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コラム@NCU 第5回 MANABU(メドウズ マーティン)を掲載しました。

Hello everyone, I am Martin Meadows of the General Education Section at Nayoro University. Many of you will remember me as an English teacher who visited your elementary school in Nayoro.  I'm sure you have learned a lot more English since then.

I have a question for you: How do you say 学ぶ in English? I think some of you will answer this by saying, "(to) learn" and some will answer with "(to) study". Both are correct, but not always interchangeable. That means that sometimes you must use learn and sometimes you must use study. It depends on what you want to say in English. English requires at least two words to express an idea or concept that has only one word - 学ぶ - in Japanese.

The purpose of this column is to hear from Nayoro University professors what it means to learn/study - 「学ぶ」とはどういうこと- Translating the word to English is helpful because it shows us the dual meaning of "manabu"; learning and studying. What is the difference? Let's take a closer look at the meaning of the English words.

Learning is something that we all do naturally from childhood, simply by interacting with the world around us. All humans and most animals have the ability to learn. We learn how to walk, how to ride a bicycle and how to speak our native language. Dogs learn how to do tricks that make their masters happy. 彼は海外旅行から多くを学んだ - He learned a lot from his travels abroad. Through life experiences such as travelling, through living in a social world, we learn.  It doesn't really take much effort because it's something we do naturally and instinctively. We make mistakes and we correct them the next time we have a similar experience. There are some things, though, that we can't learn simply through experience. We have to be taught those things by others. We have to study them.

Studying is purposeful and goal-oriented. We have to work hard at it and sometimes it can be quite difficult. Studying is what you are supposed to do in school. It takes a lot of time and can make us tired. Not studying can make our teachers angry! Studying should result in learning, but we all know people who seem to study a lot but don't seem to learn very much at all! The fact is that teachers can make you study, but they can't make you learn if you don't want to.

I am a language teacher. I have met many people who have studied English (or other languages) for a long time but can't speak it. I have also met people who speak English quite well, but don't write or read it well. This is the difference between learning and studying. Young children can learn to speak a second language fluently, but they can't read or write it without being taught. As we get older, we become less able to learn a second language naturally because we already have one language that meets our social and human needs. So, we have to rely on studying and being taught about that language. But we still have to learn how to use a second language naturally and instinctively if we wish to become fluent. They are two different things. When we use a language we naturally make mistakes and we learn to correct them based on our experiences and our studies.

So, we can see that the Japanese word “manabu” has both a passive/receptive meaning and an active/creative meaning. Both are essential. They need each other. To grow as a human being you have to take an active role in your learning. You need to ask questions, access information in books, videos, the Internet and so on. You also have to make and correct your mistakes as you act on that newly- found knowledge.

At university, you have to study, of course, but teachers expect that you know how to do that on your own. After all, you've had lots of experience by now! But you also have to turn your studies into learning by taking responsibility, by actively finding your own answers to your own questions - in your own way, naturally and instinctively.  これは学ぶことです。

Keywords:
interchangeable = 交換可能な
instinctively = 本能的に
passive/receptive meaning = 受動的・受容的な意味
active/creative meaning = 能動的・創造的な意味
essential = 重要、必須
newly-found = 発見されたばっかり

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