Help with notes please?
  • Hi everyone! I am currently in the process of replying to many many notes that were given to me from some of my elementary school students back in Japan when I left. I am not a 100% sure about how correct some of the sentences are that I am planning on using so I thought it would be a good idea to ask around first so if you are willing to help it will be greatly appreciated! Please keep in mind that the students are still quite young and not all of them know kanji all that well yet... Let us start at the beginning:

    I wrote "おてがみありがとうね。" to thank them for the notes first. Would "tegami" be appropriate? Most of the messages they gave me where just little notes or small decorated letters. Also would the "ne" at the end really be appropriate? Also how could I say thank you for the letter and picture (drawing) instead?

    Next does this make 100% sense? "えいごがすきになりましたよかったです。" (to say I am happy that you started to like English)

    Also "えいごがたのしんだよかったです。" (to say that I am happy that you enjoyed English)

    Also "いつまでもがんばってください。" (Please always do your best)

    Also "バスケとおにごっこをしてくれて、ありがとう、とてもたのしかったですよ。" (to say thank you for playing basketball and onigokko with me, it was lots of fun)

    Also "わたしもにほんごをがんばります。" (to say I will do my best to learn Japanese too)

    And "ありがとう、カメラマンをがんばります。" (to say thank you, I will do my best as a photographer)

    And a more challenging one, one of my students wrote "外国の人にあたらせっきょくてきにはなしかけてみたいとおもいます。" and I would like to reply that it is great that he has found interest in foreigners. Or maybe any other suggestions for replies?

    And finally "しんせつなことばありがとう。" (to say thank you for your kind words).

    Thank you for any input or help in advance! ;-) 本当に感謝しています。
  • The basic point will come across in all of those sentences, but I'll nitpick them for you ;-)

    Overall, your writing is too polite for little kids. They're way younger than you, and you know each other, so being polite kind of makes you sound more distant in my opinion.
    As you probably noticed, kids only speak politely when they talk to teachers at school. I would never use ます form or
    honorifics (御 お・ご) when talking to my students individually. I almost always use 俺 instead of 僕 and I NEVER use 私. For letters I'd use 僕 and きみ (for "you").
    (I'm guessing you're male from your screen name "ed_g" otherwise just say あたし or 私)

    I wouldn't worry about any of the Kanji. If you recall your own experience you can probably read more than you can write. By about 3rd or 4th grade they should be able to read any kanji which would appear in your sentences (or they can ask their teachers or look the character up in the piles of dictionaries they have lying around at school anyway).

    1) おてがみありがとうね。
    I would just say 手紙ありがとうね! (ね is certainly appropriate). For letters with pictures you could say 手紙と絵をかいてくれてありがとうね!

    2)えいごがすきになりましたよかったです。 The word "started" isn't included in that sentence, but Japanese people usually aren't that precise anyway.
    I don't know if it's a rule, but I have always heard the て form used before saying よかった. I haven't heard the form which your wrote.
    英語が好きになってよかった! (you could say 好きになりましてよかった but that is far too contrived and polite, like a store announcement or something)

    3) Also "えいごがたのしんだよかったです。" (to say that I am happy that you enjoyed English)
    Same て form issue.
    I would just say あとは英語の時間を楽しんで僕はとてもうれしい! (If you're writing these sentences in succession, it's good to have some kind of connecting phrase like あとは)

    4)Also "いつまでもがんばってください。" (Please always do your best)
    頑張る kind of means that, but it's very general in that it's also used the way English speakers use the word "try." It might sound like
    "try forever!" If you literally want to say "do your best," the phrase is 最善を尽くす, but to sound more "English-y" you could say ベストを尽くす。
    So I'd say 何のことでも、ベストを尽くしてください! (No matter what it is, do your best!)

    5)Also "バスケとおにごっこをしてくれて、ありがとう、とてもたのしかったですよ。" (to say thank you for playing basketball and onigokko with me, it was lots of fun)
    Instead of と as a connector, とか might be better (it implies you did other activities but didn't mention them). You probably taught them the word "basketball" right?
    You should use it! 一緒にバスケットボールとかおにごっこをするのが、とても楽しかったよ!
    してくれる naturally makes me think "you did something FOR me" So I would turn する into a noun by adding の.
    Then it becomes "Playing basketball and tag together was really fun!" I'm not a native speaker so I don't know what is the most natural (if you ask 2 natives separately they probably
    wouldn't agree anyway)

    6)Also "わたしもにほんごをがんばります。" (to say I will do my best to learn Japanese too)
    That sounds fine, I'd just say 僕 instead of 私, no ます form, and forget the particles.
    And maybe to get a funny reaction from them, I'd say 僕も日本語がんばるぞ!!!!

    7)I haven't heard カメラマン used as photographer ever, but I haven't been everywhere in Japan. I'd say 写真家 and it's probably better to refer to the work a
    photographer does, so 写真家の仕事を頑張る! Usually I hear extra Japanized English like that when people go out of their way to use it "for my sake" but it almost never makes sense, as it's out of context.

    8) Did your student forget a small つ in the letter? I think it was supposed to be 外国の人に会ったら.
    I personally don't like this attitude because it fuels the widespread myopic view in Japan that all foreigners automatically speak English, that all English speaking people are Americans, all black people in Japan are American military, etc. I do happen to be an American with blue eyes (sorry no blonde hair haha), but I deride such stereotypes. Of course you don't have to scold the kid. Whatever foreigner the kid talks to will PROBABLY try to be accommodating. :-P But I never respond immediately to an unknown Japanese person who just "assumes" I speak English because of how I look. I refuse to contribute to the prejudging of anyone based on appearances. They need to learn that it's offensive. That said, I'd probably just say something like 外国の事に興味になって、えらいね!英語圏の人にいっぱい話して! (If the kid is REALLY young they won't understand 英語圏 you can just say 英語の人 as "baby-talk" which is functional but incorrect)

    9) And finally "しんせつなことばありがとう。" (to say thank you for your kind words).
    This sounds fine to me. It'll be understood.
  • Hey Ed_g!
    You can take a look at my blog:
    http://japanese-speaker.blogspot.com/
    I've put some useful information, tips and How-Tos about Japanese speaking, verbs and methods.

    You may find it interesting..

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