Useful English Phrases to Teach a Japanese Student

Japanese students are some of the most avid and studious learners of the English language. A lot of them strive to learn the language quickly and effectively so they can become more competitive in school and at work. It is an important step for them, since they want to be globally competitive and great communicators with other citizens of the world.

But learning English as a second language for them is never without challenges. There is a significant gap between English and their native language in the basic things, including pronunciation, grammar structure, and translation. In order to help apply what they are learning in the classroom or in private lessons, they should be familiar with useful phrases they can use to start conversations with English speakers and among themselves.

Being able to have basic communication at an early stage is important.

Being able to have basic communication at an early stage is important.

Different Expressions of Greetings

Some of the basic English phrases that most Japanese learners memorize are different greetings for different times of the day. A lot of learners are able to use these in their daily life, but variations in the way greetings are delivered should also be taught to them. Aside from a general greeting like "Hello!", which people say at any time of day, they should also learn how to greet on special occasions and events. This will surely help them in initiating conversations or in exchanging pleasantries whenever they meet someone along the way.

Good variations for greeting people are things like "How are you doing?", "Have fun!", or "How is it going?". Expressions like these are more laid back and great for casual conversations with friends.

The Wh-questions

The Wh-questions, including How, should be among the basic phrases taught to Japanese learners. This is easier to teach since they have equivalences in their own language. You could help them understand how differences in asking details could have different tones. For example, asking "Who are you?" and "What is your name?" are similar in purpose but the latter is more appropriate since it is indirect. It is important that they learn how to formulate proper questions whenever they need to ask something, because the direct translation of questions from their language sound can sound very upfront. Additionally, they should be familiar with using the words 'which' and 'whom' because these are often overlooked and this can cause confusion to Japanese learners.

How to Ask for Help

In a time of need learning how to ask for help, especially when danger or accidents arise, is important. They should be able to learn a phrase to use when asking for assistance or rescue. Have them learn the phrase "I need help with something" or "Can you please assist/help me?". You can also teach them phrases such as "Could you show me how to get to the..." or "Something urgent came up, would you please help me?"

Most Japanese people are shy about bothering other people, so it is great if teachers explain to them that this is not considered to be a big deal by most English speakers.

Basic Introduction Of Self and Personal Details

Most Japanese learners have a spiel or speech for when they introduce themselves to other people. This can be particularly useful in the classroom setting, but anywhere else it is better if they are able to speak more spontaneously about themselves. Teach them variations in introductions like "You may call me...", "I am based in...", and so on.

Since formal English is what's taught predominantly in most English courses, they will be able to handle conversations in the workplace or in school without sounding rude or informal. It will greatly help them improve if they learn alternative ways of speaking and talking about themselves. Teach them to use the phrase "How about you?" to return the interest to the person they are speaking with.

Learning lots of basic English phrases can help Japanese students to make new friends.

Learning lots of basic English phrases can help Japanese students to make new friends.

Useful Expressions

Japanese people are great at being expressive, especially when they are surprised, overwhelmed, or experiencing intense emotions such as excitement. Since they are so expressive, it is great to teach them useful phrases and expressions so that they can also use language to express themselves more freely and respond appropriately when they are in a conversation. Teach them some useful expressions including "That's awesome/cool!", "I am sorry to hear that", "Thank you, I'm good/okay" and many more. Building on these expressions can be done over time and be done in the same way that they build up their vocabulary.

It is important that Japanese learners learn how to communicate effectively even when outside the classroom setting. These and other similar phrases will help them, not only in mastering the English language but in engaging with other people and becoming great speakers too. Even though these are just basics, they will enable learners to have a strong foundation for their learning.

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