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On Reading [Copy link] 中文

Rank: 4

Post time 2005-12-16 23:59:52 |Display all floors
After one has come to know enough basic vocabulary, it is time for him/her to read vigorously such as daily newspaper and periodicals written by native English writers or advanced ESL writers.  The content of daily newspapers and periodicals cover current issues.   All the vocabulary you need to engage in a day-to-day conversation are there for you to learn.

I started off at the age of 12 reading bi-lingual tabloids.  I then abandoned bi-linguals and stick with the South China Morning Post, Asia's best daily English language paper.  Of course, I read a lot of English books borrowed from the libraries.  In those days, libraries were also operated by the USIS (United States Information Services) and British Council.

That was 1964 back in Hong Kong.   You folks are now lucky as a lot of free newspaper sites are accessible from your home computer on broadband linkup.   I strongly advise people to go to Australian, British and American sites instead of wasting time shifting through a lot of mainland sites.   We learn from the native writers so we can speak real English.

I have seen a lot of learners making notes of new words to add to their bank of vocabulary.  To them, my advice is to stop doing so.  It will slow down your reading.  Only when a particular word is crucial to your understanding of the whole piece; otherwise, ignore it.  As you are reading a lot, the same new word will come up again.   After a few times, it will show up in a certain context that you will catch its meaning without any doubt at all.  By not burdening oneself with chewing any new word that pops up, one is achieving more reading.  The mind will unconsciously pick up the English writing patterns for you.   Over time, you will become a brilliant English user.

This method worked for me and I have seen it work for friends who listen to me and practice it.  

After reading enough, you will feel confident to pen something down.   You will be shocked to find out one day that writing is no difficult task to you anymore.  In fact, you will begin to love and enjoy writing.  You are in command of a foreign language now, whilst a lot of learners are still struggling with it.

You may wonder why I choose to post in English rather than Chinese.  I am a Hongkonger and therefore my Cantonese way of expression and writing won't fit your Putonghua palate.   I am not used to writing in Chinese and I also have difficulty typing Chinese characters.

After all, you folks can see that a Chinese can freely express any ideas in neat and simple English only if you know the way and practice it.

A lot amongst us just dream about becoming a good English user.  Yet they keep dreaming and asking instead of jumping in.

Hmmmmmmmm, I let you guys sort it out on your own.

[ Last edited by mdoinit at 2005-12-17 08:25 AM ]

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rovi297 has been deleted
Post time 2005-12-17 03:51:20 |Display all floors

yeah, you are right but...

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Rank: 4

Post time 2005-12-17 07:52:08 |Display all floors

Hear my side of the story

I understand that I started off in a not so nice way as it touches the nerve of friends here in the mainland.  I am a ‘cowboy’ and a ‘loner’, not attached to any institution or party.  I tend to be a bit wild. I beg your pardon, Rovi297. I will switch to the ‘positive mode’ quickly as advised.

Let me clarify a bit if there is any misunderstanding from the last post.  I am not against Putonghua.  In fact, I enjoy listening to those who have good voice as Putonghua to me sounds like music.   I compare this with English speakers who can do it with the right stresses, very pleasant to the ear.  

Here I also want to tell you my 'personal' experience with spoken English.  Most Hongkongers do it in a very ugly ever escalating tone.  (You are happy now!) In a way, the English from Putonghua speakers are on the whole more pleasant to the ear apart from some 'noises' or 'interference' from their own tongue.  (Here I expect frowns!) I always let English corner participants know of this personal perception.  You bet.  There are people who come to their defense by saying that in that way they sound like foreigners.

There is no element of pride involved here.  What I am doing here is to send a message to the forumites that it is indeed possible for a Chinese to get so immersed in a second language that the second language can actually take over and become his/her sort of first (or native) language.   I fully understand that it is not possible to expect every learner of a second language to achieve this.  It is heavy investment and involvement on the part of the learner.

The language environment is also the decisive factor in the feat.  My second job was a chief accountant with a foreign company back in 1972.  Thereafter, I worked mainly in international companies where English was used extensively on the job.  Even if I was not working for foreign companies, I always by fate functioned with deep involvement in English.

How I wished I could learn Putonghua and use it?  It is not a small task for Cantonese speakers to get the tune right when it comes to spoken Putonghua.  The way of expression has to be re-learnt to make sure your listener understand you thoroughly.  For some personal reason, I find it funny as to me Cantonese is Chinese language and my mother tongue.  What the heck?  I am not young and I believe I will rather learn another foreign language as I have mastery of MY Chinese (Cantonese) anyway.  That has nothing to do with my English skills or the patriotic issue.  It’s a matter of choice, an individual’s freedom being exercised.

The Confucius Institutes overseas are now spreading our language out to non-Chinese.  Indeed, Chinese language is a much sought after language as there are forever increasing dialogues between China and the world.  Economics is a decisive factor as well for others to learn our language.

Have a great weekend, folks!

[ Last edited by mdoinit at 2005-12-17 08:27 AM ]

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Post time 2005-12-17 14:56:08 |Display all floors
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Post time 2005-12-17 15:19:45 |Display all floors

I do appreciate very much for your advice!

I think it will be more effective to improve our English if we try to read news on English native website ,such as USA and UK.
But could you please recommend some good website of English countries for me to learn English well? Thank you!S

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Post time 2005-12-17 15:20:59 |Display all floors

personal opinion

As to language, there's no bad or good. only majority and minority
To err is human, to forgive, divine.

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Rank: 6Rank: 6

Post time 2005-12-17 21:27:27 |Display all floors
Mdoinit , I do appreciate you share your experience with us. It is a very COOL post!

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