英単語学習法(その3):派生語と共に覚える! — by 加藤

これまでの記事で、私がお勧めしている英単語学習法は以下であると述べてきました:

(1)例文や用例の中で覚える (→ 連語や語のニュアンスも身に付く)
(2)強勢の位置と正しい発音を意識しながら、例文や用例を口ずさんで覚える
(3)分かる場合は語源の理解と共に覚える
(4)分かる場合は派生語と共に覚える

今回は、上記の(4)に光を当てます。

たとえば、『TOEFLテストボキャブラリー+例文3900』 (アゴス 岡田&松園著/The Japan Times社刊)のp.189に、80点突破レベルの単語として、次の項目が載っています:

「endure:(動)耐える、持ちこたえる  (名)endurance:忍耐、持続」

これだけでも、endureという動詞を、その名詞形のenduranceと一緒に覚えられて、一挙両得ですね。ですが、さらにできる方は、辞書でendureを引いてみましょう。その前後に次のような派生語が見つかるはずです:

endurable:(形)耐えられる、がまんできる
enduring:(形)忍耐強い(patient);持続する(permanent)

これらもすべてまとめて覚えてしまいましょう。endureという単語を糸口に、その3つの派生語も一緒に覚えられて、一石二鳥ならぬ「一石四鳥」です!
私の辞書には、たまたまenduringの同義語として、上記のようにpatientとpermanentも載っているので、これらも一緒に覚えると、なんと「一石六鳥」です!!

私は常日頃から、「辞書は引くものではなく、読むものである」と言っています。ある英単語の意味を調べたらすぐにとじてしまうのではなく、せっかく労力をかけて開いた辞書(電子辞書やネット辞書の場合は、検索した語句)は、そう簡単にはとじません。その語が持つ意味を隅から隅まで確認し、特に知らなかった意味についてはその例文を確認し、口ずさんで覚えます。さらにその派生語(名詞(簡単な例では、energy)の場合は、その動詞形(energize)、形容詞形(energetic)、副詞形(energetically)など)も一緒に覚えるようにします。

このようにして、貪欲に英語の語彙力増強に励んでみてはいかがでしょうか。語彙力が飛躍的に向上します!

英単語学習法(その2):語源で覚える!– by 加藤

前回の私の記事で、お勧めしている英単語学習法は以下の様に述べました:

(1)例文や用例の中で覚える (→ 連語や語のニュアンスも身に付く)
(2)強勢の位置と正しい発音を意識しながら、例文や用例を口ずさんで覚える
(3)分かる場合は語源の理解と共に覚える
(4)分かる場合は派生語と共に覚える

今回は、上記の特に(3)に光を当ててみます。
覚えようとする英単語の語源が一部でも分かれば、その単語を覚えやすく、また、忘れにくくなります。

まずは、前回も例に出した「synthesize:(動)合成する、統合する」で考えてみます。
実は、接頭辞のsyn-やsym-は、con-やco-と同じく「(2つ以上のものが)共に、同時に、一緒に」という意味を表すのです。この接頭辞を含む他の単語には、次のようなものがあります:

synchronize:(動)同時に発生する、同時性をもつ
synonym:(名)同義語、同意語
symmetry:(名)左右対称
sympathy:(名)同情、共感

これらはすべて、「2つ以上ものが一緒になる」イメージを含みますよね。
話はもどりますが、よって、synthesizeは「2つ以上のものを合成させる」イメージで覚えやすくなります。

ちなみに、皆さんの中には、シンセサイザー(synthesizer)という楽器をご存じの方もいらっしゃると思います。電子的に音響を合成する装置のことですね。

どちらにしても、英単語を覚える、そして、その意味を思い出すには、「手がかり」や「糸口」が多いに越したことはありません。ぜひ、上記に述べた方法で、英語の語彙力増強を図ってください!

英単語学習法(その1):例文の中で覚える!– by 加藤

TOEFL®にしてもIELTSにしても、高スコア獲得のためには語彙力の増強が欠かせません。私が自分でも実践し、生徒さん達にもお勧めしている英単語学習法は以下です:

(1)例文や用例の中で覚える (→ 連語や語のニュアンスも身に付く)
(2)強勢の位置と正しい発音を意識しながら、例文や用例を口ずさんで覚える
(3)分かる場合は語源の理解と共に覚える
(4)分かる場合は派生語と共に覚える

今回は上記の特に(1)と(2)に光を当てます。
たとえば、『TOEFL®テストボキャブラリー+例文3900』(アゴス 岡田&松園著/The Japan Times社刊)のp. 153に、80点突破レベルの単語として、次の項目が載っています:

synthesize:(動)合成する、統合する
Scientists are trying to synthesize the two metals.
科学者たちはその2つの金属を合成しようとしている。

単純に「1語1語訳」(英単語1語につき、1つか2つの日本語の訳語)だけで暗記するとなると、「synthesize:(動)合成する、統合する」だけを見て覚えることになります。

しかし、例文を見ると「~ synthesize the two metals.(下線部は加藤)」とあります。これで、「2つ(またはそれ以上)の異なるものを合成する、合わせる」ことだと分かります。

つまり、synthesizeという単語の日本語訳だけを暗記していたのでは分からないかもしれない

(A)語の使い方(他動詞であること。連語(コロケーション)のパターン)や、
(B)より深いニュアンス、
と共に覚えることができ、
(C)実際に自分でもその単語をアウトプット(writingとspeaking)する時に、自信をもって文の中で使える(!)
ことにも繋がります。
さらに、「1語1語訳」で覚える場合よりも、

(D)その単語の意味を覚えやすく、かつ、忘れにくくなります。

英単語を例文の中で覚えると、なんと、以上(A)~(D)の利点があるのです。
是非、英単語は例文の中で口ずさんで体得するようにしましょう!

Giving Full Answers in Speaking Tests – by Mark Feeley

Hi everyone, and welcome to the instructor blog! I hope your studies at Agos are going well.

I’m Mark, and today, I’m going to be talking about the importance of more fully explaining your ideas in speaking tests, and how this can help you to improve your score. Although I’ll be using an example from an IELTS test, you can use a similar approach to the TOEFL Independent Speaking tasks.

A lot of test takers in Japan struggle to give full answers in the IELTS or TOEFL speaking tests, but it’s very important to fully explain your ideas. This is true for the IELTS or TOEFL tests, but is also crucial in MBA interviews and in the university seminars you will attend in the future.

Take the following example. Here is a typical IELTS Speaking Part 1 question (you may also get similar questions in TOEFL Speaking Task 1):

‘What do you like about the area where you live?’

A typical answer might be:

‘I like my area because it is convenient, and… er…’

The problem here is that a word like ‘convenient’ means many things.  It can also mean many different things to different people, so you should explain what you mean.

A much better answer to this type of question might be something like:

‘What I like about where I live is that it’s convenient. For example, it’s close to the shops, so if I need something to eat I can quickly nip out of my apartment and grab a bite to eat at a local store. Also, there are loads of clubs and bars near where I live so if I want to catch up with my mates at the weekend it’s quite easy and I know it won’t cost me a fortune for a taxi back home.’

As you can see from this example, not only is the answer more clearly explained, but giving a full answer gives you the opportunity to use a wide range of vocabulary (and grammar), including some less common phrases such as ‘nip out of my apartment’*, ‘grab a bite to eat’* and ‘mate’*. By more fully answering questions, you will also therefore be able to demonstrate to the examiner or grader the range of vocabulary that you are able to use.

Also notice how we can use fairly simple linking words (marked in bold in the example) to expand and join our ideas together. The example above uses a simple way of expanding your ideas, like this:

Example 1 → so…→ and…         Example 2 → so…→ and

So how can you improve? The most important thing is to practice a lot, and try recording your speaking. After you have finished, listen to your speaking and ask yourself whether there is anything that you could add to more fully explain your answer. Better still, ask a classmate or teacher to check for you, as they may be able to notice something that you can’t.

I hope you find this useful. Good luck with your studies at Agos!

*‘nip out of my apartment’ = leave my apartment for a short time and come back

*‘grab a bite to eat’ = quickly get something to eat

*’mate’= British English (informal) meaning ‘friend’ – US English equivalent is ‘buddy’

Using Natural English – by James Cort

Hello and welcome to the instructor blog! I’m James Cort and I teach TOEFL Speaking and Pronunciation and Fluency (発音矯正) at Agos.

The year is finally coming to an end, and the winter holidays will soon be upon us. Many of us are looking forward to some time off work or school, some may be travelling overseas and others preparing for important examinations. Whatever your plans, before we forget the year at the next忘年会 (end-of-year party), let’s reflect on our academic progress and consider how to make next year even more successful.

“Well… I can understand you, but it doesn’t sound natural.” Have you ever heard this from a native English speaking friend, colleague or instructor? You might then note down the corrected sentence that your teacher offers. However, you may not understand where you went wrong or how to sound more natural in the future. Today I’m going to talk about naturalness: What is natural English? Why is it important for the TOEFL and IELTS tests? How can you learn to use it?

What is natural English?

Natural English simply means the English that native speakers actually use. This can be quite different from the English you find in many textbooks, and drastically different from English directly translated from Japanese.

Unnatural English is often caused by several types of errors. Have a look at the examples below.

Error Example Natural English
Inappropriate vocabulary choice ‘My friends and I gathered at the bar.’ ‘My friends and I met up at the bar.’
Word order ‘I went to a Japanese traditional restaurant.’ ‘I went to a traditional Japanese restaurant.’
Register (formality/context) ‘There were many people at my birthday party. Moreover, it was very enjoyable.’ ‘There were loads of people at my birthday party and we had a good time.
Direct translation ‘I entered university in 2010.’ ‘I started university in 2010.’
‘Textbook’ English For the first time, I ate dinner at Cici’s some days ago. It was so-so.’ I tried Cici’s the other day – it wasn’t great.’
‘Japanese’ English ‘I went to the hot spring to refresh my mind.’ ‘I went to the hot spring to unwind.’
Wrong collocation (collocations are words that go together) ‘The temples in Kyoto are very amazing.’ ‘The temples in Kyoto are absolutely amazing.’

If you’re told that your English sounds unnatural, then it’s likely that it contains at least one of these errors.

 

Why is natural English important for the TOEFL and IELTS tests?

The ability to use natural English is vital for both TOEFL and IELTS. This is especially true for the speaking sections, where you have limited time to think about and plan your response. TOEFL speaking is graded holistically, which means the grader gives you a score based on their overall impression of your response. Of course, more natural speech will make a better impression, so you’ll get a higher score. The IELTS speaking examiners use very clear and detailed grading criteria, and producing more accurate and natural speech will help you to reach the higher bands.

How can you learn to use natural English?

So, how do you improve? Memorising the corrections your teacher gives you is vital, but this can be a slow process. Here are three important steps you can take to speak more naturally.

  1. Increase your exposure to natural English

The first step is to expose yourself to a lot of natural English material. Tedtalks, Youtube and online radio are great free resources. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon video are useful paid resources. Most of these have English subtitles available that can help you with new language. After listening or watching, make a note of new language, practice shadowing, make your own sentences and say then say them aloud. The material doesn’t have to be difficult. The important thing is to expose yourself regularly to natural English, and try to copy how the native speakers use the language.

  1. Consider the Context

Whenever you hear new words or phrases, think about the setting. What is natural in one context may sound very unnatural in another. Ask yourself: ‘Was the setting formal or informal? Was it at work, home or school? Was the topic serious or light-hearted? What’s relationship between the speakers? What’s the emotional state of the speaker and listener? How is the speaker using intonation? Etc.’ Questions like this will give you clues as to when and where you can use this language.

  1. Get out of your comfort zone

It’s easy and safe to use what you learnt in high school. But if you act in the same way, you’ll always get the same results, you won’t make progress and your TOEFL or IELTS scores won’t improve. Get out of your comfort zone and try out what you’ve learned in the real world. Use the new language with friends, with co-workers, in class, for homework and eventually on your TOEFL and IELTS tests!

 

Try these tips and see if you can start sounding more natural in 2017, and improve your TOEFL or IELTS speaking scores!