Monday, March 30, 2009

Japanese Students Learning English From Obama

Apart from steering the US economy through difficult times, fine-tuning strategy on two wars and resetting geopolitical equations, US President Barack Obama is also helping many Japanese students learn English. In Japan, students practice reciting Obama’s speeches, noted the Wall Street Journal in a report from Tokyo, with the headline: “Learning to Speak Better English: Yes, We Can!”

The report described a gray-haired Japanese student struggling with a line from Obama’s famous 2004 speech to the Democratic National Convention that catapulted him into the national spotlight.

The student read on: “They … would … give me an … African name, Barack, … or ‘blessed’. ” English teacher Makoto Ishiwata corrected the student, “Not ‘blessed,’ “bless-ed’.”

The Obama speeches have become the latest fad fueling Japan’s long, and oft-frustrated, passion for mastering English, the Journal said. Read more.