Thanks to years of mind-bending grammar study, many Japanese students of English have pretty good grammar knowledge. Well, perhaps that’s not quite correct. Perhaps I should say that many Japanese students of English can only understand things if you explain it to them in (Japanese) grammatical terms (“Verb + noun” etc).

One thing I often find myself saying when teaching is something along the lines of, “Whilst it may not be grammatically correct, we do use it in this way”. That is, we often break the ‘rules’.

It’s only since I’ve started editing interviews for our podcasts thought that I’ve started to appreciate just how much we break the rules. Like, all the time. The random jumbles of words, half-formed sentences, interjections of erms and ahs – they’re all over the place – yet if you’re not listening out for them the people I’m interviewing sound perfectly natural and are totally understandable.

For the podcast I do try and clean them up a bit. Take the above picture – this is a 15-minute ish interview from earlier this year – every one of those little ‘bubbles’ of audio in the top section is the result of an erm or an ah being cut out of each side of them. Yet when I recorded the interview, I didn’t notice them all that much.

Having said that, these days I do notice them as I know just how much more work it’s going to be when I get around to editing the audio. Mind you, I quite enjoy that. It’s satisfying, and not all that time consuming now I’m practiced at it.

Ho hum.

2 Responses

  1. uhm… er….. nice blog! haha its true, when i was training to become a tour guide, that was one of the most difficult thing to avoid when speaking (next is to limit hand gestures). and you get even more tense thinking of not saying it! erm…

  2. Tour guide, it that in Japan?
    Did you do the Japanese certified tests for that, I hear is really difficult…