EnglishPod101

JapanesePod101 has started up another enterprise in it’s ever expanding on-line language empire. This time teaching English to Japanese, using the same sort of formula as is successful on jPod101, to a potentially bigger audience I’d say.
For advanced Japanese learners you can listen to natural speed Japanese, and boy does Sachiko-san speak quickly. If you have Japanese friends I’d certainly recommend they give EnglishPod a try.

I have some slight reservations.

It’s AmericanPod really.
Their banner is a big clue; the accents, the type of English is American. I have no doubt that the culture and dialogues will also be American. As such I don’t fully identify with it as I speak “British” English or Hiberno-English. American is not my preference or experience. And any Japanese deciding to travel or work in the UK, Ireland or Australia would need to know the differences perhaps.

And indeed after browsing their site a bit more I see they intend to do this. I wonder if they’ll want an Irish perspective. Although one of the jPod team used to live in Ireland.

Initially focusing on American English, EnglishPod101.com aims to cover British English, Australian English as well as all English spoken by non-native speakers.

But like it or not American is the world language since the 1940s. It’s what Japanese probably want to speak. (And if you go around London most kids want to speak like American gangstaz as well). If you feel strongly about Received English you can always head to the BBC.

The topic for day one was professions and political correctness (when what they were probably trying to do was point out inclusive language.)
Straying into a contentious area so early is either brave or foolhardy.
And maybe more than a language learner might need. “lies to children”; give them what they need and don’t muddy the water with more difficult concepts.
(interestingly when I looked up PC on wikipedia there was a headlink to kotobagari, the equivalent endeavour in Japanese.)

I dislike the term “political correctness” and even more the contortions the ideology imposes on writing and language at times. In the UK policeman, policewoman; fireman, firewoman; stewardess, steward are acceptable terms, people come in both sexes afterall. Housewife might not be so acceptable but Homemaker would be a bit pretentious. (Actually in most couples both would work, only the very well off can afford for one person, still usually the wife, not to be bringing in a wage.)

My own preference would be a description that didn’t use “person” and still be gender neutral and not be contrived. I also like the singular use of they which would annoy a lot of academics I know. At least they didn’t try to explain the academic monstrosity “he/she” or “(s)he”.

How anyone wants to describe themselves is up to them. People are much more than just their job, race, sex, whatever…
As far as the answer to “what do you do?” is concerned I prefer the answer by DH Lawrence in his poem:

What is he?
A man, of course.
Yes, but what does he do?
He lives and is a man.

But these are all minor prejudices in how the English language is used. It’s an incredibly rich, diverse, constantly changing and colourful language and what is correct, if anything is, is the language used by the people around you so you can communicate. Good Luck and Ganbatte to anyone trying to learn English; I’m glad I never had to learn it as a second language.

Day 2 is much more familiar territory almost like a negative image of JapanesePod101 podcasts!

I wish everyone at EnglishPod101 Good Luck too and I’m sure it’ll be as successful and valuable a site as JapanesePod101.

(It’s a bit embarrassing that at the time of editing this I rank higher in Google rankings than either jPod or ePod themselves on a search of EnglishPod101! I’m sure that’ll soon change…)

03. December 2007 by ロバート
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