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 10 Stages Of Learning English As A Second Language

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PostSubject: 10 Stages Of Learning English As A Second Language   Sat Aug 09, 2014 3:04 pm

10 Stages Of Learning English As A Second Language


1. When you first start to learn English, it doesn’t seem so hard…

Your teacher gives you a list of words and common phrases to learn and you try them out in class. Hello, my name is, how are you, please, thank you. Before long, you can string those words together into full sentences. You start to feel like a jedi master.


2. Then, it all starts to get a bit more difficult.

Once you’ve learned a basic vocabulary, you then have to deal with grammar. As famous writer Bill Bryson once said ‘“English grammar is so complex and confusing for the one very simple reason that its rules and terminology are based on Latin, a language with which it has precious little in common.” Suddenly, the world seems like a much darker place. Is it ‘I feel bad’, or ‘I feel badly’? You wish you knew for sure so you could tell your teacher just how much you hate this class.


3. There’s only one thing for it…hardcore studying.

These weird grammatical rules aren’t going to learn themselves. Unless you want to quit, you just have to get to grips with them, which means studying. Lots of studying. But it’s ok, because YOU CAN DO IT. You buy extra textbooks, download podcasts and assemble your class notes and prepare for an epic battle with the English language…


4. But it takes you while to get started.

You can’t help yourself. You have to procrastinate for a while. After all, it’s hard to force yourself to settle down to an evening of learning all the possible meanings and uses of the word ‘present’. “Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present” WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?


5. And once you do, it isn’t much fun.

You eventually get started with your study session, but suddenly realise that you’ve been rereading the sentence “We use the reciprocal pronouns each other and one another when two or more people do the same thing” for three hours. And you’re asleep.


6. Then, something miraculous happens. It all starts to make sense.

All of these odd rules and weird words start to come together. You use full sentences in class. You know the difference between indefinite and relative pronouns. You surprise yourself by writing the phrase ‘This is George, whose brother went to school with me’ instead of who’s. You figure out what ‘whom’ means and when you should use it. You’re basically invincible.


7. You go to the UK and have to speak to a taxi driver.

For some reason, cab drivers in UK cities all have the strongest regional accents imaginable. It’s even worse if you go to Scotland. Even English people can’t understand a Scottish accent half the time. You feel all of your newfound confidence start to crumble away.


8. But with a bit of practice, you soon begin to understand different accents!

Once you’ve been in the UK for a while, you gradually learn the difference between a cockney and a Geordie. Once you can understand a few regional accents, you feel like a true language hero. Is there anything you can’t do now you’ve mastered the art of conversation with real life English speakers?


9. Idioms, however, still make absolutely no sense at all.

You’ve mastered plurals and know that it’s one goose and two geese. You can write essays about the conflict in the Middle East in English with hardly a single grammatical error, you can even converse with a Glaswegian taxi driver…but what do you do when people use weird idioms? Why, get confused, of course! You ask someone when they will be ready, and they say ‘at the drop of a hat’.

You offer up a piece of work to the teacher, only to be told that it doesn’t quite ‘cut the mustard’. Don’t they know that English is your second language? After a while, you get annoyed and print out a list of idioms and learn them off by heart. There are about 1000, but it’s worth it.


10. Congratulations, you’ve done it!

Once you’ve got the hang of plurals, questions and idioms- not to mention 101 other weird grammatical rules- you’re pretty much fluent. Well done! English is one of the hardest languages to master. It’s needlessly difficult, but hey, who cares. You’re an English speaker now!
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