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May 2011

05/31/2011

コンラッド Heart of Darkness 15

Tuesday Theater

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad - 15

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英語音読

05/30/2011

ブラム・ストーカー ドラキュラの客 1/3

Encore Theater (presented on Mon, Wed, and Fri)

Dracula's Guest by Bram Stoker, part 1 of 3.

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05/29/2011

オズのまほうつかい 10

Weekend Theater 2 (for kids and the young at heart)

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, chapter 10.

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英語音読

05/28/2011

オーステン Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 13

Weekend Theater 1

Chapter 13 of Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.

Play/download mp3 file

Random musings (continued)

Last time I spoke about setting up a Japanese-free space around you. Why is this important? Because our eyes and ears are quick to detect information in Japanese, they tend to lock onto Japanese. Once that happens, very little information in other languages gets noticed. It is precisely for this reason that books and websites written in Japanese are ultimately ineffective as an aid to teach English. Because readers' minds keep operating in Japanese, their brains fail to make the crucial switch to the English mode. When you build an English-only environment, in contrast, it allows you to see the world only through the medium of English, and you form a habit of doing everything using that language alone, thus a firm connection is built between English texts/sounds/expressions and their meaning. Once you achieve this state of mind, eventually you'll get to a stage where you don't have to fish for the meaning of words and phrases anymore, because the meaning will come to you as effortlessly as it does in Japanese.

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05/27/2011

D.H.ロレンス「勝ちを呼ぶ木馬」 Part 3

Story of the week

"The Rocking-Horse Winner" by D. H. Lawrence (rerun). Part 3 of 3.

Play/download MP3 file

Random musings (continued)

Last time, I mentioned that a Japanese-free environment can be easily created if you put your mind to it. The key is to start small, by setting up an isolated environment. Define a space in your room, on your desktop, or even in your mind, and make that space off-limits to Japanese language, even if only for a short time. Spend time within this space, doing everything in English -- not even allowing yourself to think in Japanese, let alone speak, listen to, or read Japanese. Find something you can do entirely in English. Read a book, watch DVD, listen to music, play computer games, text messages, browse the Web -- only make sure your visual and auditory senses are not invaded by information in Japanese at any time during this exercise. Be sure Japanese subtitles on your DVD are disabled, and do not access Japanese websites (unless they are entirely in English). Listen to or watch news in English. If you need to look up some words in a dictionary, use one written only in English instead of an English-Japanese dictionary.

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英語音読

05/26/2011

ドイル 5粒のオレンジの種 1 (「シャーロック・ホームズの冒険」より)

Thursday Theater

"The Five Orange Pips" from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Part 1 of 4.

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英語音読

05/25/2011

D.H.ロレンス「勝ちを呼ぶ木馬」 Part 2

Story of the week

"The Rocking-Horse Winner" by D. H. Lawrence (rerun). Part 2 of 3.

Play/download MP3 file

Random musings (continued)

You can create a no-Japanese environment at home. There's no need to spend years in a foreign country to do that. In fact, living abroad is no guarantee that you'd immerse yourself in the world of another language. As there are so many Japanese abroad nowadays, it's possible to live in foreign countries without speaking a word of foreign language! If you are serious about improving your foreign language skills, a Japanese-free environment can be easily established without leaving your native shores: all you need is the willpower.

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英語音読

05/24/2011

コンラッド Heart of Darkness 14

Tuesday Theater

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad - 14

Play/download mp3 file

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英語音読


Random musings:
Because we Japanese are adept at communicating in our native tongue, naturally it's much easier for us to comprehend information written in Japanese than in English. But the whole point of learning English, or any other language for that matter, is to try to become good at communicating in a language that is not our own. So, however uncomfortable it may be at first, serious students of a foreign language should try to put themselves in an environment where they are completely immersed in the target language, with as little exposure to Japanese as possible.


Transcription can be a good exercise, both for improving your listening comprehension and retention of information. The material I often use for this purpose are news podcasts from BBC, NPR, etc. that are available free of charge on the net. The exercise challenges you in so many levels, compared to when you are just passively listening to the material. If you want to have a crack at it, here are samples from today's broadcasts:

MP3 file for transcription 1 (NPR Hourly News Summary, May 23, 2011 at 7 pm)


NPR Hourly News Summary is short (5 minutes) and updated every hour. Since transcribing the entire program takes much longer than five minutes, however, it might be a good idea to choose one or two top stories and reduce the length to 1-2 minutes, as in this excerpt.

MP3 file for transcription 2 (BBC Global News, May 23, 2011 at 2 pm, GMT)


BBC NewsPod and BBC Global News are also good materials, updated daily and every 12 hours, respectively. For the purpose of transcription exercise, I'd recommend using only the introductory summary of the program, as in this example.

Well, how did it go? If you find this exercise too difficult, it means you have not yet fully tuned in on the sounds of English yet. If that's the case, use this exercise only occasionally to check your progress. First, you need to get a firmer grip on the sounds of English, and then focus on building direct connection between the sounds and meaning. But how? I'll discuss that topic in upcoming entries.

FYI, here are my transcriptions.

From NPR News in Washington, I'm Jack Speer.
The scene in parts of Joplin Missouri is being described as near total devastation. That's after a powerful tornado tore a six mile long path through Southeastern Missouri, killing at least a hundred and sixteen people and injuring many more. Tornado also damaged at least two thousand buildings including a hospital. Frank Morris with member station KCUR says people there are still in a state of shock.
"I've seen a few people with minor injuries, people who rode out the storm in houses that are just no longer there. It's amazing, you know, you see people limping a little bit, you see people with cuts. These are people who endured this ridiculously, horrendously strong tornado under a couch, or under a mattress, and where the couch or the mattress was completely destroyed."
Reporter Frank Morris in Joplin, Missouri. Law enforcement and rescue workers from neighboring towns have been helping out there. At least one person also died when the tornado touched down in Minneapolis.

After a lengthy battle, Pakistani security forces have regained control of a naval base after it was attacked by militants.
"Pakistan is on [sic] war. Pakistan is suffering. Pakistan is a victim."
Also in the podcast, nearly a hundred people have been killed in the latest tornado to hit the American Midwest. A state of emergency has been declared in Missouri.
"This is bad. Oh my gosh, this is awful!"
The new president of Ivory Coast Alassane Ouattara has warned of the dangers posed to the region by mercenaries forced out of the country after fighting in support of his predecessor. And later;
"O'Lealy, O'Reiley, O'Hare and O'Hara, there's no one as Irish as Barak Obama."
President Obama has arrived in Ireland on the first leg of his tour of Europe, and it turns out the president has a family connection to the country.


05/23/2011

D.H.ロレンス「勝ちを呼ぶ木馬」 Part 1

Story of the week

"The Rocking-Horse Winner" by D. H. Lawrence (rerun). Part 1 of 3.

Play/download MP3 file

[The following musing has nothing to do with today's audio content.]
I'm always amazed at the sheer number of books, websites, and blogs that are ostensibly meant to help people learn English, but are written almost entirely in Japanese. Surely this must be some kind of a joke? If the authors' intention is to teach English, why not use the target language more extensively and create an immersive learning environment? It's a matter of common sense. I mean, rather than reading comments and explanations ABOUT English IN Japanese, wouldn't you rather have the lessons explained in English? I bet that would significantly accelerate your learning curve.

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05/22/2011

オズのまほうつかい 9

Weekend Theater 2 (for kids and the young at heart)

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, chapter 9.

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英語音読

05/21/2011

オーステン Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 12

Weekend Theater 1

Chapter 12 of Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.

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英語音読

05/20/2011

ホーソン 「ハイデガー博士の実験」 3/3

Short story of the week

Dr. Heidegger's Experiment by Nathaniel Hawthorne, part 3 of 3.

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05/19/2011

ドイル 技師の親指 4 (「シャーロック・ホームズの冒険」より)

Thursday Theater

"The Engineer's Thumb" from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Part 4 of 4.

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英語音読

05/18/2011

ホーソン 「ハイデガー博士の実験」 2/3

Short story of the week

Dr. Heidegger's Experiment by Nathaniel Hawthorne, part 2 of 3.

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05/17/2011

コンラッド Heart of Darkness 13

Tuesday Theater

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad - 13

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英語音読

05/16/2011

ホーソン 「ハイデガー博士の実験」 1/3

Short story of the week

As an experiment, I'm uploading a selection of short stories on Monday, Wednesday and Friday when no regular program is scheduled. (I might also use these slots to discuss the merits of reading aloud as a means of language study.)

For this week, I've chosen Dr. Heidegger's Experiment by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This story was presented last year, but this time I've divided it into three parts to prolong the suspense.

Play/download mp3 file

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05/15/2011

オズのまほうつかい 8

Weekend Theater 2 (for kids and the young at heart)

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, chapter 8.

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にほんブログ村 トラコミュ 英語音読へ
英語音読

05/14/2011

オーステン Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 11

Weekend Theater 1

Chapter 11 of Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.

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英語音読

05/13/2011

モーパッサン 「幽霊」

"A Ghost" by Guy de Maupassant. This is a rerun.

A Ghost, by Guy de Maupassant

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英語音読

05/12/2011

ドイル 技師の親指 3 (「シャーロック・ホームズの冒険」より)

Thursday Theater

"The Engineer's Thumb" from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Part 3 of 4.

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にほんブログ村 トラコミュ 英語音読へ
英語音読

05/11/2011

鶴の恩返し The Crane Lady

A popular Japanese folk tale. There are a number of different versions, of which probably the best known is a theatrical adaptation by Junji Kinoshita. The version taken up here is much simpler, uncontrived, and folksy.
English text courtesy of Masahiro KUDO.

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05/10/2011

コンラッド Heart of Darkness 12

Tuesday Theater

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad - 12

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英語音読

05/09/2011

雨にも負けず Won't Get Sick from Rain

This well-known poem by Kenji Miyazawa (1896-1933) is often interpreted as an ode to honest, stoic and industrious people in northeast Japan, the area that was recently devastated by the earthquake and tsunami. As the poem celebrates resilience in the face of hardship, it has also come to serve as a rallying cry for the survivors, volunteer aid workers, and well-wishers.
Translation by Masahiro KUDO.

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05/08/2011

オズのまほうつかい 7

Weekend Theater 2 (for kids and the young at heart)

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, chapter 7.

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英語音読

05/07/2011

オーステン Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 10

Weekend Theater 1

Chapter 10 of Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.

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英語音読

05/05/2011

ドイル 技師の親指 2 (「シャーロック・ホームズの冒険」より)

Thursday Theater

"The Engineer's Thumb" from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Part 2 of 4.

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英語音読

05/03/2011

ディケンズ The Trial for Murder, Part 2

Holiday special

The Trial for Murder by Charles Dickens, part 2 of 2.

The Trial for Murder, Part 2

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05/02/2011

コンラッド Heart of Darkness 11

Tuesday Theater (brought to you one day earlier this week)

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad - 11

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英語音読

05/01/2011

オズのまほうつかい 6

Weekend Theater 2 (for kids and the young at heart)

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, chapter 6.

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英語音読

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