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Does reading manga help you improve your language?

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Post #635562
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Addicted
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11:53 am, Mar 10 2014
Posts: 412


Reading manga has not had any effect on my English yet. Plain old literature has played a huge role in improving it though.

Non native English speaker here. But, English is my first language at school. So i am more comfortable reading books in English than in my mother tongue smile

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Post #635750
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3:55 am, Mar 12 2014
Posts: 89


Yep..although I still can't read anything beyond the standard shounen/shoujo. Too many kanji. dead I've learned a lot of interesting vocab otherwise. The bad side effect is that my ability to speak and form sentences Japanese is basically nonexistent since I never practice haha.

Post #635766
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6:44 am, Mar 12 2014
Posts: 123


As English is my first language (well not exactly, but it's the language i usually think in) manga hasn't helped much there; but I sometimes read french scans and that has helped me improve my vocabulary smile

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Post #635781 - Reply to (#414883) by Mamsmilk
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10:29 am, Mar 12 2014
Posts: 245


Quote from Mamsmilk
No.

I am rather sure that translators can't think
up phrases complicated enough for me to be
abashed.


This.
Some even have poor grammar.

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Post #635784
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11:22 am, Mar 12 2014
Posts: 46


I have been waiting for a thread like this to rant on.

Most of your manga scanlations are written by kids 90% of the time, teenagers who are only looking to apply their abilities when in reality, English is probably their worst subject. Scanlation is the worst way to improve English, whether it is reading them or working on them.

Language is the most advanced form of communication on the planet. It takes a good percent of your brainpower to even say your thoughts in a way people will understand, so can you imagine the difficulty there is to persuade someone about someone else's thoughts.. from another language??

The best way to learn a language is to see it used effectively, and to use it yourself in public situations. I can tell you right now nearly all scanlations do not use English effectively, because 1) pressure to "stay true" to the original Japanese 2) limits their self-esteem to 3) use English creatively, at its fullest potential. This is not good for anyone because no respect for purely creative English means less variations of English, less relevance to context which devastates your understanding of that English, LESS ABILITY TO BE EFFECTIVE.

Wouldn't you want to know why people come to say the things they do?

Most of the people who work with scanlations have little idea what it means to write good literature. At least in anime subs it trains your reading speed. At least fan fiction comes straight from the heart of the fic writer. Manga scanlation is none of that, most likely written without the intricacies of English meaning in mind, a Blackhole Collection of Misconceptions So Subtle It Might Get You Off Track Knowing True English For Good.

You can't read millions of pages of amataur translated manga and not get affected by some bad habit, I truly believe that (most of the time you don't realize it). Even licensed versions are no guarantee to be good (I have read them). However at least in probability, with required regulations and money involved, they have better language usage than scanlation online, so I recommend checking out the stuff in the licensed direction if you want to read something to improve your English. Big name Sci-Fi manga like Ghost in the Shell or comedies like Yotsubo are good places to start.

Ironically though my favorite kind of manga translations are when I find scanlators who are better than the average licensed translators (Nomad Soul's collabs for example).

Edit: clarified stuff.


Last edited by eternalight at 8:22 pm, Mar 12

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Post #635892
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4:12 am, Mar 13 2014
Posts: 354


Not really...English isn't my second language. I wouldn't rely on manga to improve language skills that much because a majority of the grammar for manga scanlations is horrendous. In fact, I'm more aware of grammar now because of manga....

I can't read raws nor have I tried to read spanish or french translations so maybe if I did read spanish or french scans, it would improve my language skills.

No offense but people expect proofreaders to just read the scans and give the ok. Proofreaders themselves don't seem to realize the value and art of language either. I've done a few proofreading jobs now for manga scanlators and I put a lot of work into ensuring proficiency of language and coherence so that the reading experience would be smooth as well as appropriate. The fact that scanlators themselves don't actually see the value in that and expect proofreaders to punch out proofread scans like a mass producing factory is quite an insult to the art of language in my opinion.

Quote from eternalight
I have been waiting for a thread like this to rant on.
.

Thank you so much for your post. I'm glad to know that there is someone who understands.

Last edited by lambchopsil at 3:34 pm, Mar 13

Post #635905
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4:36 am, Mar 13 2014
Posts: 3


As a Native speaker of English, and student of Japanese and Linguistics I can give the following input:

As far as translations go, especially fan translated work, there's always a slight margin of error, a word that translated vaguely can give off a different meaning of the language. Generally, all of my professors agree that watching foreign films in a language that you're learning, reading books (including comics) generally improve your understanding of the way that a language is spoken in an everyday situation. As students of foreign languages, we're taught the "right" way to speak a language (in Linguistics, it's called a "prestige dialect" or "standard dialect"), and it doesn't necessarily reflect the way one would encounter the language as it is naturally spoken - and while I have noticed that reading Doraemon gives me a better understanding of the Japanese language, I know that even just spending 2 or 3 months abroad would do more for my language skills than any amount of Anime, Manga, JDrama, or Jidaigeki films.

They can all be great study materials, but they can never replace conversation with a native speaker - which is the ideal way to learn and practice a new language.

The best advice I could give would be to seek and find media that was written in the language you're looking to learn originally - not something translated from a translation of a translation; and if you get the chance, use the language often - with global telecommunications being what they are, it's easier than ever to communicate with people just about anywhere. The tools are at your disposal, and most of them are free, use them.

Post #651705
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11:50 pm, Sep 9 2014
Posts: 15


I'm not a native English speaker but I can say for sure that thanks to manga I got to improve my English. Actually I didn't speak English at all before.
Though I agree that there a lot of scanlation groups that make horrible mistakes. I'm well aware of that, but I still want to say that it's possible to learn English by reading manga. Even so, my English isn't perfect and you have to be really careful when reading manga.

Post #651862
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Human
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10:52 pm, Sep 11 2014
Posts: 16


hmm, for english manga, i think it does, cause when i encounter a word i don't really understand, i'll be searching its definition on Google~ biggrin

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Post #653079
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8:10 pm, Sep 27 2014
Posts: 89


It's made my English worse, but my Japanese better. I'm not sure how I feel about this trade-off. laugh

Post #683480
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Mahya
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10:44 am, Aug 29 2016
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yes ofcours
but be aware of pronunciations, since you might memorize a word in the wrong way!

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Post #683485
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12:05 pm, Aug 29 2016
Posts: 133


Yup! I read manga almost exclusively in English now (since the quality of the translations in my country is Horrible with a capital H) and I read a bunch of LN series and English literature too (ah, Bartimaeus trilogy... <3), not to forget anime with subtitles.
But I think that manga has had the biggest influence in my language skills, since my English grades improved a lot when I was in middle school (around 2008?), all because I started reading scanlations from OneManga (R.I.P)


Post #683494
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10:29 pm, Aug 29 2016
Posts: 232


Quote
The best way to learn a language is to see it used effectively, and to use it yourself in public situations. I can tell you right now nearly all scanlations do not use English effectively, because 1) pressure to "stay true" to the original Japanese 2) limits their self-esteem to 3) use English creatively, at its fullest potential. This is not good for anyone because no respect for purely creative English means less variations of English, less relevance to context which devastates your understanding of that English, LESS ABILITY TO BE EFFECTIVE.


Totally correct, eternalight! I made a whole career as an editor out of a mastery of English I developed from reading many great novels through the course my childhood. I read so much good writing that in the end I could write good (actually "well").

In my experience about 30 percent of scanlations are written in poor English. Sometimes it's laughable.

The only way I can see that anyone could learn English through encountering scanlations is if you were a native Japanese speaker with the original text of a manga before you, and then you tried to learn English by reading a scanlation of it into English. That might do you some good, at least when you were just starting with English, and learning completely correct English was left for later.

Post #683500
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Dying
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3:12 am, Aug 30 2016
Posts: 38


Studying improves my Japanese way faster than reading and translating manga. Speaking with native Japanese is also better than manga... Not to mention even my English starts to sound a little strange when I'm fan translating (I wouldn't want people learning from it, it'd be too embarrassing).

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Post #683502
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Taro
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5:35 am, Aug 30 2016
Posts: 1975


English is my second language, but I started speaking English when I was very young so I'm pretty fluent. Manga definitely helped me increase my vocabulary though - I began reading seinen and josei when I probably shouldn't have been, and I would always look for the definition of the words I didn't understand. I learned a bunch of new words that other kids in my class at the time didn't know, so I guess it did.

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