English (Reading) 2

LecturerToshiyuki TONOIKE, Professor
DepartmentInstitute of Liberal Arts & Sciences, 2005 Fall
Recommended for:Department of Agriculture Medical Faculty Hygiene Department (11.5 hours / session 1 session / week 15 weeks / semester)

English (Reading) 2

Course Aims

Targeting people who have just entered university, we will study what are considered important ways of learning English at university. Not just translating English passages into Japanese, but by using an English-English dictionary, students will recognize that reading many English passages is a means of learning various things, not only English. They can overcome requirements to allow them to advance further by themselves in the future.

Key Features

There is a concern that most new students at university believe that learning English is a subject of memorizing grammar and vocabulary. It's also a point of worry that there are many people who consider translating straight into Japanese all there is to it. There's also a worry that acquiring English ability is simply a matter of running through practice questions to earn points in something like a TOEIC exam.

In these lessons, we emphasize learning English through using an English-English dictionary that is not just translating into Japanese. These lessons encompass a wide range of English reading, encouraging students to prepare for further study in English which should be considered at and after 2nd year.

Course Aims

Following the point that it is considered important that students further study English while at university, in these lessons, divided in terms of priority into 15 parts, I will encourage students who have just entered university to learn from what they produce themselves trying to complete each self-study task. As a result, from things such as using purchased English-English dictionaries, making use of reference materials depending on their importance, and looking at what each individual has written in English, I aim for students to learn and come to terms with the foundation of being able to learn through English.

I have given underneath some concrete aims that students should have covered by the end of the module.

  1. This is not English practice that is focused on translating into Japanese, but a switch to English practice focused on giving cases of reading actual passages as examples and understanding their contents.
  2. As an important means for that, we have to learn how to use English-English dictionaries aimed at learners of English, and get used to the word descriptions/definitions in English.
  3. We will not only be reading English passages and understanding their contents, but also we will learn what we can do to make use of this skill in reading, writing and reciting English passages by yourself.
  4. By using Google to understand expressions and collocations that do not match the grammar (for example, whether some cases of noun usage and their adjectives, verbs taken as objects, or reverse-prepositions are grammatically correct or not), by entering what you want to check between quotation marks ("") you can find a fair amount of elementary mistakes, so in a short while, checking fairly thoroughly any English expressions they might have hit upon by themselves, students should have fostered a sense of language in regards to natural English expressions.
  5. Students should augment their knowledge of "Excuse me" and other such things often used as concluding phrases or clichés, since on top of their orientation towards students they will be encountered a fair number of times.
  6. Student-oriented English-English dictionaries are complete even with explanations of interjections often used in actual conversation. Interjections change depending on language, and it is not just about knowing a roughly equivocal phrase in Japanese from an English-Japanese dictionary, but students should understand such explanations of what you can use in what kind of circumstances.
  7. Our learning is only dependent on what we can produce. Making one sketch of a mountain is better than looking at it a hundred times. The same can be said for students of English. Recently, the now often heard "shadowing" (practices of pronouncing, reading or mimicking the model answer at the same time as much as possible) is already such, but producing a piece of work using your hands to write or actually talking to someone is important. Students should understand and realize this.

Lesson Placement

The lessons are loosely proposed as an orientation for learners of English, or for people who have just entered university. This is not simply translating in Japanese and being done, but understanding that it is important to use an English-English dictionary, reading many English passages, and learning in English as a means of learning English, and preparing to advance even further through self-study.

There are no particular courses at this university that should have been completed as a prerequisite for this course.



Teaching Staff

Nagoya University, Information Technology Center,
Professor TONOIKE, Toshiyuki

Staff Room: The Graduate School of Languages and Cultures, #208.

Course Schedule

Session Contents

How do you study English at university?
Here I will take up the important points of how students who have just entered university should study English, and explain the main points.


An explanation of the necessity of reading plenty of English passages and methods for this
Not learning English for gaining points in some English qualification exam such as TOEIC, but for gaining true ability in English, there is a necessity of reading quite some quantity of English passages (things with a story, and things that are well-constructed are best), and this is extremely effective.
Here I will explain concretely how best to go about this.


How to use student-oriented English-English dictionaries
With learning English at university, compared to at middle/high school, it is necessary to think in different ways. When there is an English passage, we translate it into Japanese. If we purely translate it, that should not be considered the end of the matter. We do not consider it as simple as being able to translate into Japanese is best.


Points on English pronunciation and listening skills
English words can be roughly divided into content words and function words. Function words are fundamental and appear often, but are pronounced softly rather than normally or strongly. Practicing listening to these soft forms of function words, on top of strengthening listening skills, is extremely important. A list of words considered to be function words is below. In an English-Japanese dictionary or equivalent, please check their pronunciations both in strong form and weak form.
a, an, the, be, am, are, is, was. were, been, can, could, do, does, did, don't, has, have, had, may, must, shall, should, will, would, I, my, me, you, your, you're, he, his, him, she, her, we, our, us, they, their, them, it, one, that, some, as, at, but, by, for, from, in, into, of., on, to, up, upon. And, or, nor, if, no, not, than, there, till, until, what, who, whose, whom, have to, has to, used to, ought to, want to, going to
English has stress accents. Japanese has pitch accents.

I must do it.
Let us consider this simple English sentence. Within these four words, there is only one content word, the verb "do". All the function words become weak. "Must", depending on the situation, becomes [ms]. We will practice simple English passages, pronouncing parts with content word accents strongly, and parts with function words weakly. People who own middle/high school texts and their reading materials, through practice known as "shadowing", will perhaps master the fundaments of English pronunciation and improve their listening skills.


Reference materials useful for Learning English
Firstly, we will consider Swan (1980, 1995). Fundamental problems on the use of English, such as grammar articles and synonymic phrases, will be considered and resolved to a fair degree. In lessons, I will show numbers of Swan's entries students are recommended to read at some point. After reading a number of such entries, students will come to understand in what kind of books, at what times and how best to use Swan to be the most useful.


The importance of Collocation and the use of Google
We will continue for a short while thoroughly checking on Google whether English phrases thought up by yourself are natural English or not. When you search with your terms enveloped in double quotes (" "), only the whole phrase is searched for, and as such you can reliably check whether such a sentence can be actually used.


Arranging Clichés and Interjections using a student-oriented English-English dictionary
In a student-oriented English-English dictionary, descriptions of clichés ("Excuse me" or "Forget it", or entries using such set phrases) are very comprehensive, so it is good to arrange by yourself things it looks like you can use. Also, descriptions of interjections often used in conversation and explanations of in what circumstances they can be used are equally comprehensive. It is important to not just understand the meaning in a rough Japanese approximation, but also to see and understand concrete examples of in which circumstances they can be used.


Reading various English magazine articles
This will be dealt with in class. Because people's interests are seldom the same, I will introduce a wide range of articles.


Collecting your own usable English phrases
This is not simply while reading English passages translating everything and being done with it, but thinking about writing your own English passages, and gathering together phrases and discoveries you can actually use. Please remember that English essays are not best written as a direct translation from something you've already written in Japanese, but by skillfully using English passages that express what you want to say.


Essays with awareness of paragraphs
Short English essays tend not to have much meaning. Reading passages written in English, please note how incorporating paragraphs can turn such essays into actual passages.


Making friends with people living overseas and English tandem partners
As what you can produce is important to learning English, students should try registering somewhere you can receive tandem English instruction by email or where you can post it yourself, and make friends for an exchange of emails in English.


Creating opportunities to speak in English around university
We will create opportunities to actually speak in English with foreign students from within the university or from Nanzan University. Learning results from experiencing an inability to say what you really want, then afterwards finding out what simple phrase you could have used.


Creating opportunities to listen to English speeches and lectures
In Nagoya University and in Nagoya city there are speeches and lectures in English fairly frequently. In any case, students should try to listen to some or more of these.


Reading books that you like
Students should not just read the same book, or books set as teaching materials, but those that they find they like themselves. "Enjoying Otegaru Paperbacks" might also be useful.


Thorough practice of listening
This is also important. You will need to find teaching materials appropriate to you. I can give you advice.


Task 1

Read Chon Chanyon's 2002 "Eigo wa zettai, benkyo suru na!" by Sunmark Bunko: Sunmark Publications and write a report. Please write a concise report, divided into three. Firstly, summarize and itemize what the author is saying. Secondly, summarize and itemize what you find important for your own study of English by reading this book. Lastly, conclude with your own thoughts.

Task 2

Read Sakai Kunihide's 2000 "Kaidoku 100 man go! Pepabakku he no michi" by Chikuma Gakugei Bunko: Chikuma Shobo and write a report. Please write a concise report, divided into three. Firstly, summarize and itemize what the author is saying. Secondly, summarize and itemize what you find important for your own study of English by reading this book. Lastly, conclude with your own thoughts.

Task 3

From the extensive English-learning materials in the library, choose an appropriate book and read it in a week, then write a report.

Task 4

Writing a passage in English of around 4 paragraphs in length. For example, try using a Google search putting a part of the sentence including both the subject and verb in double quotes (""). Also, in order to confirm collocations, for example, what adjectives can you use with "population", have a think, create something, and then check on Google whether that combination is possible.

Task 5

How to form compound words.- Writing a passage in English is a test of English ability, but when you consider approaching English native speakers, understanding the rules of forming compound words and being able to form them yourself is also important.

Extracurricular Tasks

Exchanging English essays we have written and correcting each others. This will not happen in lessons, but as you find time with friends from the same class students should write essays in English of at the minimum 4 paragraphs, swap them, then exchange comments and ideas.

Essays written in English should not simply be translations of things written in Japanese. Students should instead think about reading passages written in English, picking out phrases and constructions they think they can use, then applying them writing an essay using English from the start. At the back of the dictionaries I will request students buy, there are sections dedicated to discussing "Essay Writing". Please reference these too. Students should at the very least check any problems of grammar (conformity etc) or with natural English constructions (collocation problems etc) using Google by themselves. Even just this will avoid some terrible English passages that you may have first thought of.

By yourself you cannot correct your own English, but with other people this becomes possible and even recommended. After several times of doing this, you can become able to take a small step back from your own work and see it much more clearly.


End of Term Exam: 50%
Report: 50%
I will also evaluate students on their attendance.

Related resources

Reference Materials good for using as tools to learning English

Swan, Michael (1980, 1995) Practical English Usage. Oxford University Press.
This is useful for when you want to confirm important points of English grammar or vocabulary.

Sinclar, John et al. (eds. 2003) Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary. Harper Collins Publishers.
There are at least three different student-oriented English-English dictionaries that I could recommend to students, but this is the one I will use in lessons.

Oxford Collocations Dictionary for Students of English (2002) Oxford University Press.
This is handy as a dictionary for English collocations.

Biber, Douglas, Susan Conrad and Geoffrey Leech (2002) Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English. Longman.
Huddleston, Rodney and Geoffrey K. Pullum (2005) A Student's Introduction to English Grammar. Cambridge University Press.
Comparatively recently there have been two new books published that give systematic explanations of modern English grammar. Both are in student editions. For cases when you feel Swan's entries are insufficient, or for people who want to read a whole modern English grammar book, either of these two books will be more than sufficient.

Last updated

May 15, 2020