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My own feeling about the English language is significantly different from yours here in mainland China. To start with, I grew up in a free society and I was lucky enough to be able to read a lot of English books and magazines before I turned 20. English has become almost my mother tongue. I find no curiosity in the western culture as it has been with me ever since I started learning English. Much more, I worked and lived overseas. I traveled extensively to a lot of countries to carry out assignments from my employer.|
I am not against making friends, but then I only seek out those who I think are worthwhile to befriend. It matters not whether these friends are Chinese or foreigners. I am more selective when it comes to foreigners because I know too well the cultural difference. It is not easy to hook up with someone who are culturally compatible.
After giving you this background, I am getting back to what I started off to write about. In China, English learners and lovers are fond of American stuff - anything American. Foreigners at English corners will talk a lot of their life in America and intrroduce things in the American society. There is no harm certainly listening to all these. However, how many of you will finally travel to USA in the end? How many of you will ultimately befriend an American? More likely than not, you are talking to Africans, Pakistanis, Indians, Arabs and other Asians on your job as international sales staff in export oriented businesses here in China. In this awkward situation, you may find that broken English is more useful than superbly fluent English.
It has been observed that the Chinese English learners and lovers aim too high when they study English, focusing on using and committing to memory big big words, and reading native speaker targeted publications. Without knowing it themselves, they are putting in the hurdles in their journey to the mastery of English.
In a nutshell, I am telling you loudly here. LISTEN UP!!! What you need is to express yourself in plain English. You have to be able to talk freely in simple English. I am talking to you now in simple English on something which is closer at home when it comes to learning the language. I will not tell you my international experience as it is pointless, because your priority (first things first) is to be able to use simple English freely to talk about things that happen around you here at home (in China), than to spread your wings flying far off to the distance. You will fall before you reach the distant land.
I remind the people I talk to to keep reading the blogs written by native English speakers. Watch how they use their mother tongue to tell you about what is happening to them day after day and how they feel about life and what they do. Find a good blog using the www.aol.com search engine to make sure you pick up blogs outside of China only. Find a good few blogs that you like and can understand, and keep going back to imitate the language.
Talk about things in English, but this TALK is to write on a piece of paper or punch the keybaord to record it digitally on a computer hard drive. Show what you write to an advanced English user, native speaker or your English coach, to tidy any mistakes that have crept into your writing. Wait until you can write down your thoughts easily in one of these two manners, before you try TALKING it out using your own voice.
Our English learners and lovers are invariably lazy. They don't like to read, and will frown upon reading long English passages. They are too lazy to write or type out their thoughts. Tell me how much you can retain in your brain because you are without fail translating in your head.
Don't come to me again to ask me how to become a fluent English speaker if you don't like or care to read what I just put down here above. Write out your thoughts first before you attempt to speak them out using your mouth. There is no short-cut or magical tricks.