Language learners in Japan have a turned to a new book to improve their use and understanding of English: The Speeches of Barack Obama.
The 95-page book and accompanying CD has become a runaway success among Japanese students of English, according to a recent BBC report.
The book contains many of Obama’s speeches, dating back to his now famous address at the 2004 Democratic Convention. Each English transcription is accompanied by a Japanese translation.
The title has surged to No. 2 in the best-seller list, with more than 400,000 copies flying off the shelves.
Many students learn the speeches off by heart. But their appeal is not only their timeliness and topicality. According to one English teacher, it is also the clarity and rhythm of Obama’s language.
WorldAccent’s London-based Japanese typesetter agrees: “Obama’s speeches are very poetic, but very clear. They pack a lot of meaning into a few words, and the language really flows.”
A spokesperson for the publisher commented that they would not, though, be publishing speeches by just any president. “Would you buy the text of former President George W. Bush’s speeches?” he asked.