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Knowledge vs Skill: the true nature of the English language [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2009-11-14 15:28:10 |Display all floors
I translated a Chinese article into English yesterday.  
http://bbs.oralpractice.com/view ... &extra=page%3D1

Honestly, I am amazed because you mainland folks can write so much and in so much detail on a topic that is so familiar to anyone struggling to learn the English language here in mainland China.

I am also writing long passages but it is in English.  There is a purpose in the writing as I do it always in simple English and in an informal tone more like spoken English.  I have my own justification.

It is so easy to find learning material for textbook English and almost anything which is academic and therefore they all fall under the area of KNOWLEDGE.

English language unfortunately is a SKILL.  Learn it and let it become part of you.  Do you have to think a lot before you say something in Mandarin?  Certainly not.  Likewise, if you are learning English language, bear in mind that the most ideal level (only if you can fit in and are willing to do so) is to be able to open your mouth and say something in English without thinking (exactly like when you are speaking Chinese).

In your brain, there will be two distinctive zones.  One dedicated to your mother tongue Chinese and another to the foreign language i.e. English.  At the advanced stage, you won't be translating.  You won't be checking with the grammatical rules you have learnt before.  You will not even check with the sentence patterns.  You speak English somewhat like your mother tongue.  You don't have to speak like the native English speakers, mind you!  Use simple English that others (native or non-native English speakers) can understand you readily.

If you belong to the academia or you are an English literature reader, you know too well what you need.  I am talking about this in a country where English is not a  living language.  Whatever your final goal in learning English is, you better train yourself first to use simple English and living English.  Forget about the knowledge side of the language.

Make English like your reflex.  If I pinch your arm hard, you will give me a loud OUCH as an automatic reflex.  You will not wait and search your brain for what word to scream out.

Correct me if I am wrong.  I don't seem to have come across writings in the same fashion I am now doing.  I think this is what our English leanrers need.  It is an expressive style.  I am speaking my mind out as if I am talking to my reader.  I am not writing in long winding sentences of complicated structure to impress the readers.  I want them to appreciate the style as this is what they need if they have to express themselves easily.  The flow of thought is important.  It is spontaneous.

If you keep on reading passages like this, you will pick up the sense for English.  The sense for English is of utmost importance in case you are not aware of it.  You will never be able to earn it by remembering all the rules in your grammar books.  Even if you are an English grammar scholar, there is no guarantee that you can speak easily (if you are a non-native learner of English).  

That reminds me of writers.  Certainly, there are writer training courses in our college education.  However, the best trainer in writing is nobody but yourself.  If you simply enroll in a writer's training course and sit through it like learning a knowledge, you are simply working for a certificate to show others that you have done a course on writing.  The important thing again is sitting down and pounding the keyboard to come up with writings.  The more you write, the more skilfull you will become as a writer.  

As usual, I drifted away from the topic I am writing on.

I am blogging actively in a special forum dedicated to me as a teacher in the OralPractice.com site.  This is the link:-
http://bbs.oralpractice.com/forumdisplay.php?fid=42&page=2
Walk before you run; write before you talk.

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