Modern English モダンイングリッシュ 英会話 て何？That’s a good question!
A few weeks ago while conducting a trial lesson at Smiths School of English in Fuse I asked my prospective student about her goals and aspirations in studying English, as I sometimes do.
Her reply was that she wanted to study Modern English Conversation. I must say that I was surprised and also curious as to what she meant by “Modern English” conversation so I pressed further by asking, what do you mean by Modern English? (英会話 モダンイングリッシュ)
She replied that it had been many years since she had studied English in public school and although she could hold a conversation reasonably well, she felt that her English was outdated and not in line with the Modern English conversations she heard in movies and news programs.
She continued that her idea of Modern English would include… many of the reduced forms, slang expressions and newer collocations that she had never studied in school but wanted to learn how to use naturally. This was her definition of Modern English. Interesting…. I decided to research this concept of Modern English a little further and a few days later I got on the Internet and began my search. (英会話 モダンイングリッシュ)
The findings were quite interesting; I learned a lot about the history of English. It turns out that English has gone through several phases, some dramatic, throughout history. If you are interested in learning about the path to Modern English, check out the link below. You can read about Old English, Middle English and Modern English. It turns out that the phrase Modern English actually refers to a form of English which has been around since about 1500!
http://grammar.about.com/od/mo/g/modengterm.htm (英会話 モダンイングリッシュ)
As I continued to look for a definition of Modern English I came to find that there are even several books focused on very particular aspects of Modern English: even a dictionary dedicated to the usage of Modern English:
I also found an interesting paper written about the details of the changes which occurred along the path to Modern English. http://www.indiana.edu/~reading/phonics/u2/whistory.pdf
Interested in knowing more about the period during which Shakespeare and the King James Version of the Bible appeared? Check this out! It even includes some old examples contrasted with now! I learned here that there is actually a further distinction between Early Modern English and Modern English. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_Modern_English
In regards to Modern English idioms I thought it was quite fascinating to learn that actually many of the idioms which we currently use in Modern English actually originated from Hebrew idioms. http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/Bible/Hebrew-Idioms-Welcomed-Into-Modern-English.aspx
If you want to impress, or confuse, your friends with some Old English vocabulary, take a look at this list which contrasts the vocabulary words in Modern English with Old English vocabulary.
Or you can also use this fascinating Early Modern English database which allows to input a word, restrict the dates, and see what the word looked like during that time in history, or in some cases, whether it even existed yet! Lexicons of Early Modern English until 1702
So, after having done all this research on what constitutes Modern English, I decided to set off just focusing on what I consider Modern English conversation and hopefully eliminating any wayward “thees”, “thous”, or “thine.” Although I doubt such words will appear, it would be quite funny! (英会話 モダンイングリッシュ)
One method I have written about before in helping our students feel like they are speaking more Modern English is that of explicitly teaching some of the contractions, collocations and reduced forms which are common in Modern English conversation. (英会話 モダンイングリッシュ)
Alessandro “Alex” Stanciu
Smith’s School of English Fuse
月謝制 の スミス 英会話 布施 校
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