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How to become a capable English user? [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2009-10-1 13:15:18 |Display all floors
It is the dream of millions of young souls in mainland China to become fluent English speakers as they need to talk to international customers to sell the products produced in our factories here in China.

Unless one is a little gifted in foreign languages, it is not really easy to get the proper training in mainland China to make you a real user of English.  There will never be enough qualified trainers around to help them.  Surely there are lots of them around claiming to be English language trainers but even they themselves have problems in using English correctly.

It is also true that if one is just to become an international trade salesperson, broken or poor English will do the job anyhow.  So, it is made clear here that I am working on those who really look forward to brilliant English admired even by native English speakers.  Between a user of broken English and a fluent speaker of natural English, it is a Pacific Ocean apart in quality and image.  This is especially necessary if you are to become an advanced interpretor, translator or international busness executive assuming high level managerial position in multi-national corporations.

I have met people who need to be on the phone daily doing international conference calls with their colleages in a few other regions in different countries.  The pressure is so heavy on these poor listeners and speakers of English.  They have problem with accents from different parts of the world.  Not being able to understand what's going on, they cannot talk back naturally.   Even if they can pick up a bit of the conversation, they cannot talk freely and easily because they just cannot speak without struggling with vocabulary and grammatical rules.  It is in the end stammering rather than an exchange of great ideas..

Getting back to training, it is not something a trainer can impose on the trainee.  the trainee must have the will to succeed and the persistence required to train his own ears and speech ability.   On listening, it is better done with simpler English repeatedly for as long as it takes you no effort in understanding the meaning fo the passage.  On speaking, you have to train yourself to talk also in simple English on daily living issues.  We emphasize on living English.   We are all familiar with the self-introduction speech at English corners.  Can you do one quickly and concisely in easy to understand English in a very natural flow?   Can you read an article and relay that article in your own words comfortably?   Can you talk about what you will normally do after knowing that you are about to wake up in the morning in the minutest details as possible?

I always say that we don't need a book anymore if we are to make someone speak English.  Use your ears and mouth right from the early beginning like babes picking up mother tongue from their parents and people around them.   If you have studied English from primary school through college, much more you don't need any printed material.

Set up a topic and squeeze those English words from your brain cells.  There are more than enough vocabulary and grammatical structures in your head to enable you to talk freely in English.  You just need the practice and training to do it.  Simply talk your mind out and worry not about mistakes in the beginning.  Get a recorder or MP3 to record your own voice.  Review that yourself or let a trainer review that with you together.  Another way to go about this is to write what you want to say in spoken form on paper or pound the keyboard to have them recorded digitally, so someone can review that for you.

This is the only way you can do it.  Don't just think that you can go very far very quickly getting a foreigner to talk to you.  You will no doubt make progress but then you will be restricted to becoming a low level user of English all because your errors are not being corrected or your format will not be improved upon.  With a trainer, he will make sure you know what mistakes you are making and what improvements you can put in to make yourself an excellent user of English.

Let me repeat again.  The English articles you have to read and listen to is one like what you are reading now.  This is written in simple English to be understood readily with no fanciful design to show the literary skills of the writer.  The writer is writing this as if he is making a speech to a large audience.  He is talking to you directly.  If you can utter something like this, you are talking lucidly.

So try to talk lucidly on a small topic first.  Train yourself step by step until you will become an eloguent talker.  In time, you will be surprised that you may become a professional orator.   

Before I close off this talk, I have to remind you that your mind must be able to function properly with your mother tongue Mandarin.   I have seen English learners who are sluggish with their thoughts, so even if you engage him in a Mandarin conversation, he has difficulty interacting lucidly.  In such cases, you need a speech therapist or psychologist rather than a master English trainer.  An English trainer is not going to help you at all, unless you are really special - you can perform better in a foreign language.  Is that possible for a learner?
Walk before you run; write before you talk.

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