I found Shoko Tana’s Nov. 26 letter, “Learning English to read a text,” disturbing to say the least. According to Tana, “for better or worse, we learn English (in Japan) to acquire knowledge on how to read a text, not to communicate, as important as that skill may be outside of Japan.”
If that’s the case, why should anyone go to Japan to teach English in the first place? Tana’s written English seems superb, verbs complementing the subject and so forth. But is not the ultimate goal of learning English to learn to speak, too? If not, then studying English is not only a waste of time for a native English-language teacher but a waste of money for Tana. Maybe it would be better if she just read a book.
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