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Short and Simple

When we speak our native language, we automatically speak in the most efficient way possible, while still conveying the intended meaning. One way that we convey information more efficiently is to use abbreviations, which are especially common in Japanese. Another way that we do this is by combining two or three short words into a single phrase called a “reduction”.Spoken English is full of reductions.

僕たちが母国語を話すと、伝えたい意味を維持しつつ、一番効率的な言い方で話すということです。 効率的に話す方法の一つは略語を使うことで、日本語でとくによく使われています。もう一つの方法は2、3の短い単語を「reduction」という句にすることです。英語の話し言葉はreductionでいっぱいです。


Some common examples of reductions in English include “wanna”(want to) and gonna (going to). While many Japanese people have learned “wanna” and “gonna”most people don't know that there are at least 50 common reductions that are used in everyday conversation. This is because Japanese people don't learn reductions in school, or even in eikaiwa. However, because of reductions, spoken English is so different from written English that it can be considered a different language.

よく知られている英語のreductionは例えば、wanna (want to) と gonna (going to)です。それを知っている日本人は結構いますが、日常会話によく用いられるreductionが少なくとも50以上あることはほとんど知られていないと思います。なぜなら、日本人がreductionを学校、そして英会話学校でさえ全然教わらないからです。でも、reductionの影響で、英語の話し言葉は書き言葉と別の言語と見なせるくらい異なっています。


One reason that reductions are not taught in school is that they are not actually words. For example, in spoken English, the phrase “Did you eat dinner yet?” usually sounds like “Jeet dinner yet?” However, because “jeet”is not an official English word, you wouldn't find it in any textbook or dictionary.

Reductionが学校で教わらない理由の一つは、 実は単語じゃないからです。例えば、口語で「Did you eat dinner yet? (夜ごはん、食べた?)」という表現が普通に 「Jeet dinner yet?」と発音されます。ただ、「jeet」とは 公式な英単語ではないので、教科書や辞典には載っていません。


Learning reductions in addition to grammar, vocabulary, etc. might seem overwhelming, but in reality, many reductions are actually easier to pronounce than the individual words that comprise them! Take the phrase “What are you doing?”, for example. Japanese people typically pronounce this something like ワットアーユードゥイング, which sounds very unnatural. But the reduction of this phrase actually sounds more like ワダヤドゥイン, which is shorter and sounds more natural. It's still not perfect pronunciation, but it's close enough that, with some minor adjustments, it can be made to sound like native English.


英文法や語彙に加えて、reductionも勉強しないといけないのは気が遠くなるかもしれませんが、実はある表現は単語をそれぞれ言うよりreductionする方が発音しやすくなる場合があります。例えば、「What are you doing?」という表現で考えてみましょう。よくある日本人の発音は「ワットアーユードゥイング」ですよね。でもこれはネイティブが聞くと不自然な発音に聞こえます。でも、reductionで言うと、もっと短くて自然に聞こえる「ワダヤドゥイン」となります。その発音はまだ完璧ではないけど、前者よりはよりネイティブに近い自然な言い方なので、わずかな手直しだけでネイティブな英語に聞こえるようになります。



But, if reductions aren't in any textbook or dictionary, how might a student of English learn these important phrases? Well, luckily, we have the internet. By searching for “English reductions” on YouTube, for example, you can find plenty of information and useful videos about reductions and how to use them. In fact, there is a great YouTube channel called Rachel's English, which covers reductions extensively. Furthermore, a Google search for 「English reductions」 will bring up several results for websites that provide lists of common reductions.


でも、reductionが教科書や辞典に載っていないのに、英語の学習者は、どうやってそんな重要な表現を身につけられるのでしょうか? ラッキーな事にインターネットが存在します。例えば、YouTubeで「English reductions」を検索したら、reductionの使い方について沢山の動画を見つける事ができます。お勧めは、あらゆるreductionが紹介されているRachel’s Englishという役立つYouTubeチャンネルです。それに、「English reductions」を検索したら、よく使われるreductionがリストされているサイトがいくつも出てきます。


Reductions are so essential to speaking natural English that I should have mentioned them in my previous post about how to improve your English. But it was only recently that I realized just how much of a hurdle they were for Japanese learners. They truly are the key to understanding and speaking natural English, so make sure to include them as part of your study regimen!

Reductionはこの間、投稿したHow to Improve Your English More Quicklyのブログに紹介するべきだった重要な点です。最近いかに日本人の学習者にとってreductionがネックになっているかに気づいたので、ここで紹介することにしました。自然な英語を聞き取ったり喋ったりできるようになるための鍵ですので、ぜひ英語の勉強方法に取り入れてください。


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