I think one aspect of the Engrish that isn’t examined very often is the spoken engrish. English, to my knowledge is a required class to take from elementary school to junior high school. While not all continue on with English education after high school, in the younger generation, some English is floating around. However, I’ve been told that after junior high English, the most that people tend to understand is how to say “this is a pen”. From my own experience, though, people who have studied English and know the language relatively well, are eager to test out their English on foreigners.
I think it would be interesting to pay attention to the verbal mistakes that Japanese people make while speaking English. There will likely be a whole range of skill among English-speaking Japanese, but I think it would be interesting to observe mistakes that are made consistently. These mistakes would likely be caused by something to do with Japanese grammar that carries over to English. For example, I noticed that my one Japanese friend had a tendency to leave out nouns and pronouns. She would say things like “when are we going to buy?” instead of “when are we going to buy it?” I’m curious whether other Japanese people will make the same mistakes, and what other kind of mistakes they make.
I think this would also be helpful information to know. I want to teach English in Japan, and I know others in our class are interested in doing the same. This information would help me to focus on what kind of mistakes are common so that my future students will speak better English. That, and it may help other people understand English-speaking Japanese if they realize what is trying to be said.
By Ingrid Falkenberg-Andersen