Learning English For Non Native Speakers

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Learning English For Non Native Speakers – Non-English speakers share their English complaints : complaints from Goat and Soda readers and great moments about learning English as a second language

Last month, we partnered with the Rough Translation podcast to publish a story about non-native speakers navigating the world of “good” and “bad” English. Dozens of readers have written their stories about how difficult, frustrating and rewarding it can be to learn and teach English.

Learning English For Non Native Speakers

Learning English For Non Native Speakers

We received three very insightful responses: An English professor from India shared an English word he had been using for years—a word that was nowhere to be found in the dictionary; one author cites “mother tongue” and “mother tongue” as the politics behind the terms, and an engineering professor discusses why the stereotype of “accented English” is vaguely obvious.

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An English professor at Colorado State University who grew up in New Delhi. One day he used a word in class that made him see his relationship with English in a whole new way. Here is her story (edited for clarity and length):

A few months after I started teaching in the United States, I had to make some changes to my teaching schedule. “I’m afraid I’ll have to take an early test,” I said, bracing myself for a groan from the students who would follow me.

I looked around and saw blank expressions on my students’ faces – the kind of “I don’t know what you’re talking about” expression that would make any teacher worth a lecture go back and explain a concept in more detail.

It was then, in the 33rd year of my life, that I discovered that “prepone” was not a real English word, based on the dogma that every legitimate word in a language must be found in a dictionary.

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Time instead of putting something off until a later time. So when I realized that it was not “proper” English, I was bewildered, confused, shocked, stunned (and all words that mean “mind trick” in the Oxford English Dictionary). This is like a paradigm shift in my linguistic self-concept.

I grew up in India, where fluency in English was synonymous with educational and cultural privilege. I am an English major with a large vocabulary, a “cloister school” accent and a penchant for reading Dickens, Austen, and other worthy authors, and my comfort with English has unconsciously shaped my mind. In a world that is linguistically divided into “haves” and “haves,” I know for sure that I am one of the “haves.”

But my poor English in class that day taught me that “owning” a language is unstable and at best deceptive. It’s a lesson I’ve learned over and over again since then. From my tendency to mispronounce “v” and “w” to my first shock on the occasional British TV show (three times instead of three) Pimp My Ride. their lives are driven by cars?!!) – Leaving India freed me from my privileged language bubble and opened my eyes to the rich world of English rather than “orthodox” English.

Learning English For Non Native Speakers

In fact, many varieties of English developed in post-colonial countries (or in countries currently economically dominated by the United States). These countries took a language imposed on them by historical circumstances and turned it into their own language. Thus, by accepting the validity of these native or local versions of English, rather than simply dismissing them as “wrong,” you can begin to reverse the linguistic tyranny that endured long after the fall of the original British Empire. to overthrow.

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In the classroom, I learned to accept my occasional language “differences” with humor. I stammered when I said some words – like a poor virgin (there are many such words in the literature of the 18th century!) and I just stopped and shrugged and smiled and said, “Come on, guys”.

Of course, preposition is still not the right word, but it is so useful and precise that it would be a shame to put it in the wrong pile of English. So, these days I’m on a mission to popularize this handy little word and tell my students about it!

Srikanth Chander Madani is a writer with interests in climate change, social justice and the creative arts. He wrote under the pseudonym Karn Kant

His work tackles questions of identity and “putting people in boxes”—two ideas that often relate to language and taste. She shared her experience of being repeatedly asked to demonstrate her cultural and language skills.

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The words we use to describe the way English is spoken—such as “native,” “native,” and “native” speakers—are often confusing.

Srikanth Chander Madani is a polyglot: “My ‘mother tongue’ is Khbal,” says Madani, “the language of an Indian group that migrated centuries ago between two linguistic regions and includes Sanskrit, Tamil and Kannada.”

He is fluent in English, Hindi, German and French. He is learning Italian and trying to improve his written French. He said that he tried unsuccessfully to learn more languages, but was left with “a lot of words [from those languages] and their music”.

Learning English For Non Native Speakers

It is a source of pride for him to be frequently asked to demonstrate his ability to speak a language in which he is fluent and culturally productive.

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“Once,” he said, “when I was working for a large Swiss company, an American manager asked about my resume and claimed that English was my native language.

“Because ‘mother tongue’ refers to the language you spoke as a child,” he replied with a gentle, patient look.

“Since my parents did not have the same ‘mother tongue’, I grew up in three languages,” said Madani. “And anyway, how does this manager know what language I was brought up in? I’m especially worried because he only has one language.”

Madani said the whole concept of “mother tongue” is a political construct to keep certain people out. “[The American manager] doesn’t want someone like me in the same club as him.”

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According to Madani, it is absurd that many non-American or non-British English speakers would have to jump through these hoops to prove their English proficiency, as their American counterparts do not necessarily have the same or inferior English and in Britain. Create.

“I live in the UK and I know many people whose first (and only) language is English and they make a lot of mistakes when they speak and even more when they write, ” Madani said. “Why should they get a free pass instead of doing TOEFL [Test of English as a Foreign Language] or IELTS [International English Language Testing System]? These tests not only cost money, but add complexity and time to the test. A Kafkaesque process.

Sergio Serrano is a professor of engineering and applied mathematics at Temple University. Serrano, who lived in North America for 40 years after growing up in Bogotá, Colombia, shares his experiences of speaking English in an academic setting and dealing with accent stereotypes.

Learning English For Non Native Speakers

Sergio Serrano has participated in many international scientific conferences around the world. “In a typical situation, a group of foreign researchers is discussing a complex technical question in very precise and detailed formal English,” Serrano said, “until an American joins the group.”

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In our previous article on English conversation, we discussed a study that found a decrease in native speaker comprehension when native English speakers joined the conversation. Research has shown that communication barriers are partly due to native speakers using unusual language, such as cultural expressions.

But this story was inconsistent with Serrano’s experience with English, where non-native English speakers who learn English in the classroom understand grammatical rules and complex technical terms better than native Americans.

For Serrano, when he enters a conversation among non-native American students, the conversation tends to be awkward, but not because the American language is too complicated.

“Instead, the exchange ended because [foreign researchers] could not explain the advanced topics they were discussing to the Americans in plain language. However, the Americans took over the conversation.”

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“After living in North America for 40 years,” he said, “I still have situations where a stranger interrupts me after saying a few words, ‘You have a strong accent. Where are you? ?’ It’s a reminder that you will always be a foreigner in your own country.”

“I politely explained the origin and then I said, “I don’t understand the taste. Where are you from?” said Serrano. In fact, the people who cited Serrano for his “thick accent” don’t seem to understand that everyone (including themselves) has an accent. They are not qualified to teach languages ​​other than languages .their native speakers.When teaching English you need to know the language – grammar rules, spelling and pronunciation, vocabulary and even punctuation

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