ESL - English as a Second Language
I don't speak your language!
How hard can it be to learn English?
If you’re an English speaking person and you don’t travel to other countries then you probably have no idea what it is really like to be in a foreign land where you do not know the language and trying to learn while you start a new life. Intense! and not easy!
What is it like to find a job, an apartment, buy the things you need without knowing what people are saying? So many people learn English as a second language, we who speak it from childhood have a pretty easy time of it because we can go just about everywhere on earth and find people speaking our language. Other languages are automatically translated for us everywhere we go.
So I am posting a link so you can find out (below) This funny little music video was made up by an Italian who wanted us to know what its like to hear English without understanding it. For me, not understanding another language is sometimes a lot of fun! I actually go to foreign movies and ignore the subtitles so I can get this feeling of being a little child. I know it sounds crazy, but I like to hear people speaking and not understand what they‘re saying, it makes me feel kind of free. Of course, I wouldn’t want this to be happening all the time.
I have some friends from South America who came to the United States knowing very little English. When they first got here it was very understandable that they would stay together and venture into the English speaking world slowly. But as time went by, and I visited their home I discovered that the women there were learning English very, very slowly while the men who worked and played with English speakers were becoming fluent very quickly. So my friend Anna and I made a plan to teach each other our native languages. She would learn English from me and I would learn Spanish from her. I already had studied Spanish and was at an intermediate level.
We had a great time teaching each other words and learning about each other’s cultures. I would highly recommend this method of learning. We really liked each other, laughed a lot and spent time cooking and shopping together and I learned a great deal from her. I loved the food she taught me to make and hearing about the places and people in her country. She also learned some English from me but refused to speak it! It was not an equal exchange of language. Finally, I asked “Anna, why don’t you speak English today, and we won’t speak any Spanish at all unless to tell you a word or two?” But she replied “I don’t want to appear foolish! Someone might hear my mistakes!”
After many years of our friendship she was still not confident enough to speak English because she was embarrassed. She said that I often sounded very funny when I made mistakes speaking Spanish to her and she didn’t want people to laugh at her the way she laughed at me! I told her I didn’t mind, because I knew that I would seem funny for awhile and that I had a strange American accent, but that was the only way to learn. Practice makes perfect!
She now speaks English all the time and speaks very well but it took her 30 years! She worked for her husband and they spoke Spanish together most of the time. I am sure if she had formal classes and learned with other Spanish speakers she would have taken on the English language quickly. But it is so easy just to stay with your family and friends, speaking your native language.
It is critical that if you come to live in the U.S. you learn English as fast as possible in order to get better jobs that match the skills you have. Otherwise, like some of my friends from South America, you will be stuck in janitorial, maid, and low-paying kitchen work jobs until you are able to communicate. People I know who actually study the language in junior college courses have great results.
I would like to suggest that you look into ESL (English as Second Language) courses that are offered in every town and city either at the high school or at the junior colleges. You will find other people learning at your level and it will be much easier to make the transition into this foreign world. Just look for the high school or junior college closest to you and find out about evening classes - they are called ESL classes for adults.
And for the people who are natives to English speaking countries - HAVE SOME PATIENCE! Often you will be served by those whose accents are strong and it may be hard to understand them. Just put yourself in their place for a minute and remember listening to foreign languages you do not understand. At least they are making the effort to communicate in English - while many of us English speaking people never even try to master another language!
What English sounds like if you don't know it!
- What English Sounds Like to Foreigners is Today\'s BIG Thing in Music - NOV 03, 2009
An Italian singer wrote this song with gibberish to sound like English. If you've ever wondered what other people think Americans sound like, this is it.By Adriano Celentano.