English 英語関係

The hardest English word to tell the meaning of for Japanese students?


Hi there!

I`m Kou, an English teacher living in Kyoto, Japan.

I`ve been teaching in an English conversation school here for more than 12 years and have noticed there are some English words my Japanese students can hardly know, and I have recently found one word that none of them can give me the meaning of for the past 12+ years.

I think the word is something students should learn if they take the 2nd grade of Eiken or English proficiency test conducted by The Ministry of Education since it is seen on the exercise books for the 2nd grade test.

This level is basically for those who have finished their high school curriculum and most of the students in my 2nd grade class are junior high school students, a couple of year younger people than those who are supposed to be ready to take the test, so I understand the word is not easy for them to figure out, but at least someone know and answer other words of the same level, and that`s why I`m curious. 

I personaly don`t know why this one is that hard for them, and if you have any idea of the reason, it will be much appreciated.



Now, if you are a native English speaker or person who uses the language daily, it may sound boring or disappointing, but the word none of my students have answered for the past 12+ years is `threaten`.

Yes, that is the one.

Actually, it`s not easy for some to pronouce it correctly, either.

Well, it may sound stupid, but if I have to give it a reason, I would say that since Japan is quite a safe place and we have less opportunities to use the word `threaten ` in our native language, Japanese, and that might have given us less opportunities to actually learn the word in English.

This is only my personal opinion or guess, and I myself don`t think it convincing…

Now, I wonder if there are any Japanese words that none Japanese people have trouble learning.

Thank you for your time reading my poor article.

I`m thinking of sharing something like this that I find interesting or I want to know the reason of later on.

See you later!

P.S. Since I`m Japanese, please forget about any gramatical or spelling mistakes you may find above. 🙂


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