Tall tales to tempt learners

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Can anime animate Japanese language learners?

The Japanese government is getting into the anime business, with the publication of a new book featuring a Japanese schoolgirl, a swordsman and a warrior princess on the front cover.

Though the plotline fits neatly into the isegai genre, where a modern-day human is transported to an alien world, the title, which translates as ‘English Fundamentals 2’, is rather less romantic.

The tale is the latest printed partwork which accompanies the ‘English Fundamentals’ radio series, a course for English language learners produced by NHK, Japan’s public service broadcaster, which also publishes the books.

The print story, which features a second-year junior high school girl, a dragon and a magic kingdom, is designed to cover the vocabulary and grammar introduced in upcoming episodes, which deal with the function of talking about yourself.

Among the phrases students learn are “A dragon captured Princess Jonquil of Blossom Kingdom” and “Japan? I don’t know that Kingdom,” which are designed to delight the otaku, as mega-Manga fans are called, and lure them into learning English.

Image courtesy of NHK
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Matt Salusbury
MATT SALUSBURY, news editor and journalist, has worked for EL Gazette since 2007. He is also joint Chair of the London Freelance Branch of the National Union of Journalists and co-edits its newsletter, the Freelance. He taught English language for 15 years in the Netherlands, in Turkey, in a North London further education college and now as an English for Academic Purposes tutor, most recently at the London School of Economics. He is a native English speaker and is also fluent in Dutch.