Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.
- familiarize (oneself) with (something) / fəˈmɪl yəˌraɪz wɪð / (phrasal v.) – to learn, understand, or gain knowledge about something
New employees should familiarize themselves with the company’s rules.
- pet phrase / pɛt freɪz / (n.) – a phrase or expression that someone frequently uses
Michael’s pet phrase is “You know what I’m saying.” He says it probably twenty times a day.
- put (oneself) out there / pʊt aʊt ðɛər / (idiom) – to go out and meet new people or experience new things
My mother keeps telling me to put myself out there and make friends, but I’m really shy!
- derive / dɪˈraɪv / (v.) – to get something from a source
James derives great pleasure from baking.
- keep at it / kip æt ɪt / (idiom) – to continue working on or doing something
Writing isn’t easy for me, but I kept at it and finally got my first book published!
Read the text below.
Continued from Part 1…
Yokoyama chose to conduct this interview entirely in English, saying that he always likes to strike a good balance “inside my head” between English and Japanese.
“I can use occasions like this to speak English out loud and express my thoughts. This lets me check how I’m doing with the language and where I am with it.”
He added that on-the-spot conversations are useful because when you work in English, you need to learn how the language is changing all the time. It also helps to familiarize yourself with phrases other people use, he said.
“Everyone has their own phrases, pet phrases. Locate the phrases that people use again and again, and make them your own.”
Yokoyama emphasizes the need to put yourself out there.
“Much of English-language education in Japan is about input, but you should also be able to express your feelings. The act of describing how one feels is how language skills are derived.”
Yokoyama says he is often asked how long people need to study to reach his level in English.
“I don’t have an answer to that. People say studying English is a lifelong process. I’m not sure about this, but I do find that once you get a foot in the door of English learning, the rest is about passion and fascination. You have to keep at it.” (Kaori Shoji)
This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.
- Yokoyama chose to conduct his interview all in English. If you were interviewed by The Japan Times Alpha, would you do the same? Why or why not? Discuss.
- Yokoyama said that he uses occasions like the interview to check how he’s doing with English and where he is with it. Do you like to check your English ability from time to time? If so, how do you check it (ex. take a test, watch a new movie without subtitles)? Why? Discuss.
- Yokoyama said that once you get a foot in the door of English learning, the rest is about passion and fascination. Do you think it’s easy to stay passionate about learning English? Why or why not? Discuss.
- Yokoyama said that when you work in English, you need to learn how the language is changing all the time. In your opinion, what are good ways to keep up with the latest English (ex. watch current TV shows from abroad, read English social media)? Why? Discuss.
- Yokoyama pointed out that everyone has their own pet phrases that they use again and again. What would you say your English pet phrase is? How about in your native language? Discuss.
- Yokoyama said that he’s often asked how long people need to study to reach his level in English. In your opinion, how long do people need to study to become fluent in English? How about to become fluent in your native language? Why? Discuss.