The 世界の英語 class is a required subject for students in the Department of International English (国際英語学科). Students usually take this class in their second year of study at HJU. The English language is really important all over the world (perhaps there are 1.5 billion speakers or more) but it is used in so many different ways. It is clearly essential, therefore, for students in the Department of International English to have an understanding of the wonderful variety of English in the world.
The 世界の英語 class in action
Students start by learning about how the English language changed from being a small language spoken in Britain to a powerful language that is used all around the world. They discover how modern day English has been influenced by many different languages over time. For example, beef comes from French, sky from the Viking people, Santa Claus from Dutch, piano from Italian, avocado from one of the Native American languages, and sushi and manga from Japanese.
Examples of Japanese words used in English at a food counter in a London railway station (above) and at a bookstore in Bath, England (below)
Then we move on to looking at native-speaker varieties of American, British and Australian English. Students are often surprised to learn about the differences in vocabulary, pronunciation, spelling and even grammar. We also study about how some young people in America speak differently from older people ("the movie was sick" rather than "the movie was great"), and how some African Americans may use a different style of English from General American English.
Finally, we also look at the English language here in Japan. We think about issues connected to improving English language ability in Japan and look into the fascinating subject of Wasei Eigo (made-in-Japan English). Students learn that カンニング is not cunning in English, nor is コンセント consent. They are actually cheating and socket. The English language is affecting the Japanese language and Japan in general, but it is also having effects all over the globe. That is why this class is so important for students in our department.
Some good reference books about English around the world
This course is really important in order to understand a little more about the amazing variety of English in the world. I think you will enjoy the class, too. Why do I think so? Well, because you will learn many new and surprising things about English from the slides that I have prepared. And the class is not just about information passing from me to you. There are activities and exercises to do that will make you think, you will your share ideas with your classmates, and by the end of the course, you will look at the English language in a different way. What's more, your English skills will, of course, also get better during the course!