Monday, March 12, 2007

About my English in this blog

This blog was updated on March 12, 2007, for linguistic improvement. Special thanks to a Japanese blog which gave a critical view on my use of English in this blog. A specific correction of the word order in my article (Reading Haruki Murakami in English) was very helpful. I regret the mistake.

However, regarding the use of a phrase “cultural icon,” my quick Google search found a description in the National Geographic magazine.

“A handful of men and women are important enough that they are remembered for decades, even centuries, after their deaths. This lesson links geography with world issues of the 20th and 21st centuries by identifying cultural leaders or icons from around the world who have impacted the social, political, or environmental views of their countries. Students will explore the definition of "cultural icon" and study at least one cultural leader and his or her part of the world in detail.”

The use of the phrase “cultural icon” in this quotation may support my use of the expression in the article of “Reading Haruki Murakami in English,” although the above Japanese blog article (the version of March 12, 2007) says the phrase “cultural icon” should be avoided in the context of my article (See the Japanese quotation below).

For further mistakes or other sorts of linguistic deviations, I will revise them when I notice or am notified by other kind readers. I’d appreciate your kind cooperation.

Incidentally, no proof-reading by a native speaker is done when articles in this blog are written. I regret and apologize for the errors and linguistic deviations in advance. I believe international communication is more important than perfection in language, although I fully acknowledge the responsibility of TEFL professionals for improving their proficiency in the target language.

Thank you for your attention.

The quotation from the article at
On March 12, 2007

★ cultural icon という言い方は通りがいいのか

そもそもcultural icon という英語を耳にしたことがないので、ネットで検索したら、まっさきに Wikipedia のエントリーが挙がりました。その説明では、An object or person which is distinctive to, or particularly representative of, a specific culture.(特定文化を他とはっきり分け、あるいは、格別、象徴的と言える物品や人)となっていますので、「文化の象徴」に相当する言葉であることがわかります。これは例として、イギリスの山高帽、アメリカのジョン・ウェイン、そしてアップルパイが挙がっていることからもわかります。

たかがウィキペディアですが、いちおう、これを基準とする限り、夏目漱石、樋口一葉、そして福沢諭吉を指して、「日本文化の象徴」とは言えないでしょうから、この cultural icon は使えそうもありません。

お前ならどうするんだと言われたら、作家と評論家をひとからげにして literary and cultural figures といったところでしょうか。おおぎょうになってもよければ、luminaries も使えます。


Yukio Otsu said...

Hi, Yanase-san! It has just come to my attention that you started a new blog written in English. I would like to congratulate you on this new venture. Reading the first couple of essays, I was impressed by your strong commitment to improve English teaching in Japan. The new blog is beneficial in that your thoughts are now accessible to a wider audience since it is written in English. Knowing you for quite a while, I am sure you would say that you started this blog primarily for yourself. Attempting to express yourself in a foreign language would require a lot of metacognition to reflect on what you really have in mind about the topic, not to mention that writing essays in English regularly would be good practice for improving your English. I hope this new blog attracts much attention and becomes an important avenue for those who are interested in improving English teaching.

Yosuke YANASE said...

Dear Otsu-sensei,
Thank you for your encouragement. This blog seems to be attracting more domestic readers than international readers now, but this is not my intent. This is primarily for those for whom English is the only mutual language (Of course I always welcome a Japanese reader like you). I hope this blog will have a diverse readership as I meet or communicate with more people in or from other countries. International communication is my purpose, for it is much needed now.