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Old 06-26-2013, 06:41 PM
 
Location: Murphy, TX
645 posts, read 2,613,148 times
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Looks like both South Korea and Japan has requirements to learn English at school. Supposedly, in Korea they start kids off from the third year of elementary school.

However, all their effort seems like it doesn't pay off well. Most of them people educated in English solely in their country still speak poorly. As mentioned in that Wikipedia link above, S. Korea spends most on English study in Asia and yet they rank the lowest among Asian countries in English.

What do you think their problem is?
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:54 PM
 
Location: Plano, TX
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Same reason most Americans can't do math even though they have years of education in the subject.
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:14 PM
 
Location: US Empire, Pac NW
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The real reason is because most Japanese people learn English by memorization of phrases and sentences that are the English equivalent. That's why they usually speak so rigidly. "Hi, how are you?" "I'm fine, thanks! And you?" LOL!

In other words, none of the unstructured free-thinking type of language formation is learned. To get that a lot of folks attend an English conversation school or class. Those are the people who generally learn more English and get better with practice. The sort of image/word-association isn't really taught (I'm speaking from experience teaching adults, no idea if they teach children image-association). People tend to link images to words much easier than words to words. Unfortunately most of the teaching is word to word translation, let alone cultural association (for example, for the longest time my wife would say "Yes" when I asked a question expecting a negative answer, like "Have you ever raced cars?" ... the first "Yes" is usually done in Japan as a way of saying you received and understood the question, and they will answer you directly when you ask again ... that sort of thing never happens with native English speakers).

They also tend to not do cultural or language immersion at all at school. Even if you do image association, unless you are exposed to the language daily it is hard no matter what you do. Doesn't help much English over there is butchered but put up because it looks cool.
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:14 PM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,149,597 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unseengundam View Post
Looks like both South Korea and Japan has requirements to learn English at school. Supposedly, in Korea they start kids off from the third year of elementary school.

However, all their effort seems like it doesn't pay off well. Most of them people educated in English solely in their country still speak poorly. As mentioned in that Wikipedia link above, S. Korea spends most on English study in Asia and yet they rank the lowest among Asian countries in English.

What do you think their problem is?
I've taught English for many years in both countries - SOuth Korea and Japan.

One of the problems is that they are both very homogeneous, and there isn't REALLY much need to speak English, although both countries have high requirements for certain companies to score well on the tests of English profiency though. So they both often study for tests and english levels, and not so much for speaking and conversing, in general, in English.

But, more than anything, the GRAMMAR is just so different from English. As a person who has off-and-on studied Japanese and Korean, since I live in these countries, I can honestly say that the grammar is really hard on the mind! You have to restructure sentences in completely illogical opposite ways.

I'm presently studying Portuguese, I also once lived in Brazil, and I love that I can think in Portuguese much quicker and easier, mostly because I can translate my sentences in the same sentence structure order. It makes a huge difference. Sometimes I switch to studying Portuguese/Spanish, because I can learn so much more so much more quickly, than the tedious mind-numbing energy-consuming time it takes studying Japanese or Korean. (Feels like it takes 10 times more work to get a fraction of the amount of output).
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:24 PM
 
Location: SGV, CA
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-Japanese and Korean are considered among the hardest languages for a native English speaker to learn. I assume the same would be true vice versa.
-Lack of opportunities to speak with native and/or fluent English speakers
-English classes are more geared towards test taking rather than fluency and written rather than oral skills
-Far more demand for English teachers than supply, therefore standards for hiring English teachers is quite low.
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:52 PM
 
Location: Murphy, TX
645 posts, read 2,613,148 times
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Interesting points to think about sentence structure different. I remember taking Spanish courses for only 2 years in high school and I can still put together some minimal sentences. I bet it is easier to learn and remember Spanish since the structure and words are the same.

I wonder if they ever tried teaching kids English from since they 4 or 5 years old? I heard they learn better.

I find it interesting how S. Korea and Japan with so many international companies can still function without speaking good English for the most part.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
I've taught English for many years in both countries - SOuth Korea and Japan.

One of the problems is that they are both very homogeneous, and there isn't REALLY much need to speak English, although both countries have high requirements for certain companies to score well on the tests of English profiency though. So they both often study for tests and english levels, and not so much for speaking and conversing, in general, in English.

But, more than anything, the GRAMMAR is just so different from English. As a person who has off-and-on studied Japanese and Korean, since I live in these countries, I can honestly say that the grammar is really hard on the mind! You have to restructure sentences in completely illogical opposite ways.

I'm presently studying Portuguese, I also once lived in Brazil, and I love that I can think in Portuguese much quicker and easier, mostly because I can translate my sentences in the same sentence structure order. It makes a huge difference. Sometimes I switch to studying Portuguese/Spanish, because I can learn so much more so much more quickly, than the tedious mind-numbing energy-consuming time it takes studying Japanese or Korean. (Feels like it takes 10 times more work to get a fraction of the amount of output).
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:47 PM
 
Location: Czech Republic
2,384 posts, read 5,846,437 times
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Does it have something to do with their language ? Because I think it's the same for Chinese.
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Old 06-27-2013, 12:36 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,149,597 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unseengundam View Post
Interesting points to think about sentence structure different. I remember taking Spanish courses for only 2 years in high school and I can still put together some minimal sentences. I bet it is easier to learn and remember Spanish since the structure and words are the same.

I wonder if they ever tried teaching kids English from since they 4 or 5 years old? I heard they learn better.

I find it interesting how S. Korea and Japan with so many international companies can still function without speaking good English for the most part.
Yep, they definitely teach kids in both S. Korea and Japan as young as 4 or 5. As a long time teacher over here, it's not uncommon for english teachers to be employed to even try to teach little infants or babies. It's pretty much all year. In S. Korea they try to put foreigners in all the schools right from the beginning.

Is it effective? I'd say that english abilities are much better now than they were a couple decades ago. That being said, I don't feel like my job as an English teacher over here will go away anytime soon either, as the demand just continues to be here.

Regarding companies and such. It's even more competitive over in S. Korea, but most all college graduates have to have a certain TOEFL score just to get a job at a company now days. In short, it's not that difficult to find english speakers in either South Korea of Japan. If you've never talked to a Japanese or Korean, you might not understand their way of speaking English, if they still have the Korean or Japanese accent. If you've spent any time over here though, you get use to it, and I feel like I have a decent shot to communicate basic needs with most people.
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Old 06-27-2013, 09:14 AM
 
Location: In the heights
22,119 posts, read 23,634,230 times
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The most basic underlying reason for why so many South Korean and Japanese can't speak English very well is because they don't need to. Their unemployment is low, their economies are relatively strong, and a good lot of media and educational materials in various subjects are available in their native languages (so much so that they are actually media and cultural exporters).
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Old 06-27-2013, 09:54 PM
 
32,060 posts, read 32,956,580 times
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It is probably a combination of not needing to speak English (meaning very little practice of actually speaking English) and the teaching methods used to teach English by the local teachers (which are not usually communicative based).
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