Test machine

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Test machine

Post by ryokondo » Mon 05.22.2006 11:42 pm

Hi, everyone.
I suggest an effective method for intermediate learners to study Japanese.

I am a Japanese person studying English seriously. If my English written here is difficult for you to understand, please do not hesitate to ask any question. Since I joined the chat room, I have experienced to talk with many people studying Japanese. Then, I realized some pattern of errors that some intermediate learners often made. I think that one of them is the mistake in the combination of words, such as nouns, particles, and verbs. Please read the following samples.

Sample 1
Since I have lived in Japan for long time, I forgot English at all.
私は日本に長く居たので、英語を完成まで忘れた。(wrong) > 私は日本に長く居たので、英語を完全に忘れた。(correct)
In this case, the combination 完成まで+忘れた is unusual.

Sample 2
I improve English because I want to go to England.
私はイギリスに行きたいだから英語を改良させます。(wrong) > 私はイギリスに行きたいから英語を上達させます。(correct)
In this case, the combination 行きたい+だから and 英語を+改良させます are unusual.

Sample 3
It is quite often even for Japanese people to make mistakes in writing Kanjis.
日本人でさえも漢字を書き間違えることが全然ある。(wrong and correct)
This is a tricky sample. In this sentence, the combination between 全然 and ある is wrong in terms of the regular grammar. 全然 should be used only in a negative sentence with ない. However, many native speakers use this phrase "全然ある" at the present day. In fact, even Japanese eminent writers, such as Souseki Natsume, used to use this pattern 100 years ago. So it can be called correct in terms of casual usage.

I guess It is difficult for some learners to recognize whether the combination of words is wrong or correct when they write Japanese. Other people may not know whether it is usual or not, even if they have known that it is correct in terms of grammar. One reason is that they can look up many translations of one word in a dictionary. For instance, the word “improve” as a transitive verb has lots of translations such as 良くする, 改良する, 改善する, 向上させる, 磨きをかける, 高める, 伸ばす, 拡充する, and 強化する. In sample 2, how can we choose the natural word following after the object “英語を”? Such too many examples must bother you.

My friend introduced me a useful method to pick up a proper word in writing an English sentence. This may be also effective for learners in Japanese.

When I wanted to write “テクノロジーの仕事(しごと)に興味(きょうみ)がある。” in English, I wondered if I should write “I am interested in careers in technology” or “I am interested on careers in technology”. I mean, I didn’t know which “IN” or “ON” I should choose. Then, I put two combinations in http://www.google.com as an exact phrase respectively, and I found the results. The number of hits in “interested in careers” was about 226,000, while that of “interested on careers” was just 1. Thus, I chose the former. This statistical approach may be usually effective, although it is not always perfect.

Please try to test this approach to confirm any phrase. I show the proceeding a. to f.
a. Open the http://www.google.com
b. Click the link to Advanced Search (http://www.google.com/advanced_search)
c. Check Language to be changed “Japanese” so that you can test the phrase within Japanese web sites.
d. Put your phrase in the space of “the exact phrase”.
e. Push the button of “Google Search”.
F. Confirm the number of Results about the phrase.

Here is the results of testing phrases in Sample 1 and 2

The number of results for Sample 1 are,
“完成まで忘れた”> No result, which means that nobody used it.
“完全に忘れた” > 13,700 people used this phrase.
So you can choose完全に忘れた instead of完成まで忘れた according as the obvious difference.

The number of results for Sample 2 are,
“行きたいだから”> only 48,
“行きたいから” > 211,000 people used this phrase.
“英語を改良させる” > No result in Google. Please do not use this phrase.
“英語を上達させる” > 11,200 people used this phrase.
It is better to choose the phrase which has much more number of results compared to the other one.

Some people would say that it is risky. I know this statistical approach doesn’t work well when the combination of words is too complicated. But I ever saw many results having a huge difference. Especially when you make sure a small group of words, it seems to work very well. Overall, I think this method to use Google as a test machine is really effective. Thank you for reading my poor English. If you already know this way, please forget my post thread.


RE: Test machine

Post by Schattenjedi » Tue 05.23.2006 12:30 am

Excellent post. Sample 3 is quite interesting since I have also been told zig times not to use 全然、あまり with positive verbs. Can あまり also be used with a positive verb?

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RE: Test machine

Post by enyafriend » Tue 05.23.2006 12:53 am

Interesting! I especially like the experiment thing.
well done.
私 夢がある。。。

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RE: Test machine

Post by Justin » Tue 05.23.2006 1:37 am

That's something I've been using for a while to double check correct usage on words/phrases that I'm not too familiar with. As you stated though, the statistical approach isn't always perfect, and you need to be careful with things like 全然ある (actually incorrect, yet you still used fairly often), but when you're in a bind, it's a great way to get you started in the right direction...most of the time. :D

P.S. Your English is great, I didn't have a problem understating what you wanted to say one bit.

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RE: Test machine

Post by ryokondo » Tue 05.23.2006 8:02 pm

thank you for reading my thread.:)
あまりis not used with a positive verb. >Schattenjedi
Please try to use it and make sure the results by yourself. >experiment
Thank you for a nice advice. I'll be careful. >Justin

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RE: Test machine

Post by coco » Tue 05.23.2006 8:23 pm

他にも何か気がついたらTranslation か Grammar あたりのカテゴリーで定期的にまとめてくださると、貴重な情報になるはずです。
Last edited by coco on Tue 05.23.2006 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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