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Originally posted by xunhuan_2002 at 2008-2-20 09:55
I'd like to disclose my own thought about the difference of written english and spoken english.I think I can give a second thought on which vocabulary is more apropriate in the following sentence I'm going to write,however,turning to the spoken English,I take no time to dig out the eligible word to express my idea in the very moment of that conversation scene. I suppose your point of view will surely work due to my above concerns.
I find out a strange phenomenon about me,when I speak English to my foreign cusotomer,I suddenly realise I can't search the right word to express,on the other hand,I feel I've accumulated many "amazing words" in my memory,but got no chances to use them when intending to deliver a speech.It's a contradiction,isn't it? a big headache.
xunhuan_2002, good to see that you are brave enough to speak frankly and openly about the problems you have been running into, which is not uncommon, you are not alone and we all have been experiencing the similar situations. Before we start to look for the solutions to breakthrough the roadblocks, we must identify what is the root cause of it.
I believe the root cause is that many of us speak English by translating from Chinese, the Chinese characters come first, the English words follow suit. In this awkward way, we are lucky if a Chinese character and an English word is an one-to-one match, however, in reality, the matching thing or the translating thing is not so kind, but ending up with one-to-many, one-to-zero (too hard to come up with a new word), many-to-many, etc. When we run into those unfortunate scenarios, the flow of the sentence will be broken, and our confidence will be dropping, things will be going from bad to worse ...
Let us move a few steps backward to take a look at how we understand a new Chinese character that we bump into. We may look it up in the dictionary or ask others to explain to us in the simpler, easier Chinese characters or sentences.
The basic question is, can we do it in the same way in English? If yes. Why don't we actually do it? Maybe because that is too hard... yeah, it is too tough to change our habits, yeah, it is hard in the beginning. You know, No pain no gain. actually, you will find out that is not so difficult as it sounds, besides, that is enjoyable and rewarding. I believe that is the way, or put it figuratively, the road to the destination of speaking English fluently.
For example, when you and your customers are bargaining a deal, you wanted to use a few certain technical English terms you are not sure, if you are able to explain those terms in the plain English words, you won't be panic or lose confidence, and most of time you will be given a chance explain them in another way with the plain English, and the flow of conversation and fluency of your talking won't be interrupted because you have a plan B, because you know how to explain the complex things in plain English.
In short, focusing on how to explain the complex English terms, words, scenes etc. in plain, simple English is the way to go. Understanding a English word by translating it into Chinese is a lazy way, more harm than good, and sooner or later it will come back to haunt us! sorry if I put it strongly.