Freeing up Fluency in a Silent Speaking Class / Katakana & English

Steve Paton / Yumiko Cochrane
Saturday, 14 May 2016 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm

Steve Paton: Freeing up fluency in a silent speaking class

In speaking classes with English majors, I’d become disappointed that students weren’t taking advantage of the opportunity to speak, and to learn through experience. Many students were using too much Japanese, or hiding silently behind their more enthusiastic classmates.
In the second semester, I instigated a new, experimental assessment design that would reward active participation, rather than accuracy or “correctness”. More importantly, though, I gave the students a comprehensive, organized explanation of my reasoning, hoping it would change their perception of the course.
I heard more English during the next few lessons than I’d heard in the entire first semester! My explanation had really resonated, and the students opened up, apparently no longer burdened by a concern with accuracy.
In this presentation, I’ll go through what I presented to the students, discuss why I think it was so effective, and show how I applied what I learned to subsequent classes.

Steve Paton currently works full time at Fukuoka University.


Yumiko Cochrane: Katakana & English

Katakana words constitute an integral component of the lexicon of Japanese. While Katakana is primarily used to transcribe foreign words into Japanese and introduce objects or concepts of foreign origin, its usage in modern Japanese is so pervasive that its effects, particularly on English acquisition, are immense. With a primary emphasis on the importance of raising awareness towards false friends, this presentation discusses issues and implications involving English-like Katakana words (loanword cognates) and possible long-term effects they may have on English acquisition. It first introduces key linguistic features of loanword cognates and how they are used in Japanese discourse. Results of the presenter’s exploratory study will also be presented to show how Japanese adults performed in producing English equivalents to the lexical items on the test. The presentation also reviews some of the loanword cognates commonly used in modern Japanese discourse.

Yumiko Cochrane works at Tokyo International Business College and Kyushu Sangyo University.