2017年03月15日

TOEICの満点(990点)の英語力は、どんなレベル? ネイティブ並み? それとも?


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           写真はクリックすると拡大します。
早春の 雨に打たれて 梅の花


 昨日の記事にも書いたように、TOEIC の満点は990点です。最高点です。そして、日本でもっとも有名なテストの1つである TOEIC で満点ということは、「その英語力はネイティブ並みでは?」と思っている人も多いかもしれませんね。


TOEICが求める英語力

 英語のテストを作るとき、「そのテストではどのレベルの英語力を測定するか」ということは、当然、大きな課題ですね。
 TOEICでは、「国際的な業務を支障なく遂行できる英語学習の完成レベルが測定できれば、それ以上の英語力はOJT(on-the-job training)に任せる」という発想でした。

 そして、そのレベルは、下に示した FSI スケールではレベル2+ないしはレベル3で大丈夫だろうということでした。これに、TOEIC の評価ガイドラインの A〜E を当てはめて見ると、ずいぶん下のほうになってしまうんですね。

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 FSIというのは、アメリカの国務省所属の国際研究機関である Foreign Service Institute のことです。この国際研究機関は、また、外交官養成所として、アメリカ人外交官の卵に世界中のいろいろな言語を集中研修で教えていることでも有名です。

 この評価基準である FSI スケール世界中で採用されています。

 つまり、TOEIC では、ことさら高度な英語能力を測定しようとはしていないというわけなのです。
 ですから、もしあなたがTOEICスコア600点から700点あたりを推移していて、990点の満点を持っている人が現れたとしても、そんなに恐れるにはあたらないということです。


 上のFSIスケールでは、0〜511段階のレベルの定義の簡素版が出ていますが、下の本では、詳しい定義を掲載しています。

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 この本に掲載されている FSI スケールの定義は、私がある機関誌の編集をしていたときに ETSTOEIC を開発しているところ)から支給され、TOEIC を考案された三枝幸夫教授と私とで日本語に翻訳したものです。
 ですから、この定義を掲載している書籍や書類は、この本以外にはないと思います。

 ぜひ買って読んでみてください。 990円ではなく、99円ですよ。
posted by 赤井田拓弥 at 09:41| Comment(0) | 英語で英文法

2017年03月14日

graduate from college、be graduated from college、あるいは graduate college のどれが正しい?


 Voice of America の Everyday Grammar という番組を聞きましょう。やさしい、ゆっくりとした英語です。

 きょうは、graduate を使った表現の変遷についてです。

 スクリプトを下に示します。下のシークバーをクリックすると音声が流れます。7分04秒あります。





For VOA Learning English, this is Everyday Grammar.

This week’s Everyday Grammar is by a guest author, David Sullivan. He is Assistant Managing Editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Vice President of the American Copy Editors Society.

 Part of the reason that English has grown as a world language is that it adjusts easily to change. Unlike some other languages, there is no "official" English that must be used generation after generation, and there never has been.

 However, this means that what one was taught as a child in school may be out of fashion a couple of decades later. Slang is meant to come and go, but when common phrases change, it can make speakers feel "wrong" because they were taught that something else is "right."

 One example of this is a term linked to school itself. Today, it is common for people to say that they "graduated high school" or college. The word "graduated" has two common meanings. One is to mark off a series. The easiest way to think of this is to go back to high school chemistry class and remember the tubes used for experiments. They are called "graduated cylinders" because they have lines to show how much liquid to add: 10 milliliters, 20 mL, and so on. The lines make up a series.

 The other meaning is closely related. As you move through school, you cross off a series of achievements: grade school, middle school, high school, and college. So, in a way, school itself is "graduated."

 So, when people used to speak of getting a diploma, they said they "graduated from college." "To graduate college" would have meant, literally, to mark it off by year – freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior. Similarly, "to graduate to college" would have meant to complete high school and move up to the next level. The use of the preposition was important.

 But as happens often in English, when people understand your meaning, smaller words, verb forms, and other parts of speech can disappear. "I graduated college today" is easy to say. Sometimes written language reflects the spoken one, sometimes it does not. In this case, usage has moved rapidly toward "graduated college" as acceptable, if not correct.

 This may upset people who were taught that you had to use "from" to be correct. But this is not the first time this phrase has been simplified. It used to be that you said, "I was graduated from college," instead of, "I graduated from college." The change may reflect how we think about the student and the university. Before, the emphasis was on the college: It graduated you. Now, the emphasis is on the student: I graduated.

 A search in Google's NGram Viewer shows a sharp fall in the number of times people used "was graduated from" between 1920 and 2000. The phrase "graduate college" increased from 1930 to 2000.

 You can’t predict what English will keep and what it will lose. Who could imagine that we would still say we "dial" a phone number when we now push buttons on our cell? Yet we know what it means. And, of course, "dial," like "text," at one time was only a noun, not a verb. You looked at a sundial or the dial of a compass.

 People complain that English uses too many odd spellings, like "through" or "doughnut." Many want to change them to simpler spellings. When it comes to speaking, though, modern English speakers get to the point quickly. The question is, why are we complaining?

I’m Pete Musto.
And I'm Jill Robbins.

_________________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

generation – n. a group of individuals born and living about the same time.

slang - n. words that are not considered part of the standard vocabulary of a language and that are used very informally in speech

graduate - v. to earn a degree or diploma from a school, college, or university

graduated - adj.. marked with lines for measuring

cylinder - n. a shape that has straight sides and two circular ends

emphasis - n. special importance or attention given to something

complain - v. to say or write that you do not like something


Now it’s your turn. Do people complain about changes in your native language? Have you noticed other changes in the way English is used? Let us know in the comments section.


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posted by 赤井田拓弥 at 12:47| Comment(0) | 英語で英文法

TOEIC の満点は、なぜ1000点ではなく990点?


 TOEIC には、リスニングセクションに100問、リーディングセクションに100問の、計200問ありますね。そして、スコアは点刻みです。348点というような1点刻みのスコアはありません。

 200問で5点刻みですから、1問あたり5点ということになります。200×5=1000で、満点は1000点ではないかという感じですが、990点ですね。

 なぜでしょうか。

 昔「2000年問題」というのがありました。西暦(グレゴリオ暦)2000年になるとコンピュータが誤作動する可能性があるとされた問題ですね。

 その原因は、プログラムの日付を扱うとき、西暦の4桁のうちの上位2桁を無視して、下2桁だけを処理対象にしたことにありました。

 1960年代や70年代に作られたプログラムならまだしも、あと20年もしないうちに2000年がやってくるという80年代になってから作られたプログラムにも、下2桁だけで処理しようとするものが数多くあったのでした。

 「2000年がやってくるのは分かっているだろうに」と思いましたが、コンピューターのプログラムというのは、2桁を処理するのと4桁を処理するのとでは、負荷が大きく違ってくるのだそうです。それで、分かっていながら下2桁だけを使ったというわけです。

 TOEIC の満点990点にもこれが影響しています。

 TOEIC を開発していたのは1970年代です。上で述べたように、コンピューターの処理能力はまだまだ低く、満点を1000点にしてしまうと、それだけ高度なプログラムを構築する必要が生じることになります。

 滅多に出ない満点(1000点)のために(当時は、満点はほとんど出ないだろうと思われていました)、4桁を計算するプログラム作りに苦労するくらいなら、満点を495+495にし、トータルスコアを3桁のままの990点にしておくほうが現実的だったというわけです。

 割と単純な理由からだったのですね。

 TOEICのスコアに関する情報は、この本に詳しく出ています。990円ではなく、99円ですよ。

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posted by 赤井田拓弥 at 10:16| Comment(0) | 英語で英文法

2017年03月13日

消えゆく3つの文法

 Voice of America の Everyday Grammar という番組を聞きましょう。やさしい、ゆっくりとした英語です。

 きょうは「Three Grammar Rules That Are Dying
」 というタイトルです。

 スクリプトを下に示します。下のシークバーをクリックすると音声が流れます。6分50秒あります。

 また、いろいろな文法用語を英語で覚えることもできます。文法用語は、辞書で調べて、日本語での用語と併せて覚えておきましょう。
  また、英語で英文法を学ぶと、意外と日本語で学習するよりも理解しやすいことが分かるのではないでしょうか。
 右に見える『会話に活かす英文法を英語で学ぶ本』も、どうぞご活用ください。

 音声が低いなと感じたら、左のスピーカーマークの「」で調整してください。




 For VOA Learning English, this is Everyday Grammar.

 Today we have good news for English learners.

 Just as words come and go in English, so do grammar rules. Today we will show you three difficult grammar rules that are disappearing from American English.


Don’t end a sentence with a preposition

 When I was in school, my English teacher told me that it is wrong to end a sentence with a preposition. For example, “Who are you talking to?” The last word of the sentence, to, is a preposition. In traditional grammar, you would have to move the preposition before the subject.

“To whom are you talking?”


 The rule applies to statements as well as questions.

 “I know where you’re from,” would be, “I know from where you come.” Today, it sounds very old--fashioned to speak this way.

 The rule against ending a sentence with a preposition goes back to the 18th century, when it was fashionable to borrow grammar rules from Latin. British grammarians celebrated Latin as a pure and logical language. They thought they could improve English by importing Latin grammar rules.

 One of the Latin rules that survives in English is the ban on ending a sentence with a preposition. But some of the most common phrases in everyday English ignore the rule.

  Who are you talking to?
  I don’t know what you’re talking about.
  Who are you waiting for?

 Did you notice how all of these sentences end in prepositions? If you followed the Latin grammar rule, they would sound like this:

  To whom are you talking?
  I don’t know about what you are talking.
  For whom are you waiting?


 As you might hear, these sentences sound overly formal, even a bit snobbish. The word order, borrowed from Latin, does not feel natural in English.

 Fortunately, the prohibition against ending a sentence with a preposition is disappearing. A large number of writers and editors say it is acceptable to end a sentence with a preposition. The Economist, a 150--year-old British news magazine, called the rule “an invented bit of silliness rightly ignored by many excellent publications.”


Whom

 Another rule that is disappearing is the requirement of using whom when referring to an object pronoun.

 Whom is the object form of who. Grammatically speaking, whom has the same function as other object pronouns, such as me, him, her, and them. For example, “There’s the man about whom I was speaking.”

 If you put a preposition before whom, you can easily avoid ending a sentence with a preposition. For example, “Who did you go with?” becomes very the formal “With whom did you go?”

 Does all this sound unnecessary and confusing? It is.

 Fortunately, whom is rarely used in spoken American English today. More and more publications have stopped using it. In fact, whom has been dying for the past 200 years.

 But it still has a place in formal writing. And test makers often make questions with whom to confuse students. A few pronouns have died completely, including ye, thee, thy, and thine. They do, however, still appear in religious texts and classic literature.


The singular their, they, them

 A third dying rule involves third-person pronouns. English does not have a single word to say both he and she. In other words, there is no gender-neutral singular third--person pronoun. So what do you say when you do not know if someone is male or female?
 
 In the past, people used the male pronoun he to refer to all people. “Every student has his own opinion.” In later years, his or her came into use. “Everybody has his or her own opinion.” The change from his to his or her reflected the power of the women’s movement in the 1970s.

 But many speakers found that his or her sounded a little strange, especially in conversation.

 Today more people say, “Every student has their own opinion.” This example uses the plural their with the singular student. Their means the subject could be male or female. But it breaks a very old and very basic grammar rule: pronouns and their antecedents are supposed to agree in number.

 But when you say, “Every student has their own opinion,” the singular student does not match the plural their. So is it wrong to say, “Every student has their own opinion”? Well, it depends on who (or whom!) you ask.

 More and more mainstream media organizations are allowing they, them, and their as a gender--neutral pronoun. But disagreement remains. Like fashion and etiquette, grammar changes over time.

 ​Why not invent a gender--neutral pronoun for English? After all, languages like Swedish and Indonesian have one. Plenty of people have tried. However, more than 100 attempts to create a gender- -neutral pronoun in English have failed.

I’m Jill Robbins.
And I'm John Russell.

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posted by 赤井田拓弥 at 18:35| Comment(0) | 英語で英文法

by のつかない受身形の行為主は、誰?



 英語の受身形の文は、<主語+be動詞+過去分詞+by+行為主>だと学習しますね。

  His son broke the window.
     ↓
  The window was broken by his son.


のように、by のあとに行為主を続けますね。ですが、下の文のように <be動詞+過去分詞+with>など、by ではない前置詞が続くと習う文もあったりします。

  The streets were covered with snow this morning.

 ですが、この with snowsnow は行為主ではありませんね。with は 「材料・成分」 を表す前置詞です。

 by ... が省略されている受身形でも、実際には下の文のように行為主があることは多いわけですよね。by ... は省略されますが、people living there が行為主であることははっきりしています。

  English is spoken in Canada (by people living there).

 しかし、上の The streets were covered .... の文では、行為主ははっきりしませんね。誰なのでしょう?

 このほかにも、I’m tired. とか I was born in 1990. など、人生の節目を表す表現や心情を表す表現などでは、by ... のない受動態が使われます。

 こうした文の「tired born は形容詞だ」という意見もありますが、もともとは過去分詞ですね。

 さて、こういった文の行為主を God(神)だと考えてみたらどうでしょうか。生まれることや結婚のこと、また心の状態などはすべて神のなせる業だと考えると得心が行きます。

  The streets were covered with snow this morning by God.
  I was born in 1990 by God.
  I'll be pleased by God if you help me.



 これは私の勝手な解釈です。あまり信じませんように。

 『会話に活かす英文法を英語で学ぶ本』は、こちらからどうぞ。


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posted by 赤井田拓弥 at 10:53| Comment(0) | 英語で英文法