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  • 2018.12.14
  • Essay
  • 中&上級

Lessons from a drag show

ドラッグショーから学ぶこと

ドラッグショーから学ぶこと© Getty Images

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英文を見る

Sometimes, inspiration for language learning comes from the most unexpected places. For me, one such place was a cosy restaurant in Osaka a few months ago. The restaurant serves up delicious, high-quality Japanese-style pub dishes, but what I found particularly impressive were the restaurant’s main stars: a group of drag queens.

They take turns performing almost every night, strutting up and down the narrow steps to the stage in dim lighting, all while wearing dangerously high heels. These queens give it their all, sashaying between tables in their glamorous outfits and wigs. What caught my attention the most however, was their lipsyncing.

One of the key skills that sets one drag queen apart from another is how well they can lip-sync to a song. The audience needs to believe that they are actually singing. Things like mouth movements, hand actions and facial expressions all come into play. This is no easy feat even if you’re an English speaker lipsyncing to an English language song. So, when these Osaka drag queens came out and performed in English, with creative dance moves that matched the lyrics, I realised that language learners can learn a lot from drag queens.

Lip-syncing involves understanding the pronunciation, intonation and meaning of song lyrics. Understanding the meaning of lyrics is especially important in order for any choreography to make sense. Take for example someone lip-syncing Beyonce’s famous line: “If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it.” If they weren’t clear on the differences between “putting a ring on something” and “putting a ring around something,” they might mime drawing a circle around something they want in a shopping catalogue, instead of putting a wedding ring on their finger. While it would be pretty funny, it would be the wrong interpretation of that line.

Drag queens are absolutely what all language learners should draw inspiration from. By that, I don’t mean wearing layers of makeup and impossibly long fake eyelashes. Speaking a new language, especially at the beginning, is a bit of a performance – one that is also undoubtedly nervewracking. You need to do some preparation, memorise a few things, and if you want people to understand you, learn to copy. Copy their body language and copy their intonation. And then, just like a drag queen, don’t be afraid to make the performance your own – because a bit of your personality also needs to shine through.

I know it’s not practical for all my students to get up and start lipsyncing dramatically to Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It). At the same time, I have no doubt that if they did it just once, they would learn a lot – no 15centimetre heels required.

重要ボキャブラリーを見る

cosy
(形)こじんまりした、居心地の良い ※アメリカ英語はcozy
◆cosy bed room(こじんまりした寝室)
◆After skiing for a bit, we took a break at the warm, cosy cabin at the bottom of the skiing course.
(少しスキーをした後、スキーコースのふもとにある暖かくて居心地の良いキャビンで休憩を取った)

impressive
(形)見事な、印象的な
◆impressive success(見事な成功)
◆Gwen’s violin performance was quite impressive and had a standing ovation.
(グエンのバイオリンの演奏は実に見事で、総立ちの拍手喝采を受けた)
☞impression(名)印象、感銘
 impress(動)(人に)印象を与える、感動させる

strut
(動)気取って歩く
(名)気取った歩き方
◆People who want to become fashion models have to learn how to strut on stage.
(ファッションモデルになりたい人はステージでの気取った歩き方を学ばねばならない)

involve
(動)~を伴う、必要とする、巻き込む
◆My job involves a lot of traveling overseas.
(私の仕事は多くの海外渡航を伴う)
☞involvement(名)巻き込むこと、関与

choreography
(名)振り付け
◆The students thought up the choreography of their dance routine at the cultural festival all by themselves.
(生徒は文化祭のダンスの振り付けをすべて自分たちで考え出した)
☞choreographic(形)舞踊術の
choreographer(名)振り付け師

mime
(動)~の動作をしてみせる、まねる
(名)ものまね、身ぶり、手ぶり
◆We played a fun game at the party where we tried to guess what action the person was miming.
(私たちはパーティでその人が何をまねしているかを当てる面白いゲームをした)

interpretation
(名)解釈、説明
◆interpretation of the Constitution(憲法の解釈)
◆The interesting thing about art is that it can have many different interpretations that depend on the viewer.
(アートが興味深いのは、見る人によって多くの異なる解釈があるということだ)
☞interpret(動)~を解釈する、説明する

undoubtedly
(副)確かに、間違いなく、疑う余地なく
◆Sarah always gets perfect scores on her tests and is undoubtedly the smartest student in the class.
(サラはテストでいつも満点を取り、間違いなくクラスで一番頭がいい)
☞undoubted(形)疑う余地のない、紛れもない

practical
(形)現実的な、実践的な
(名)実習、実技
◆practical approach(実践的なアプローチ)
◆Those shoes look nice, but they’re not very practical to use on a snowy day.
(それは素敵な靴だが、雪の日に履くにはあまり実用的ではない)
☞practically(副)実際的に、実用的に

和訳を見る

Listening Comprehension Check

Q1. What do the Osaka drag queens do in their performances?

  • A) They pretend to fight.
  • B) They pretend to dance.
  • C) They pretend to sing.

正解を見る

正解は、C
They pretend to sing.

Vocabulary Review Quiz

Q1. For me, one such place was a ( ) restaurant in Osaka a few months ago.

  • A) comfort
  • B) cosy
  • C) casually

正解を見る

正解は、B
cosy

Q2. The restaurant serves up delicious, high-quality Japanese-style pub dishes, but what I found particularly ( ) were the restaurant’s main stars: a group of drag queens.

  • A) impressive
  • B) interest
  • C) impossible

正解を見る

正解は、A
impressive

Q3. They take turns performing almost every night, ( ) up and down the narrow steps to the stage in dim lighting, all while wearing dangerously high heels.

  • A) strutting
  • B) stunting
  • C) starting

正解を見る

正解は、A
strutting

Q4. Lip-syncing ( ) understanding the pronunciation, intonation and meaning of song lyrics.

  • A) procures
  • B) involves
  • C) assumes

正解を見る

正解は、B
involves

Q5. Understanding the meaning of lyrics is especially important in order for any ( ) to make sense.

  • A) singer
  • B) comedy
  • C) choreography

正解を見る

正解は、C
choreography

Q6. If they weren’t clear on the differences between “putting a ring on something” and “putting a ring around something,” they might ( ) drawing a circle around something they want in a shopping catalogue, instead of putting a wedding ring on their finger.

  • A) mime
  • B) acts
  • C) moving

正解を見る

正解は、A
mime

Q7. While it would be pretty funny, it would be the wrong ( ) of that line.

  • A) underestimate
  • B) belief
  • C) interpretation

正解を見る

正解は、C
interpretation

Q8. Speaking a new language, especially at the beginning, is a bit of a performance - one that is also ( ) nervewracking.

  • A) unexpected
  • B) undoubtedly
  • C) undertone

正解を見る

正解は、B
undoubtedly

Q9. I know it’s not ( ) for all my students to get up and start lipsyncing dramatically to Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).

  • A) personal
  • B) practical
  • C) punctual

正解を見る

正解は、B
practical

Speaking practice

Q1. Do you think lip-syncing can be a good way to learn a language? Why or why not?※この問題に解答はありません

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