Write to Do the Right Thing

I create things and write about them here as well as other stuff. Views are always mine.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ When English learners in Japan learn English grammar, relative clauses will be one of the things that annoy them. However, when you start out speaking in English, you will find how convenients they are, especially when you need to put additional information to a noun and when you are looking for a word. Now, I love relative pronouns as much asScarlett Johansson, and then sometimes I use them too often. Recently, I wrote a sentence like this:
I will have a final interview with a language school near Shibuya which is looking for a teacher who can teach students who want to be English teachers for small kids.
Oh, my God! I'm using three relative pronouns in one sentence! My friend said, "I would have written it! Very native of you!," though. Anyway, I recommend that any English learner learn to use relative clauses. Some people say "You don't need relative pronouns. Native speakers don't use them." I've heard from even ESL teachers. Maybe they are saying this in order to avoid freaking out their students. But, I dare to say this is not true. Even conversation among teennagers, which is characterized by rising-up intonation (seems universal phenomenon) and a lot of "like" (this one, too), contains lots of relative pronouns.
Today I went to a party, which wasn't good. I like a girl who doesn't cheat on me.
These are just examples. But, if you try to listen to their conversation, they will often say, "which," to describe a noun they've just mentioned. By the way, I need to add some to the usage of relative pronouns. I've heard some native speakers use "which" for people. But, it isn't the right usage. If you are native speakers thinking about teaching English to Japanese people, you can't use "which" for people. Also, in the US, some English teachers insist that you have to use "that" for restrictive clauses and ", which" for nonrestrictive clauses. In the UK, this rule isn't used. I don't think ESL learners should try to make a distinction between "that" and "which." However, I have to admit Americans have a tendency to prefer "that" except for the explanatory usage of ", which, " even in conversation. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 前回は,英会話ができるようになるならば,とりあえず,英文を自分でいろいろ作る訓練をするべきだ,という話をしました.この作業をすると,英文法を勉強することの意味がわかり,前はいやだった文法の勉強が楽しくなってきます. 今日は,英文法の中でも悪名高い関係代名詞についての話をします.ぼく自身,自分が中学・高校のときは関係代名詞がいやでいやでしょうがありませんでした.使うことを意識しないと,文法の勉強は楽しくないし,頭に入ってこないのです.しかし,実際,英語を話すようになってみるとこれほど便利なものはありません.いまは,スカーレット・ヨハンソンと関係代名詞とどっちが好きか訊かれたら,困ってしまうほどです(笑).
I gave him a glass of water, which he drank at once.「彼に水を出したら,すぐに飲んだ」
I don't like a girl who cheats on me.「浮気をするような女は好きじゃない」
のように,ある名詞に自分なりの定義を与えるとき,関係代名詞は本当に便利です.だから,英語で自分を表現するには関係代名詞のマスターは不可欠です.よく,実際の会話では関係代名詞はあまり使われないとかいう人がいますが,それは嘘です.アメリカ人の高校生でも,"like(日本語の「てゆーか」に近い)"と同じように,関係代名詞を使います.「・・・なん(だったんだけど),それで(が)ね」というような感じで", which (is)"をよく使うのを耳にします. ここからはかなり高度な内容なので,自信のない人は覚えなくてもいいですが,よーくネイティヴの英語を聞いていると,あんまり教養の高くない人は関係代名詞の which を人をあらわす名詞に使う人がいます.これは間違いです. that は人にも物にも仕えますが, which はだめです.who を使わなければいけません. もうひとつは,アメリカ人の国語の先生の中でうるさい人は which と that を使い分けるように云います.イギリス人はこんな使い分けはしませんが,制限用法のときにthat,非制限用法(カンマが関係代名詞の前にあるとき)は, which を使うというのです.日本人はこのルールに従う必要はありませんが,会話・文章を問わず,アメリカ人は関係代名詞の that が大好きなのです. (後記註・もしかすると、「イギリス人はこんな使い分けはしません」は多少乱暴な言い方だったかもしれません。制限・非制限の区別はともかくイギリス人も日本人に較べれば関係代名詞の that を使うように乏しい経験ながら感じています)