[ Teaching Natural English by YAMAGISHI, K.

   Two years ago, I went on a lecture tour and spoke in many prefectures on how difficult for us Japanese English teachers to "master" natural (spoken) English, The audience were mostly Japanese English teachers who teach at junior or senior high schools. I was impressed by their enthusiasm for English language teaching in Japan.
   However, one thing drew my attention wherever I went. All the chairpersons, after introducing me to the audience, asked me to go to the (speaker's) platform, saying, "Professor Yamagishi, please." Without doubt, this was a direct translation of the Japanese form of address "Yamagishi-sensei, dozo." However, this is a wrong form of address in English. This is a needless form; only "Professor Yamagishi." is enough and an acceptable form. An occasion you could use "Professor Yamagishi, please," is when the chairperson has to urge me to go to the platform hurriedly, since I'm hesitating to go there, or when something was taking me so long going there.
   Anyway, I have met few Japanese English teachers who can use the adverb properly or correctly. Japanese English teachers should consult usage dictionaries and try to know its correct usage. "Dozo" and "please" don't overlap in the above-mentioned usage.

Unnatural English?

   On my way home from one of the lecture tours in northern Japan, I was on a Shinkansen train and was browsing through a guidebook for "team teaching" I had brought from home,when I came across some sample dialogs for Japanese high school teachers and students.One of the dialogs was as follows (=A: a "native" speaker assistant teacher / J= a Japanese teacher of English):

   A: Hi! Mrs. Kamoi.
   J: Oh, hi, John.
   A: What are you doing?
   J: I'm waiting for my daughter. She promised me to meet here an hour ago.
   A: Has she ever broken her word?
   J: No. She always keeps her promise.

   The dialog is from a Monbusho-authorized textbook. But giving this dailog a glance, I felt something unnatural. Although I can't say with certainty (since I'm not a "native" speaker), I thought this dialog was a little strange. If the woman (Mrs. Kamoi) were American, for example, would she really say "She promised me to meet here an hour ago"? And could we expect the "native" English speaker further respond by saying "No. She always keeps her promise"? I'd like to rewrite the dialog as follows:

   A: Hi! Mrs. Kamoi.
   J: Oh. Hi, John.
   A: What're you doing?
   J: I'm waiting for my daughter. She said she'd meet me here an hour ago.
   A: Do you think she'll come?
   J: I'm sure she will.

   Another daialog in the guidebook was as follows:

   A: Have you ever broken your word?
   J: Yes, I have. Have you ever broken your word?
   A: Yes, I have.

   For some reason or other, this sounds a little strange to me, again. Is this type of dialog commonly heard between "native" English speakers? I'd rewrite this as follows:

   A: Do you always do what you say?
   J: Not always. How about you?
   A: Not always.

   Isn't this a natural flow of English conversation? At least, this is the type of English I usually hear from the "native" English sperakers around me. Another dialog in the guidebook was as follows:

   A: I have been to Nagasaki once. Have you ever been to Nagasaki?
   J: No, I haven't. But I want to go there.

   This daialog also sounds a little strange and unnatural to me. The follwoing dialog would sound more natural.

   A: I went to Nagasaki once. Have you ever been there?
   J: No, I haven't. But I'd like to go there sometime. Have you ever been to Chicago?
   A: No, I haven't. But I'd like to go there.

   One thing which is constantly hanging on my mind is that, in English language textbooks compiled by the Japanese and authorized by Monbusho (Ministry of Education) there are too many unnatural English sentences and dialogs.
   A certain university professor and textbook compiler once told me that textbook compilers have to use certain forms of English no matter how unnaturally they might sound to "native" speakers. For example, they have to use the form "I am" in the beginning and the contracted form "I'm" in the following sentences. However, isn't this against the natural process of language acquisition? Children in the English-speaking culture will learn the contracted form (I'm) first of all, and then they will understand that it is the contracted form of "I am." Children must have heard the contracted form more frequently than the full form before they knew something about the usage of "I'm" and "I am."
 In teaching English as a foreign language, Japanese English teachers should always try to teach more "natural English" and more "natural flow of English." To attain the purpose, they should brush up on their own English first of all, and should have a good command of natural spoken English.
   Come to think of it, too many Japanese English teachers make a mistake in usuing the phrase "of course." They use the phrase where "native" speakers wouldn't use. For example, Japanese often reply to the question "You have two night classes today, don't you?" by saying "Of course." But this is an unnatural use of the phrase. "Native" English speakers would probably say "Yes. / Yes, I do. / Sure do. / Yeah., etc."