cooperate と「協力する」の違い

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Nov 16, 2016 14:25 英語と日本語の違い

先日、僕が提供しているプライベートレッスンでTOEIC SW対策教材に「Why do you want to improve your English?」 という質問が出てきました。生徒は「I want to improve my English so I can use it at work. I want to cooperate with foreign staff.」と答えました。「cooperate」をこの文章に使うのは僕のネイティヴの耳には、どうしても不自然な感じしましたが、なぜ不自然に感じたのか分かりませんでした。これまでは、「cooperate」と「協力する」は全く同じ意味だと思っていました。

数分生徒と話し合っているうちに、「cooperate」 と「協力」の意味に違いがあることに気付きました。英語の「cooperate」は本人が抵抗する可能性があるときしか使えない単語なので、上の英文のように、自分から協力したいときには使えないのです。例の文章は「I want to work with foreign staff」の方が自然です。

意味の違いを知らず、「協力しましょう!」を表現したくて、「Let's cooperate!」と英語で言ってしまった日本人はたくさんいるだろう。
One of the fringe benefits of teaching English is that it helps me to fine-tune my understanding of Japanese words.

The other day, I was helping a student prepare for the TOEIC Speaking & Writing test and the following practice question came up in the textbook: "Why do you want to improve your English?" The student responded with "I want to improve my English so I can use it at work. I want to cooperate with foreign staff." To my native English ears, the use of cooperate was totally unnatural but I could not figure out why it was unnatural. Up until now, I had thought that 'cooperate' was exactly the same as the Japanese "kyouryoku suru."

After a few minutes of discussing this with the student, we realized that 'cooperate' and 'kyouryoku suru' were not the same. We realized that the English 'cooperate' can only be used when there is a possibility that the subject will resist the task at hand. You can not use it when the subject is enthusiastic about doing the task as in the example sentence above. The example sentence should be changed to "I want to work with foreign staff."

There must be a lot of Japanese people who have said "Let's cooperate!" when they wanted to express "kyouryoku shimashou!" in English without realizing the difference in meaning.
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