The purpose of this paper is to find out how many figurative English idioms can be found in The New York Times articles and to have a close look at how they are acting in those articles. Idioms in this paper mean English expressions that nonnative speakers of English cannot easily understand through words used in the expression. With the help of computer search function I got numbers of idioms used in The New York Times. The results are as follows: 1. 180 different figurative idioms are found in 700, 000 English words in the newspaper. 2. Idioms with a part of the body, like “bat an eye, ” take 17 percent of all figurative idioms. 3. Idioms with one of natural existents hold 10 percent, idioms with a tool name 12 percent and figurative idioms with miscellaneous things 61 percent. Cliche expressions, like “bring home the bacon, ” are also found in today's newspaper. The number is 30. I presume that writers of The New York Times intend to give us vividness and freshness by using figurative idioms because those expressions are conspicuous in the newspaper sentences.
The purpose of this paper is to examine some features of “will” in the progressive form. This form of “will” has been the most difficult of all future meanings to characterise, from the standpoint of functional politeness. It can be summed up as “future-as-a-matter-of-course”. The progressive form of “will” is used tactfully in daily conversation. When used in this form, “will” not only expresses polite interest, but relieves the burden of a response from the listener. It can depict an activity as if it were independent of the speaker's volition. This form of “will” can also be used to reconfirm previous plans, by implying “in addition to...”. These observations suggest that “will” in the progressive form is basically an expression in which the speaker is aware of the listener, resulting in the appearance of polite discourse.
This paper summarizes the presentation the author made at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Japan Association of Practical English held at Waseda University, Tokyo in September 1998. In order to know the practicability of the business English textbooks in Japan in terms of business correspondence, the author surveyed eighteen textbooks published between 1958 and 1998, together with several business English reference books. A comparison was made between the contents of these textbooks and reference books, and those in the actual business correspondence the author received between 1994 and 1998. The research was made regarding the following: 1) style, 2) letter elements, and 3) punctuation. The author first found that there are some discrepancies between the styles quoted in the textbooks and those actually in use, and also that the more economical styles (i. e. simple, non-time consuming) tend to be used. The author contends that the name of styles should be standardized. The second finding is that there is not a big difference between the letter elements used in the textbooks and those actually in use, although the nomenclature is not standardized and there are various Japanese translations of these elements. The third finding is that among the various kinds of complimentary closes in the textbooks, only a few are very common in actual business correspondence. The author also shows that the most popular ones are changing. To conclude, the author asserts that it is necessary to teach the students the knowledge and skills needed in doing business correspondence in contemporary international society so that they can utilize in the workplace what they acquired while at college. To realize this, we teachers should look at the actual business correspondence as well as textbooks which are sometimes imperfect.
Motivation and attitudes have long been identified as crucial and central to language learning along with aptitude (Spolsky 1989). This paper reports on the results of self-report questionnaires that investigate affective factors and their effects on language learning. The purpose is to identify the elements that can lower or heighten students' positive engagement in English learning and to provide referential data for effective curriculum design. The participants are Japanese university students who are taking English as a compulsory subject in the general education department. The results have been analyzed to examine their effects on, and interactions with task types. The data indicates that the majority of the students had fairly strong intrinsic interest in improving their English. However, it was found that low test scores, incomprehensible input, monotonous activities, and anxiety factors such as classroom reporting might have been responsible for low levels of participation. Factors that caused the students to feel a heightened motivation for English study involved the situations in which they felt the immediate need for actual ‘international’ communication such as domestic encounters with foreigners, and travel abroad circumstances in which they recognized the shortcomings of their English language skills. The student generally reported a strong preference for the audio-visual medium with an emphasis on entertainment such as music, movies and TV programs.