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October 24, 2005

The English Sandwich Problem

Mike Guest has a problem with what he calls the "English Sandwich." In his latest Indirectly Speaking column in the Daily Yomiuri, Guest looks at the problem that his students have with interactional language, as they tend to "sandwich" their speeches and presentations with a Japanese opening and closing and are often met with reactions from classmates that are also in Japanese. He blames the English teaching system that places almost exclusive "emphasis upon transactional language," that is, the basic information one is trying to convey. He adds that, while textbooks have evolved to include more actual spoken language based on corpus research, teachers are often loath to use such material "in favor of the more quantifiable transactional content even though interactional language is precisely that which separates mere sentences from actual discourse."
The problem of the talking sandwich (link will expire)
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