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英語記事に慣れる「サクっと読む英文」

2017.4.18

Study says that you have to speak English to “be American”

Read the article to find out what factors are considered important in creating a national identity.
その国の国民であることを認識するためにどのような要素が重要だと考えられているのか、記事を読んでみましょう。

Higher levelLower level
70% of Americans feel that speaking English is “very important” to being an American. This is just one result of an international survey of 14 countries, which was conducted by the Pew Research Center.

The survey aimed to identify which factors are most important for forming a national identity. In the survey, interviewees in each country were asked about the importance of language, sharing local traditions, religion, and being born in the country. For example, a person might be asked “How important is speaking English?” The person can then answer: very important, somewhat important, or not important.

In the US, speaking English was the highest rated factor for being American. Other countries also felt language was very important, including Japan and Australia. In Japan, 70% of people responded that speaking Japanese is very important to being a Japanese national. European countries also highly valued language, with the Netherlands, the UK, and Hungary in the top three. 84% of people in the Netherlands survey said language is very important. The UK and Hungary both had 81% of people give the same answer.

American media organization, NPR, also reported that the data showed some differences between older generations and younger generations of people. In the US, for example, 81% of people 50 or older said speaking English is very important. On the other hand, only 58% of 18 to 34-year-old Americans said English was very important to be American.

The survey data from Japan also showed generational differences. 77% of older Japanese people said that speaking Japanese is very important, while just 57% of younger Japanese said it was very important.

The data also showed that answers differed according to other groups, like education groups, race groups, and religion. For example, immigrants in the US more strongly believed that being born in the US is very important to being American.

Recently, national identity has been a frequently discussed topic in the news. European countries, such as Germany and Sweden, are accepting large groups of people from the Middle East. Some people say that cultural and language differences are creating problems. US president Donald Trump has also promised to build a wall to prevent illegal immigrants from coming to the US, and has additionally threatened to completely stop all travel from certain countries like Syria, Iran, and Somalia.

These countries have started new debates on immigration and national identity. The Pew survey data may explain how many people in these countries are feeling about the recent immigration issues and debates.

In a new survey, 70% of Americans feel that speaking English is “very important” to being an American. The survey was done in 14 countries and it was made by the Pew Research Group.

The survey tried to find the most important parts of national identity. National identity is the feeling of being a part of a country’s people or culture. In the survey, people in each country were asked about language, sharing culture, religion, and being born in the country. For example, a person might be asked “How important is speaking English?” Then, the person can answer: very important, important, or not important.

In the US, speaking English was the most important point for being American. Other countries also felt the same. For example, Japan and Australia also felt language was very important. In Japan, 70% of people said that speaking Japanese is very important to being Japanese. European countries also thought language was most important. 84% of people in the Netherlands survey said language is very important. The UK and Hungary had 81% of people say language is very important.

American media organization, NPR, also wrote about the Pew survey data. NPR saw that young people and older people answered differently. In the US, for example, 81% of people 50 or older said speaking English is very important. However, 58% of 18 to 34-year-old Americans said English was very important to being American. Younger people think language is less important to being American.

In Japan, younger people and older people also gave different answers. 77% of older Japanese people said that speaking Japanese is very important, while 57% of younger Japanese said it was very important.

Also, people with different education, religion, and birthplaces gave different answers. For example, immigrants thought being born in the US is very important to being an American.

Recently, many people around the world are talking more about national identity. Some European countries are receiving a lot of people from the Middle East. There are many language problems because many Middle Eastern people cannot speak European languages. So, it is difficult for the Middle Eastern people to become European. Some Europeans are unhappy with the situation.

The Pew Research data shows that many countries think language is very important. Language may be an important part of the recent problems in Europe.

キーフレーズ

aim to ~ ~することを目的とする
form 形成する、形づくる
somewhat 少々、やや
respond 答える

質問などに答える、返事をする、という意味です。口頭だけでなく、行動で反応するときにも使われます。

例:I haven’t responded to his email yet.
(彼からのメールにまだ返事をしていない。)

例:I responded to his question by nodding my head.
(彼の質問にうなずいて反応した。)

“respond”、“answer”、“reply” は、多くの場合それぞれに置き換えて使うことができます。どれも何かに対して答える、応答する、などという意味で使われますが、“answer” は、問題や疑問に対する解決策や対処法という意味でも使われます。

なお、置き換えることができない一例としては、“answer the phone”「電話に出る」が挙げられ、この場合には “respond” や “reply” を代わりに使うことはできません。

on the other hand その一方で
generational difference 世代的な違い
differ 異なる

二つ(以上)の物事が異なる、一致しない、という意味です。記事中では、調査への回答がグループごとに異なった、という意味で使われています。また、誰かと意見を異にする、という意味でも使われます。

例:Scientists differ on the why dinosaurs went extinct.
(恐竜が絶滅した理由についての科学者たちの意見は異なっている。)

immigrant 移民
prevent (someone / something) from ~ (人/物)が~するのを防ぐ

あることが起きるのを防ぐ、人が~するのを止める(抑える)、という意味です。

例:How can we prevent this information from getting out?
(この情報が漏洩するのをどのように防げるだろう?)

threaten to ~ ~すると脅す

こちらのコーナーでは、Gabaマンツーマン英会話の受講者様向け学習コンテンツ、「myRead」で取り上げた記事についてご紹介しています。日本語訳については、本記事における意味になりますのでご了承ください。
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