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Academic Writing

Oct 30, 2017Canadian, Education, Female, Group Conversations, Japanese

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Are you good at academic writing?


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Tanaka Ayaka: Writing?

Yamashita Haruka: Academic writing. (A: Like… OK) In terms of like my university life in America. Like writing is kind ofpronounced “KAINDA” (0:07) like hardest. I mean, writing in Japan is like totally different.

José Cruz: Very different.

Haruka: I always feel like, it’s not totally but slightly different (A: Mm-hmm) from the like you know, writing which I- which I’ve done in in Japan. (A/J: Mm-hmm) Have you felt like that?

Ayaka: It’s completely different with the Ja- American style?Ayaka uses a good conversation tactic of repeating what she thinks the other person said in order to clarify her understanding (0:23)

Haruka: Yeah writing style. (A: Oh) Like, you know you have you have like a lot of like writing, like exams and writing (A: Mmm) How can I say, uhh, writing homeworksHaruka put a plural “s” on this word, but homework is a non-countable noun (0:37) – how would you- like, like papers (A: Oh OK) writing papers. And for like papers I always struggled about the the home- form of it.

Ayaka: Yeah because American university papers really strict more compo- comparing with the Japanese style like… (J: Yes they are) (H: Like citations) That’s it! References or (H: Yes) citations was really- (J: Yes) so we didn’t- actually in case of me (H:Mm-hmm) I didn’t know how to cite- how to write down about the references or cite formally, correctly. Yeah so…

Haruka: Di- did you studied it i (A: In Japan?) in Japan? (A: Yeah I did but) Because you were in the like English course.

Ayaka: I did, but I never experienced at the moment actually. (H: Really) So this even for me this was my first time to…

Haruka: Study actually like writing itself?

Ayaka: Yeah and suddenly to the professor, right? (J: Mm) (H: Got youpronounced “GOTCHA” (1:34)) It’s formal thing.

Haruka: I feel like when we- when we were in Japan like, we had some papers which we had to write in EnglishThis is a speaking style found especially among young native speakers called “upspeak”, where the end of a sentence is intimated as if it were a question. While it it not uncommon among native speakers it is generally not regarded as a good way to speak. (1:43)

Ayaka: Describing about the format in- American format?

Haruka: No no no, I mean just just in general. (A: Ah OK) When we were in Japan we had some homeworks which we had to submit in English, like English papers, (A: Mm-hmm) Like you know about like international relations, something like that, but um, I felt that in Japanese universities the thing is like- in the paper is like super easy (A: I know!) Like professors will give us “S”Japanese universities can give out a grade level above “A” (2:10) no matter how we write. (A: Yeah or or)

José: I’m- I’m so glad you noticed that.
Haruka: But just- but just that you know, the thing is, the thing that you have to do is like just write it in English and like write it as long as we can and that’s all. (J: Yup yeah) “Perfect. “S” Thank you very much”. (A: Ha ha)

José: No that’s that’s actually quite true. The the marking standard in Japan is completely different from the marking standard (H: It’s like horrible) in America.

Haruka: Yes. Marking standard in Japan is like horrible (A: Yes) I would say. (J: Mm mm) You know like, so I (A: Mm) at the- For I mean, at that time when I was in Japan I just thought that, “I have oh, yeah (A: Mm) I have good writing skill”. But it was not (A: Mm) actually and after I came hereAt the time, Haruka and Ayaka were exchange students at an American university (3:01) I noticed that it’s not really good (J: Yeah) And I studied so. Yeah. If I can notice that um in an early time in my university life, (J: Mm-hmm) my life in university, ah would be so different I think. (A: Yeah)


Which do you think is easier for you; speaking or writing in your second language?

Do your teachers mark you fairly? Do they mark too easily? Too strictly?

Haruka has acquired several speaking habits during her time in America. In this conversation note how often she uses the filler word “LIKE”. When used strategically filler words can be very useful to English speakers to help maintain their mean length runs and speaking rate, but when used excessively, are not considered as part of accurate, eloquent speech.

The audio quality is a little rough at times as the conversation was done between Japan and America over skype.

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Tanaka Ayaka Image

Tanaka Ayaka


Chikushino, Fukuoka

Yamashita Haruka image

Yamashita Haruka


Oita City, Oita

José Domingo Cruz image

José Domingo Cruz


Vancouver, British Columbia


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