watching a movie”. HOWEVER, no native speaker of English would  say that. We’d say, “I watched a movie”. Yes, “tanoshimu” does translate to “enjoy”, but if you were speaking English naturally you wouldn’t be saying it that way in the first place! Most days in Junior High we play “Bingo”, and one of the teachers insists on starting the game with “Let’s enjoy bingo!”. Since directly correcting the teacher in class is somewhat of a no-no, the best I can do is chime in with, “Yes, let’s PLAY bingo”.

Read the rest of her pet peeves here.

It brings up an interesting question — how do you deal with generic “errors” like that in the classroom?  Check out the rest of her post and then come back and give some comments!


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