Here is a bonus article that is longer than a typical ELT-J piece. It provides more background, graphics and resources to two of the features of issue #1. They are:
1. Writing Systems: Positive transfer or negative interference for EFL learning?
2. Do Japanese EFL students need katakana eigo to learn and to read English?
The bonus article is available at the link below in read-only .pdf which you can also download and read in Adobe Acrobat Reader.
An abstract is provided here.
Can Native Literacy Practices Impact EFL Learning? The Example of Japan
Charles Jannuzi, University of Fukui, Japan
Katakana eigo is a Japanese term referring to English rendered into a written form that uses one of the two syllabaries of written Japanese. On the one hand, it aids a legitimate process: the borrowing and subsequent nativization of terms from English into Japanese. On the other hand, its use in EFL teaching and learning (because of its cross-lingual, L2 to L1 orientation) may well hinder literacy and language development in the L2. In this paper, the author looks at why katakana eigo is used in the EFL learning in Japan. The reasons center most on teachers' and learners' responses to the complex nature of the writing system of English. The author then goes on to cover katakana eigo in relation to the pedagogical stances possible. Finally, the author lists and describes methods and activities that could help to make katakana eigo and other such graphic translation 'crutches' unnecessary in the EFL classroom in Japan (and in other countries where non-alphabetic writing systems are used.