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languagestudymaterials·9 days agoText

Particle が

When you study about the particle が alone, it seems simple. It marks the subject of a sentence. But when you need to decide between は and が, the whole thing  gets messy.

First things first. What does が do?

It marks the subject of a sentence. The English nomenclature might be confusing because “topic” and “subject” can be used interchangeably. In Japanese, they refer to two different concepts.

The main difference is that は marks what comes AFTER it and が what comes BEFORE it. Only the context will tell you which one to use it. Here are some common situations when you’ll need either of those:

  • your friend misunderstood you and you want to be clear about the subject. が

I’m Bonnie, not her!

  • the topic is already known (or not), but you want to provide some extra/specific information about it. が

Bonnie (the topic) can’t read kanji (the subject) (The way I think of it is when you have two nouns in one sentence, one of them 99% of time is the topic and the other one is extra information)

  • You already know what the topic is and there’s no need to state it again. You want to focus on different things in your conversation. は

I’m talking about the food I’ve made, and suddenly someone asks a specific question about it. “My food is blah blah blah…” (I’m talking about the topic – my food) “Wait up! What about this thing here?” did they ask me about the topic? No! We already know it. Did something else turn out to be important? Yes? An ingredient.

Remember this example? これはチョコレートです。 The important part here is chocolate. Chocolate was the ingredient that made my dish delicious. Now, let’s state the same thing using particle が.

チョコレートが重要な成分です。(chocolate is the important ingredient)

The sentence alone doesn’t tell us much. Let’s think of a context that would make things a bit more clearer.

You’re talking with your friends about the dish you’ve made. One of them asks: “Hey, what makes your dish so delicious?”

  • What’s the TOPIC of your conversation? – Your dish

Now, you want to provide the subject of your sentence. The essential part of your dish. You say: “Oh, chocolate makes it so delicious.”  

  • What’s the SUBJECT of your sentence? – Chocolate

What we did here, we put the emphasized word in a different position.

Why? Because the conversation took a slightly different course.

“Hey what’s this thing here? It makes the whole meal delicious.” You say: “Oh, it’s chocolate” これはチョコレートです。Here, we pointed to a specific thing that is important. We want to know what this specific thing is. We’re not interested in the topic anymore because we know it. The emphasis is put somewhere else (on the ingredient) in this case.

“Hey, what makes your dish so delicious?” “Oh, chocolate makes it so delicious.”  In this case, we actually asked about the thing and at the same time we established the topic of our conversation.

What makes – the answer to that will be the subject of our sentence が

Your dish – the topic of our conversation は

You can also ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I need to state the topic? Do people know what I’m talking about? No? Then use は
  2. Do we know what the topic is? Yes? Then omit the は. There’s no need to keep telling people every second what we’re talking about…As for my food, I used this and that. As for my food, it took me 10 minutes to prepare it. As for my food….
  3. Do I need to provide extra (a bit more specific) information about the topic? Is there going to be a second noun in my sentence? Yes? Then use が for that second noun (it’s a soft rule)
  4. Sally wants to get a dog. Two nouns. Sally and dog.
  5. Am I using a WH-question word? Who? What, When? Yes? Then use が
  6. Am I contrasting things? Today is nice (but yesterday it wasn’t). I’m contrasting today and yesterday. Use は (note that if you’ve been talking about the yesterday’s weather (it was so rainy, cold, and stormy yesterday!) and you want to contrast it with today’s weather, you don’t need to say “… but yesterday it wasn’t.” It’s already clear from the context.)

I hope it will help some of you. However, the context will tell you which one to use. The last example! You’re describing a conference room you’ve booked to your boss. The topic is the conference room.

As for the conference room, it is big.  会議室は大きいです。(we’ve just stated the topic)

The walls are white. (Am I stating a new topic? No. I’m giving specific information about the topic) 壁が白いです。

There is a table. テーブルがあります。

If there’s anything you want to correct, feel free to do so. I’m no expert!

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languagestudymaterials·12 days agoText

Basic information particle は

It is used to:

  • mark a topic

What does it mean? It tells us what we’re talking about. It’s like saying “Hey! Subject change. Now, we’re talking about dogs.” Or you can think of it as of a particle that shows the context of our conversation.  The most common English translation is:

as for today – 今日は きょうは

However, to make English more natural, we would say just “today.”

Today is hot – 今日はあついですね。

When can I omit the particle は and just start a sentence with a verb?

Ask yourself this one question: “Will people know who or what I’m talking about if I remove the は part?”

Context: You’re talking with your friends about food. Your friend asks you: “What did you eat yesterday?” Your friend asks you specifically. They don’t ask about Sally or John. So, we know who is the topic of the conversation. It’s YOU.

What did you eat yesterday?  きのう何食べました? 

I ate sushi.すしを食べました。

Does you speaker now who you’re talking about? YES! The question was direct at YOU, so you can’t be talking about someone else.

When can’t I omit the particle は and just start a sentence with a verb?

Your friend asks you: “Who is the person who ate sushi?” They don’t know who ate it. You need to state/mark the topic. “It was me!” I’m the topic of this conversation then.


  • putting an emphasis on the noun

It’s good to ask yourself: “What’s important information in this conversation?” You’re talking about food and the one ingredient that makes your meal delicious is chocolate. It’s important to add chocolate and not caramel. Your friend asks: “Hey what’s this thing here? It makes the whole meal delicious.” You say: “Oh, it’s chocolate” これはチョコレートです。

*Notice that the は part emphasizes what comes after it. チョコレート is important information.

One more example:

私はクタクタです。 (わたしはくたくたです。) Iʼm exhausted. / As for me, I am exhausted.

In this case, to properly identify the usage you need to know the context. The sentence alone doesn’t tell you much.

Context 1: Your friend asks: “Who is exhausted?” -> With this question you’re identifying the topic/subject. It’s like saying: “Hey! I’m exhausted!”  

Context 2: It was a hard day and you feel lots of emotions right now, but the most overwhelming one is exhaustion. You need to emphasize that. Yeah, but if I’ve been talking about myself then people would know that I’m the topic, wouldn’t they? Yes, and in this case you can omit the は part. Your friend could ask you: “How are YOU feeling?” クタクタです.

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languagestudymaterials·12 days agoText


Negative forms


ません for present tense

  • いる・える verbs à drop the るand addません。
  • Also called “ichidan verbs” 一段 – ichi means one and dan means step – you just need to take one step to conjugate a verb. Simply, you just drop the last syllable and add whatever suffix you need to create a new verb form.

例  れい examples

- 食べる -> たべる -> たべ -> たべません (to eat = don’t eat)

- 寝る -> ねる -> ね -> ねません ( to go to bed/ to sleep = don’t sleep)

- 起きる -> おきる -> おき -> おきません ( to wake up = don’t wake up)

Regular verbs

  • Change the last syllable to  い  and then add  ません
  • Also called 五段 godan verbs. There are 5 steps (ways) to conjugate a verb. Steps here refer to syllables in hiragana chart ( あ い う え  お). You can conjugate a verb so it ends in the respective vowels and create new verb forms.  (あ is for casual negative forms,  い for masu form, う for dictionary forms (casual speech)), え is for imperatives and conditionals, お is for volitional form (“let’s” form)).

例 れい examples

- 読む ->よむ ->よみ - > よみません (to read = don’t read)

- 遊ぶ ->あそぶ ->あそび -> あそびません (to hang out (with friends) / to play = don’t play)

- 泳ぐ -> およぐ- > およぎ -> およぎません (to swim = don’t swim)


する しません

くる きません


ない for present tense

  • いる・える verbs à drop the る and add ない。

例  れい examples

- 食べる -> たべる -> たべ -> たべない (to eat = don’t eat)

- 寝る -> ねる -> ね -> ねない ( to go to bed/ to sleep = don’t sleep)

- 起きる -> おきる -> おき -> おきない ( to wake up = don’t wake up)

Regular verbs

  • Change the last syllable to  あ  and then add  ない

例 れい examples

- 読む ->よむ ->よま - > よまない (to read = don’t read)

- 遊ぶ -> あそぶ -> あそば -> あそばない (to hang out (with friends) / to play = don’t play)

- 泳ぐ -> およぐ - > およが -> およがない (to swim = don’t swim)


する しない

くる こない

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languagestudymaterials·16 days agoPhoto

Defining relative clauses

Let’s start with some background information. Sometimes the key to understanding what a particular grammar bit does is just knowing what its linguistic name means

Relative means:

a thing having a relation to or connection with or necessary dependence on another thing

a member of your family (a person connected to you by blood)

In simple words, it means that one thing is connected to another. One of the things carries important information and supports the other thing.

Clause is just a short sentence.

Defining is an adjective and its verb form (to define) means:

to determine or identify the essential qualities or meaning of

It basically give us an explanation or important information about a thing.

So, defining relative clauses are short sentences that carry an important information. We need this information to understand the whole sentence and what kind of a noun we are talking about.

Why do we need this grammar?

It helps you build complex sentences, point to a particular noun and give essential information about it and give explanations to your speakers.

Defining pronouns (RP)

You already know them. They are the WH-question words:

  1. Who = refers to people only
  2. When = time (years, months, events, etc.)
  3. Where = places (Poland, your house, a restaurant)
  4. Why = reasons (because it’s cold, because I’m bored)
  5. What = tells us about the identity, nature, or value of an object or matter
  6. Whom = you’re directing your action towards someone (…to whom you’re going)
  7. That = people, objects, animals
  8. How = tells us in what manner or way you perform an action
  9. Whose = possession (a thing belongs to someone or something)

You need them to introduce the clause that will help your speaker understand which noun specifically you’re talking about. Relative pronouns connect two clauses.

Defining relative clauses

Let’s say you live in an apartment building. Four of your neighbors happen to be women only. One of them has black hair and she’s moving out. The other three are blond, red, and bald.  You want to tell me who is moving out. If you say:

One of the women living next to me is moving out.

Do I know which one is moving out? No. Why? You didn’t give me any hints about which one you’re talking about. You need to DEFINE the woman you’re talking about. Let’s make the sentence a bit more clear.

The woman who has black hair is moving out.

The woman – subject (S)

Who (RP) has black hair – defining relative clause (DRC)

Is moving out – verb (V)

Sentence pattern: S + DRC + V

Do I know which one is moving out? Yes. The one with black hair.

Another example.

You’ve read a book and the book has been adapted into a movie. You can say:

I’ve read a book and they made a movie out of it. Two sentences. Let’s make one sentence and save up some space and words.

I’ve read a book which has been adapted into a movie.

Do I know which book you’ve read? Technically, yes. You didn’t give me the title tho.

A book – object (O)

Sentence pattern: SVO + DRC

One more example.

In the 1950s and 60s the Cold War took place. It was also the time when it was at its worst.

Two sentences. They are ok. But let’s make one sentence.

The 1950s and 60s (S)were (V) the years (O) when(RP) the Cold War (S) was (V) at its worst (O).

Sentence pattern: SVO + RP + SVO

Common mistakes

# Using wrong relative pronouns. I often hear “People which are…” WHO ARE!

# Sentence pattern is off. The only way to get it right is to read and produce the language as much as you can. At some point, it will come to you naturally.

# Not using WHOSE. It can be used for people and objects equally.

# To whom vs to who. This one can be tricky. Worry not! Grammarly has you covered!

Try substituting “he” or “she” and “him” or “her.” If “he” or “she” fits, you should use who. If “him” or “her” fits, you should use whom. Keep in mind that you may have to temporarily rearrange the sentence a bit while you test it.

Who/whom ate my sandwich?

(Whom) Him/Her ate my sandwich? No… that is so wrong!

(Who) She/he ate my sandwich? Way better!

In relative clauses you can ask yourself this question:

Is someone going to be in possession of the noun I’m talking about? Does this thing belong to someone or something? If you’re talking about possession you need WHOM.

The letter should be read only by the person to whom it was addressed. (someone is going to get/possess the letter)


Active Grammar 2

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languagestudymaterials·22 days agoPhoto

I took my own advice and went online to search for articles about teaching and job offers for teachers. While I couldn’t find any decent job offers (the amount of kanji was just too overwhelming) I found some articles! It’s not exactly what I would really say, but for now it should be good.


やりがい (noun) being worth doing(rewarding)

圧倒的 ottouteki overwhelming

ryou quantity; amount;

現実 genjustsu reality

計画性と責任感のある人 = A person with a sense of planning and responsibility;

計画性 keikakusei; planning ability;

責任感 sekininkan; sense of responsibility;

話すのと同じくらい、聞くのが得意な人  People who are as good at listening as they are at talking

得意 tokui; one’s strong point

生徒の問題点・課題点を前向きにとらえられる人 People who can positively grasp the problems and issues of students

生徒 seito students;

問題点 mondaiten the problem (at issue); the point at issue; problematic issue; problem​;

課題点 = issues; (reading?)

前向き maemuki front-facing​; forward-looking;

とらえられる  to catch; to capture; to seize; to arrest; to grab;

基本的に明るい人 basically bright people

基本的に kihontekini; basically;

明るい akarui; bright

教育的な kyouikutekina; educational;

熱情 netsujou; passion;

真剣さ shinken; serious, ernest.

教育的な力量 ability/talent for teaching

力量 rikiryou; talent, ability

教材 kyouzai; teaching/learning materials;

活用 katsuyou; practical use/application;

能力 noryouku ability; 

心得る kokorueru; to know; to understand; to be aware of; to regard as; to take for​;

技術 gijutsu; technology; engineering​; technique; skill​;

つねに  always, constantly;

数多く kazuooku; many; in great numbers.

言うまでもなく obviously; as we all know; needless to say; of course; it goes without saying​;

つね日ごろ on a daily basis

さまざま various; varied; diverse; all sorts of​ (na adj)

自分自身 jibunjishin; oneself


→ それはやりがいのある仕事ですが、計画性と責任感のある人がしなければならないと思います. (To make it little milder and softer.)


→ でも、仕事の量は多過ぎて疲れるかもしれないです。

→ 基本的に明るい人の方が良いと思います。

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languagestudymaterials·a month agoPhoto

Why culture matters when you learn a language 

When my students say: “Yeah, but I can’t handle a conversation with a native,” or “I can’t pull off a good conversation with a native,” I immediately think: “you must be so Polish when you speak English.” Your English might be good (excellent even), but you say what you would typically say in Polish; things that sound natural (are even expected to be said) in Poland, but not in an English-speaking country. Let me give you an example:

Me: Hey! What’s up?

Polish student: Nothing. PERIOD. 

Now, the student gave me a clear signal they don’t want to continue the conversation. Even when I ask some follow-up questions, they give me terse responses. It sounds more like an interrogation, not an actual conversation. I get it, school conversations follow the model of interrogation; students rarely return the questions. When they are faced with a native speaker, they kind of expect them to ask questions so they can answer them (after all, that’s how you speak English, or that’s what the school taught them it is like). Some of my students studied in English schools and for various reasons their parents decided to come back to Poland. Here’s an example of a conversation with such a student:

Me: Hey! What’s up?

English-Polish student: Not much. You know, same old same old. What about you? How was your weekend? 

Me: Fine! I had some time to relax and hang out with my friends and family.

English-Polish Student: That’s great. What did you do to relax?

My Polish students are shocked, jaws are opened, and their minds are trying to process what has just happened. The English-Polish student just asked me a seemingly “personal” question. What… I mean… how could he?!

As you can see, different cultural backgrounds result in different types of conversations. 

Some facts about Polish culture:

  • Polish culture is difficult. As a post-communist country (it’s been over 30 years since Poland was declared communism-free) we want to act like the Westerners, but the mindset is still in the communist period. It’s not so easy to get rid of it. 
  • We complain a lot. Why? In communist times, only the elite (politicians, police officers, army members) were allowed to have a good and comfortable life. The rest of us was trying our best. No money, the store shelves were empty, the food was rationed; life, in general, was a struggle. So, average people, upon meeting, would start off their conversations with complaining because there was nothing else to talk about. Growing up, I heard my parents complaining all the time, so naturally, I would copy their behavior. 
  • Because of communism, we are suspicious as hell. When people ask “personal” questions we don’t want to give away too much information because, you know, someone might want to use them against us. (That was the case in the communism when people would snitch on each other to gain some favors and a taste of that comfortable life.)
  • The Catholic church also has a huge impact on how we act. The Polish Catholic church is very demanding and strict. It prohibits a lot of things and requires people to follow certain rules. 
  • We are proud people. We rarely admit that we don’t know anything. Fake it till you make it kind of attitude. 
  • I heard other nationalities call us “sly.” It’s true. We look for easy ways out. 
  • We always see “the bright side.” “It could’ve been worse”’ kind of attitude. Oh, you lost your job, but you still have a place to live? Ain’t that bad. You could’ve lost your house too, but you didn’t. 
  • There’s a social hierarchy as well. You must respect elders and address them properly. The same goes for strangers. And this is visible at schools as well. A teacher is older, smarter (seen as the ultimate source of knowledge), so by default, students owe them respect. Asking “personal” questions is seen as inappropriate (hence the model of interrogation).

Students transfer all these features to the English language. Unless the native-speaker you talk to wants to learn Polish culture, you should follow their standards. 

  • Be open 
  • Talkative 
  • Don’t give terse responses (see this post for an example)
  • There is no social hierarchy, so you don’t need to worry about addressing people with proper titles, suffixes, etc. (you still need to respect people tho!)
  • Don’t complain right off the bat (if you’re a Pole) start from positive things, fun things.

How do I have better conversations then?

This post is about Polish culture, but you can still learn from it if you’re not Polish. Analyze your own culture and think about all the “unsuccessful” conversations you had with natives and possible reasons why you “failed.” Think about how you talk with your friends, what kind of things you say, how you start a conversation, etc. in your native language. Maybe, you transfer features of your native culture into the English language. You follow the model of a conversation that’s typical for your country, not for an English-speaking country. 

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languagestudymaterials·a month agoPhoto

Catford’s translation shifts VS language learning 

I’m not going to grace your eyes with some fancy definitions of translation theories. Believe me, the fancier/smarter something sounds, the worse it is to understand. Instead, I’ll try to present a brief and easy-to-comprehend explanation and examples. 

I majored in translation, and while I thoroughly don’t enjoy it, I find some strategies and theories extremely useful in language learning. 

Check out this post to learn more about the application of translation theories in language learning. 


 First things first, what are shifts? 

to exchange for or replace by another: change (Merriam-Webster)

In translation, they refer to changes/shifts in language form. 

There two types of shifts:



Simply put, the target language doesn’t have a corresponding word but a grammatical construction. We replace grammatical constructions with words or vice versa.


Halliday states that language is realized at 4 different levels: lexis, phonology, graphology, and grammar. I’m not sure if graphology can influence a language learning process, but lexis, grammar, and phonology surely can. I mean, graphology (the way we write) can definitely slow down the whole process (looking at you Japanese! You and your kanji… ugh). Studying phonology (comparing sounds in different languages), on the other hand, can help you work on your accent (studying phonetics would be even better in this case).

To put things into perspective, let’s look at some examples:

I’m working  VS  Teraz pracuję  

Present Continuous indicates that the action is happening NOW. We don’t need to add the word now because the tense alone is enough. 

In Polish, you must add the word TERAZ (now) to show that the action is happening now. The verb alone could indicate Present Simple as well. 


My car has been repaired VS Moje auto zostało naprawione

Here, we have the Present Perfect Tense in its passive form and “zostało + adjective (naprawione),” which indicates passive voice in Polish. GRAMMAR -> LEXIS 


which consist of changes in:

  • Structure (syntax)

It refers to changes in word order. Polish is a very flexible language. We can start sentences with adjectives, verbs, nouns, or even adverbs. In English, unless we need to emphasize something, we start sentences with nouns.  

  • Class (parts of speech) 

Adjectives change to verbs, or nouns to verbs, etc.

I’m thirsty (adjective) VS Chcę (verb) mi się pić (verb)

I want (verb) a dog VS Inu ga hoshi (adjective)

  • Unit (sentences, clauses, phrases, words, morphemes)

Some languages are wordy (Polish is) and some are rather concise and flexible when it comes to word-formation. Japanese is a perfect example here. 

Ikigai (single word) VS a reason for being (phrase)

Mono no aware(phrase) VS a whole description because we can’t even put the meaning into one sentence

Nii-chan (word) VS older brother (phrase)

  • Intra-system changes 

It refers to grammatical constructions that are present in both languages but are used differently. In Japanese, plural nouns are technically non-existent. The context will tell you if we talk about one thing or many things. However, we can create plural nouns when we talk about animate objects. The concept of plural nouns does exist but is used differently in Japanese and English. 

Bonnie –tachi VS Bonnie and friends/and others

In Japanese, we used a suffix indicating that there is more than one person, but in English, we used an extra plural word to show it. 

So, how this knowledge can help you?

  • It will help you ask better questions in class.
  • Understanding how your native language works will speed up your learning process tremendously.
  • If comparing languages is your favorite language learning method, Catford’s translation shifts can give an idea where to start and what to notice.
  • If you’re a teacher, it can help you explain some grammatical phenomena.
  • If you help others learn your native language, you’ll be able to explain grammatical issues, or at least give examples.
  • You’ll speed up your translation abilities.



Halliday, M.A.K. 1961. Categories of the theory of grammar.

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languagestudymaterials·a month agoPhoto

Work duties

How to talk about work duties?

The number one problem is “where do I get all the words I need to talk about my work from?”

At school or from textbooks you learn some basic words, generic terms that apply to the most common professions (doctors, shopkeepers, secretaries, etc.), but we all work in different fields and textbooks cannot cover every profession there is. So, where can you find terminology that will help you talk about your work and duties? Job hunting websites! Yes! Go to or whatever  job searching website you like, type in the name of your profession, and go through as many offers as you need to find the phrases that best describe your duties. Job hunting websites not only provide sufficient post descriptions but also qualifications required and matters linked to insurance, social benefits, contract issues and more.

Tip #1 Stop using Google Translate for that. The problem is that you type in colloquial phrases that Google might not know, or phrases that are specific to your culture, but not to the culture of English speaking countries. Remember, working culture differs from country to country. Medicine seems to be the same everywhere, but the way doctors around the world go about some issues differs (technological advancements, insurance issues, law requirements affect the decision making processes and nomenclature)

I’m an English tutor. Here are some phrases that I find useful (It’s only a small portion, I went through at least 10 job offers)

  • efficient content delivery method;
  • need to submit timesheet after each class;
  • documents teaching and student progress/activities/outcomes;
  • assesses and provide feedback to teaching staff regarding student progress and achievement towards parents’ expectations;
  • continues to acquire professional knowledge and learn of current developments in the educational field by attending seminars, workshops or professional meetings, or by conducting research;
  • presenting lessons in a comprehensive manner and using technology to facilitate learning;
  • the ability and patience to work interactively with children;
  • strong time management, communication, and interpersonal skills;
  • the ability to understand the individual needs of each student;
  • clear understanding of goal setting for students;
  • the ability to communicate with all levels of students, parents, the administrative staff, and Campus Directors.

So, now that I have something to work with I can start preparing my own job description.

I’m going to use Present Simple for that because my duties are repetitive. I do them every day (more or less). They are not temporary activities. Do you remember this post and the colors I used? I won’t be coloring anything here. Your  task is to determine:

  • filler phrases,
  • extra information,
  • and what students usually say. Good Luck!

I work as an English tutor; an ESL tutor to be precise. It’s a rewarding job, but very demanding and time-consuming. Do I like it? I do, but the amount of work I have to put in can be sometimes overwhelming, let alone the time spent on preparing learning materials. So, as a teacher, my delivery methods must be efficient, you know, presenting lessons in a comprehensive manner and using technology to facilitate learning. I need to have strong time management, communication, and interpersonal skills as well as patience! Yeah, working with children can get on your nerves. The ability to communicate with all levels of students, parents, the administrative staff, and School Directors is also a necessary skill. Human interactions can be hard. What else, I must be very observant to understand the individual needs of each student and help them achieve their goals, support their desires and passions. I work in a small private institution so there is no need to submit timesheet after each class, but documenting teaching and students’ progress/activities/outcomes is required. You know, it helps to keep a better track of how things flow. Apart from that, it’s good to continue to acquire professional knowledge and learn of current developments in the educational field, you know, attending seminars, workshops or professional meetings, or by conducting research. It’s not a flat field. I need to stay updated.

Do you see what I did there? I basically copy + pasted some phrases. It’s that simple!
Note* The vocabulary I used is rather formal, but that’s what you get in job offer ads.

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languagestudymaterials·a month agoPhoto

Meet PiJune!

She’s a Japanese native speaker who loves languages. We’ve been friends for over a year now and her support in my Japanese learning process has been immense since day one! THNAK YOU! Here’s a message from her:

はじめまして!ポーランド語が話せないのに、カタコトで異文化交流を始めちゃったバーチャルキャラクターのぴじゅんです♪カタコトのポーランド語で音声を録音し、動画を作り始めてから早4カ月!新しい言語を学ぶことで、新しい出会いがあり、文化を知り、言語以外にもたくさんのことを学ぶことができたよ。 新しい言語を学ぶのはとても新鮮で刺激的!新しい国を発見した冒険家のような気分で毎日語学勉強を楽しんでいます♡



Don’t forget to check out her YouTube channel. She’s documenting her Polish language learning process. She speaks Polish, English, and Japanese in her videos. You can learn a lot of casual/formal Japanese, some Polish, and practice your English listening skills on her channel. I really recommend listening for Japanese filler phrases, you know, those litte words that make you sound more natural in your target language!

More such texts here and here
Go to DeviantArt for HQ handouts!

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languagestudymaterials·2 months agoPhoto

How writing can help you learn your target language? 

Writing is the least favorite activity because it’s a silent activity that requires you to think harder than usual. It is often associated with formal style, you know, fancy words, smart arguments, important topics, logical connections, etc. It’s hard. You need a lot of time to produce something meaningful. At school though, you get only 50 minutes to do it. I’m not surprised students don’t like writing. Every time they submit a text, they say: “I don’t know, it sounds stupid to me” or “I don’t think it makes much sense.” I get it. They say that to not come off as “stupid” because they couldn’t write anything meaningful. 

Where’s the problem then?

 1. Teachers rarely state the reasons for writing 

Tip #1 I hate doing things if I don’t know why I’m doing them in the first place. Students believe that they do all the school assignments because, you know, that’s just school. Why not show them how they can apply skills learned while doing those dull school assignments in real life. Why not tell them that they’re writing this particular essay because they’ll need that skill as an adult and different types of essays will help them make better life choices. Let me show you what I mean: 

Book review 

  • You’re stating your opinion; 
  • You talk about the strong and weak points of the thing you’re reviewing; 
  • You’re introducing the thing to your audience. 

In real life, someone asks you (your boss): “What do you think about this deal? Will we benefit from it?” What your boss really asks you is: “Can you review this for me?” At work, you can do it a form of a PowerPoint presentation or just casual talk. Useful? Extremely! 

For and against essay

  • You introduce the topic;
  • You give some arguments for and against (why this thing is bad and why it is good);
  • You state your opinion.

In real life, such a skill might come in handy when you have some doubts about something. An issue you’re dealing with is controversial, but you need to make a decision anyway. Let’s say that your company has been presented with an opportunity to make a lot of money, but the stakes are high. You need to consider it carefully. What do you do? You come up with a “for and against essay” kind of thing. First, you do a bit of research about the topic (introduction), then you look for people’s opinions, good opinions (arguments for), and bad opinions (arguments against). Finally, based on those opinions, you try to make the best decision possible. Useful? YES!

Comparative essay 

  • You introduce the topic;
  • You focus on the thing that you want to compare;
  • You state your opinion.

You want to buy a new car, or your friend asks you to help them decide which car they should buy. What do you do? You compare two cars. In real life, you don’t start off with an introduction (especially when you talk with friends), you go straight into the body part of an essay. The core part of an essay that contains the most valuable information. You choose features (of the cars you consider buying) that interest you the most and you compare them. 

Tip #2 Writing such essays will help you express yourself more logically, whether it’s at work or among friends. To master it, you need to practice as much as you can. School is the time when you can do it without worrying about the grave and dire consequences. At school, you get second chances, in life rarely, if ever. 

Target language + writing = success 

This rant is getting long, but bear with me! 

When you study on your own, you don’t have to worry about all the things you worry about at school. You’re writing for yourself, so your essays can be messy. You can make mistakes and spend days on producing a piece of writing. The goal here is to practice expressing yourself. Writing gives you time to come up with ideas, words, phrases, and grammatical contractions. It’s just you and the sheet of paper. No one is going to judge you or grade you. It’s stress-free and you can write whatever you want.

Tip #3 Remember that essays follow particular structures for a reason. The commonly accepted structures help you sound less chaotic and more organized. 

Tip #4 When you’re told to write something, don’t think: “I’ll never need it anyway, why bother at all.” Instead, think: “Hey, this will help me present my viewpoints when someone asks me to compare two things or state my opinion on a controversial matter.” 

Tip #5 The way you think affects your performance and attitude. Find reasons and keep them in mind while writing. 

So yeah, writing might be boring, but it is extremely helpful. I wish schools had a rule where teachers must draw analogies between school assignments and real life. 

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languagestudymaterials·2 months agoPhoto


いい質問だと思います。最近、本当の理由はわかりませんが, 勉強を楽しんでいます!日本の大学に留学したかったので、日本語を学び始めました。日本には良い大学があると思うので、たくさん学べると思いました。でも、私の国の教育制度は日本とは異なります。だから申し込めませんでした。とても残念でしたね。それは3年ぐらい前でした。 奨学金に応募していたときに、日本語を6月間ぐらい勉強していました。勉強は順調に進んでいたので、 続けることにしました。いいことでした!日本語と日本の文化は本当に興味深いです。

日本で留学生になりたいかわかりませんが、 一度行ってみたいです。日本の建築に興味があるし、アジアの建築は西洋のとは本当に違うので、興味をそそります。神社とかお寺の建築が好きです。神社に住むことができます。日本に行ったら、すべての神社仏閣に行きたいです。京都は神社仏閣の町ですね。芸者もいます。私の国で和食は人気がありません。日本食レストランはありますが、値段が高すぎます。だから、日本の料理をまだ食べたことがありません。それは悪いことじゃないと思います。日本人は私の国の和食が好きじゃないです。例えば、ラーメンはまずいと言いました。



申し込む  - moshikomu - to apply for; to make an application; (and many more)

応募  - oubo - application; subscription; (suru verb)

教育制度 - Kiyouikuseido - educational system; school system​

建築 - kenraku - construction; architecture (of buildings); (suru verb);

西洋 - seiyou - the West; the Occident; Western countries;

神社仏閣 - jinjabutsukaku - (Shinto) shrines and (Buddhist) temples;

芸者 - geisha;

奨学金 - shougakukin - scholarship;

出願 - shutsugan - apllication; (suru verb);

順調 - jyunchou - favourable; favorable; doing well; OK; all right; (na-adjective);

できる限り- dekirukagiri - as much as you can;

あきらめず  - without giving up (grammar)

値段  - nedan - price

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languagestudymaterials·2 months agoPhoto



This week’s word is 居留守 (いるす “irusu”). This word, which doesn’t have any English equivalents, means “pretending that nobody’s at home”. This expression is composed of the kanji of 居 (“iru”, meaning “being”, “residence”) and 留守 (“rusu”, meaning “absence”, “being away from home”).And you, have you ever pretended to not be home when someone rang the doorbell?

Typing this for myself don’t mind me :)

It means to pretend that you’re not there even though you actually are.

eg. 彼が訪ねて来たが、会いたくなかったので居留守を使った.

He came to visit me, but I pretended that I was not there because I didn’t wanna see him.

居留守 means 居るのに留守のふりをする (you pretend you’re absent from your home.)


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