infodesk
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Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 3:32 am

Those of us who have English as our mother tongue tend to forget just how lucky we are. There are a lot of people who post here on airliners who don't have English as their first language, yet it never ceases to amaze me what a good command of it they have.

So my question to all you non-native speakers.....where / how did you learn such good English?
"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
 
JRadier
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 3:35 am

English, I don´t get what y´all talkin bout

Signed,

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swissgabe
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 3:40 am

Quoting JRadier (Reply 1):
where / how did you learn such good English?

Reading Newspapers, Books and Magazines, watching movies in original language (e.g. English) and just talking it. Finally there was also school, but that didn't bring more then the above. That could also be called "learning by doing".
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AsstChiefMark
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 3:46 am

Quoting Infodesk (Thread starter):
There are a lot of people who post here on airliners who don't have English as their first language, yet it never ceases to amaze me what a good command of it they have.

Definitely. It's humbling the way some apologize for proclaiming their "poor" English skills. Yet, their mastery of the language is, in fact, flawless. It often puts native Anglophones to shame.

Mark
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solnabo
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 4:08 am

Learned it from third grade in school, reading english news on I-net, watching CNN/Fox on TV, every foreign TV program have subtitles here. Tricky one is some of the the slang that I don´t understand...

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[email protected]
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:29 am

First from parents, then school took over.

[email protected]
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ordryan28
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:00 am

Quoting Infodesk (Thread starter):
yet it never ceases to amaze me what a good command of it they have.

Definitely. The most astonishing part of it is the difficulty in learning the language. That shows how relentless some people are...good job, guys!  thumbsup 
Whoever said winning is not everything never fought cancer.
 
Boeing744
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:04 am

Quoting Infodesk (Thread starter):
yet it never ceases to amaze me what a good command of it they have.

Definitely! As a native English speaker I could name many members on here who's written English skills clearly surpass mine. The ones that particularly impress me are the Germans and Scandinavians.
 
[email protected]
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:05 am

Actually, not many people in Norway learn English. Throughout every English class I've been in, only one or two pupils (apart from me) spoke English. Everyone else talked like Americans. As do most Norwegians who talk "English".

[email protected]
"If guns don't kill people, people kill people - does that mean toasters don't toast toast, toast toast toast?"
 
Dougloid
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:20 am

I learned it at Mama's knee in New Jersey....which is probably why a lot of people here in Iowa think I can't speak English, either.

I've never understood why folks get all upset about regionalisms or idioms. There's a time and place for correct grammar, I suppose. I mean, we're all one big happy dysfunctional family, right?

 wave   wave   wave 
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RIXrat
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:41 am

Even Americans have their problems. I grew up in the Pennsylvania Dutch (actually German) community and I still have to watch out for some idioms like "youse all" and the name George, which in some sections is pronounced "Chorge." So you see, it's not all about Americanisms, or Englishims, but slipping into understanding each other, and forget correcting another's typo unless it changes the meaning.
 
Airdolomiti
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:42 am

Learned the basics in elementary school; lots of travelling, reading and watching movies/TV did the rest!  Smile

Federico
 
sw733
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:44 am

From my parents, who are American (Chicago area) born and raised, moved to Namibia just a couple years before I was born.

English is an official language of Namibia, but only 6% of people speak it
 
AsstChiefMark
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:50 am

Quoting RIXrat (Reply 10):
I grew up in the Pennsylvania Dutch (actually German) community

I worked with a Pennsylvania Dutch person. He almost sounded Irish to me.

Mark
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Scooter01
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:54 am

Quoting Infodesk (Thread starter):
Those of us who have English as our mother tongue tend to forget just how lucky we are. There are a lot of people who post here on airliners who don't have English as their first language, yet it never ceases to amaze me what a good command of it they have.

Thank you 
 
In my own case, I grew up with my Latvian grandparents who lived with us and we all lived in the house of my father's mother who was Norwegian. So from them and my mother came Latvian.
When my father came home from work the language switched over to Norwegian, so the concept of speaking more than one language came natural to me.

My father was in the airline business, so he always brought some aviation magazines for me, so from looking at the pictures and reading the captions I started to get the idea. Boy, I really do miss Air BP and the great magazine that ESSO gave out. (Any body else rememers them?)

I also believe reading the instructions of how to assemble my AIRFIX model kits tought me some of the aeronautical terms. At 13-14 years of age I started buying MAD Magazine and loved it.

In '73 I moved to Ontario and stayed there 23 years.

We also had German and French in school, but really never got to use any of them, so unfortunately those skills are rather poor.

Scooter

[Edited 2007-02-18 23:02:04]
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RIXrat
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:57 am

Solnabo made an interesting observation about TV in Sweden. I've lived there for a total of nine years and speak the language, but captioned TV shows and movies are mostly shown in the original language which helps the viewer grasp that language and be better at it than some of his/her neighbors.

In Germany, France and Spain everything on TV is dubbed in their own language. Yet, in Portugal many foreign shows are in the original language with sub-titles. Guess, where for a tourist, it is easier to communicate in English.

I don't pretend to be an Anglophile, but I do think that TV shows should be shown in their original language with sub-titles so that the viewer can acclimate himself to the language and learn. This is like baby language, if you know what I mean. The more exposure and the more you learn. I ran across a 12-year old kid in Istanbul at the market who spoke three languages and when I asked him how he had learned them, he simply said TV, and all of his accents were correct.
 
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carmenlu15
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:59 am

I learned most of it at school; oddly enough, I never took any extra classes apart from the regular second language program at my school. After I graduated, I took a two-year course on English-Spanish translation, which helped improve my language skills even further. I try to practice my English skills every day, by reading, listening, watching TV... and of course A.net. Big grin
Don't expect to see me around that much (if at all) -- the contact link should still work, though.
 
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LTU932
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:20 am

Base knowledge comes from 3.5 years in my old High School in Germany, then just touching up at the German School in Costa Rica, along with reading and watching TV.
Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer. - Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 208
 
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PipoA380
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:33 am

Quoting Carmenlu15 (Reply 16):
and of course A.net

Carmen is a spelling-corrector, grammar-optimiser and syntax-manupulator. Don't even try to make a mistake while working in the same department than her, you might get kicked very hard  Wink

As for me, I've had the opportunity to spend 2 years time in the USA when I was 10-12 years old. This helped me a lot, and I got to learn English in 3 months time! I still use it everyday on a.net, on TV, on the Internet or just with people.
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bongo
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:36 am

German School when I was a child and 6 months of study in London plus read magazines, watch tv and practice with friends.
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pelican
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:46 am

School, which was rather bad, reading English literature (e.g. Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, LoR...), watching movies in English, living in Copenhagen and a.net (still learning).

pelican
 
BMIFlyer
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:22 am

Parents  Wink

School  Smile



Lee
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HAWK21M
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:20 pm

Out here in BOM.English along with Hindi,Marathi & Gujrati is commonly spoken.At School English is the Primary Language & that helped.
So I guess English speaking is not a problem in that sense.Although We normally use a combination of Languages when talking with Friends.
regds
MEL
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carmenlu15
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 11:38 pm

Quoting PipoA380 (Reply 18):
Carmen is a spelling-corrector, grammar-optimiser and syntax-manupulator.

Surely you mean manipulator, Phil...  Wink

Quoting PipoA380 (Reply 18):
Don't even try to make a mistake while working in the same department than her, you might get kicked very hard

Ooh! How dare you spread such lies about me?!




... c'mon, my boots aren't that hard!  Wink
Don't expect to see me around that much (if at all) -- the contact link should still work, though.
 
ME AVN FAN
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Mon Feb 19, 2007 11:49 pm

Quoting Infodesk (Thread starter):
where / how did you learn

A) the first few words from relatives who came round from Texas when I was 5 and 8 years old. I learnt such things as telling an aunt on "the throne" : " meal is ready you can come down "
B) in secondary school from a teacher who was Anglophile and a UK-enthusiast if there has ever been one
C) in apprentice-ship school, from a teacher who was as dry as the desert, but in reality really good !
D) in London, for 3 months, in the "LTC School of English" on Oxford Street, just beside Tottenham Court Road
- - with domicile just near Paddington Station
E) in a course for the Cambridge Proficiency Exam, the teacher a Cambridge/U.K. educated man originally from North Carolina
F) practical use on travels to Britain, Ireland, Texas and North Africa
 
skidmarks
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:01 am

I've yet to learn English as wot she is spoke.

Wot I no is from my mum and skool. And a dysfunctional career as a teknishun in the air farce.

Actually, the standard shown by many Johnny Foreigners on here is exceptional. They actually show up many of us native speakers. Makes me humble to see so many speak my language fluently (or write it anyway) when my command of any foreign language is marginal at best, abysmal as a norm! Big grin

Well done chaps.

Andy  old 
Growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional
 
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KaiGywer
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:08 am

Quoting [email protected] (Reply 8):
Everyone else talked like Americans. As do most Norwegians who talk "English".

I have a friend who speaks very British  Smile

Quoting PipoA380 (Reply 18):
Don't even try to make a mistake while working in the same department than her, you might get kicked very hard



Quoting Carmenlu15 (Reply 23):
Ooh! How dare you spread such lies about me?!

Phil....you're fired Big grin
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, an
 
agill
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:30 am

School, films, books and now daily talks with an american girl  Smile So now I speak english with a southern accent.
 
ajd1992
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Tue Feb 20, 2007 3:07 am

I was practically fluent before starting primary school... y'know... being English and all  Silly I know a Dane that puts me to shame though, he is quite literally bi-lingual. I also have a poor grip on foreign languages  Sad
 
An-225
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:53 am

Came to the US in 1995 with no knowledge and just had to pick it up. There's no other way.

Alex.
Money does not bring you happiness. But it's better to cry in your own private limo than on a cold bus stop.
 
andaman
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Tue Feb 20, 2007 6:27 am

Quoting [email protected] (Reply 8):
Actually, not many people in Norway learn English. Throughout every English class I've been in, only one or two pupils (apart from me) spoke English. Everyone else talked like Americans. As do most Norwegians who talk "English".

[email protected]

In my school we were told we shouldn't speak 'American' but 'English'  Smile
I started to learn English at the age of nine, like most Finns who started their school in 1970s. And like in other Nordic countries, TV has helped a lot, foreign tv programs are usually shown in the original language, in Finland with Finnish/Swedish subtitles. A lot of American/British stuff on tv here.
Chinese cookie in SFO: "You're doomed to a life of forever travelling abroad and to be able to afford it!"
 
Banco
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Tue Feb 20, 2007 6:29 am

Quoting An-225 (Reply 29):
Came to the US in 1995 with no knowledge and just had to pick it up. There's no other way.

Really? You have my admiration. So after 12 years are you completely fluent (i.e. thinking in English) now?
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
An-225
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Tue Feb 20, 2007 6:43 am

Quoting Banco (Reply 31):
Really? You have my admiration. So after 12 years are you completely fluent (i.e. thinking in English) now?

Well, I am pretty much fluent, but I don't really think in any language - I just convey my thoughts in whatever language is appropriate for the moment. I speak Russian at home. Plus, the younger you are, the easier it is to pick up the language, and I was 15 at the time.

Alex.
Money does not bring you happiness. But it's better to cry in your own private limo than on a cold bus stop.
 
prebennorholm
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:18 am

Well, I worked for a British company for 30+ years. I think that during an ordinary working day I talk more English than Danish. I definitely read and write more English than Danish.

In earlier days I think that John Wayne was one of the best English teachers, at least for us Scandinavians who always get TV and cinema films with text rather than synchronized sound.

When in Germany, watching TV, then we had to laugh our a$$ off when John Wayne shouted "Hände hoch". To us Scandinavians a western movie with non-American sound was simply blasphemous.

Ich spreche aber auch Deutsch ohne grosse Probleme. Dass war flüher fast notwendich wenn mann ein Däne ist. Jetzt verwende ich die Deutsche Sprache am Meisten wenn ich jedes Jahr in der Schweiz Uhrlaub mache.

Maybe one day in a not too distant future we should also teach the Scotsmen to talk English? Now as the Poles, Hungarians, Lithuanians, and even some Frenchmen have become fluent in English, then the Scotsmen seem to be the only European people who are unable to make themselves understood in that language.

It is big advantage for Danes that all surrounding countries talk languages of the same family, the Germanic group of languages.Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Danish, Dutch, German, English - those languages are a lot closer than when we go to other groups of languages. I'm really impressed when some people for instance talk Swedish, Finnish, Italian and Russian. In addition to English of course.
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
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Scooter01
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:51 am

Once on a stop-over in Bruxelles when I was 12 my parents and I vent to see a movie. Don't remember which one, except that it was a western-movie. What I DO remember is that it was in English with Flemish and French subtitles. And by listening to the English words AND reading the FLEMISH subtitles, I figured out pretty much what was said.

Scooter
There is always a good reason to watch airplanes
 
bill142
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Tue Feb 20, 2007 9:42 am

Guess it kind of came naturally.
 
PLANAR
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:13 pm

Quoting Infodesk (Thread starter):
Those of us who have English as our mother tongue tend to forget just how lucky we are. There are a lot of people who post here on airliners who don't have English as their first language, yet it never ceases to amaze me what a good command of it they have.

So my question to all you non-native speakers.....where / how did you learn such good English?

Thank you very much for those kind words.
I should say its my fortune that I grew up in India, which is a country which not only has an abundance of different languages but also actively encourages the use of English in daily discourse.

I myself am totally fluent in 4 languages including English. In fact many of my friends back home and I can safely generalise this to many Indians, can easily understand atleast 3 languages - One being Hindi, the other their own regional language and finally of course, English.

It is also a matter of pride for many Indians to be able to converse and write in English flawlessly.

From my childhood growing-up years in India, I have always observed that parents from all the strata of society take special care that their children are fluent in English and encourage its usage wherever possible.

It should be of no surprise then that today India happens to be the home of one of the largest groups of non-native English speakers.
Flim-Flam Balderdash...
 
An-225
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:53 pm

Correction, I came in 1996. Sorry, typo.

Alex.
Money does not bring you happiness. But it's better to cry in your own private limo than on a cold bus stop.
 
Banco
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Tue Feb 20, 2007 7:25 pm

Quoting PLANAR (Reply 36):
It should be of no surprise then that today India happens to be the home of one of the largest groups of non-native English speakers.

Given the huge influence on the language, I'm not sure you could call Indians speaking English "non-native". India recently overtook the UK for number of "native" English speakers (i.e. brought up with it) and the total number of English speakers also recently overtook the United States.

Indeed, the future of English is to a large extent going to be governed by India. Should be fascinating.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
JJJ
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Tue Feb 20, 2007 7:32 pm

Mostly at school and listening to some music. Then came travelling and finally a bad Terry Pratchett addiction did the rest.
 
Doona
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Tue Feb 20, 2007 7:42 pm

I'm a native English speaker, I used to have a Killarney accent, since that is where my Irish relatives live, but at age eleven I converted to white-bread Nashville-speak, when my dad moved there. I've gotten rid of most of the Nashville when I speak English, but some of it shines through at times.  ashamed 

Cheers
Mats
Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
 
rootsair
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:51 pm

International school close to Geneva from 1st to 13th grade !!!!!

regards

BM  airplane   wave 
A man without the knowledge of his past history,culture and origins is like a tree without roots
 
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B747-437B
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Tue Feb 20, 2007 9:57 pm

Quoting PLANAR (Reply 36):
I myself am totally fluent in 4 languages including English.

This is a pet peeve of mine; namely Indians who claim fluency in multiple languages. I've interviewed Indians who claimed to be fluent in languages where I claim "basic" familiarity and my skills were often superior to theirs.

Anyone who went through the Indian education system and used it as their exclusive source of English instruction cannot claim to be fluent in the language. I went through the Indian education system myself and scored a perfect score on the TOEFL, but it took enrollment in a US university to highlight the fact that my English skills were nowhere near acceptable standards there. I had to spend almost a year in remedial ESL courses to bring myself up to the level of my classmates.

One of the tests of fluency in a language is the ability to function with that language despite any variations in dialect, accent, etc... Most Indians are unable to deal with these, ergo they should not claim fluency.
 
don81603
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:09 pm

Hookt on fonix werked fer meee.
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
 
baroque
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:14 pm

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 3):
Definitely. It's humbling the way some apologize for proclaiming their "poor" English skills. Yet, their mastery of the language is, in fact, flawless. It often puts native Anglophones to shame.

Very true ChiefMark, it is humbling. Most of the posts that defy understanding come, alas, from those who from their flags appear to be "english" speakers. And as a number of posters have stated, english speakers tend to be awful in other languages.

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 33):
In earlier days I think that John Wayne was one of the best English teachers, at least for us Scandinavians who always get TV and cinema films with text rather than synchronized sound.

Then thank heavens you don't write as JW used to speak! However, be careful. Now we know what to look for!!  beady 
 
agill
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Wed Feb 21, 2007 1:36 am

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 33):


In earlier days I think that John Wayne was one of the best English teachers, at least for us Scandinavians who always get TV and cinema films with text rather than synchronized sound.

Yes that is a really efficient way of learning, especially for getting the "melody" of the language down. When I was a kid I could quote long phrases from films without really being sure of what the individual words meant.

Quote:

When in Germany, watching TV, then we had to laugh our a$$ off when John Wayne shouted "Hände hoch". To us Scandinavians a western movie with non-American sound was simply blasphemous.

Hey you haven't seen anything before you've seen South Park in German. That is really funny.
 
Banco
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Wed Feb 21, 2007 1:57 am

Quoting B747-437B (Reply 42):
where I claim "basic" familiarity

Anyone who knows the word "peeve", and also how to conjoin it with "pet" has a damn sight more than "basic" familiarity!  yes 
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
ME AVN FAN
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Wed Feb 21, 2007 2:23 am

Quoting Banco (Reply 46):
Anyone who knows the word "peeve", and also how to conjoin it with "pet" has a damn sight more than "basic" familiarity!

I therefore thought this "basic familiarity" to be the "understatment of the week" !
 
Dougloid
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Wed Feb 21, 2007 3:12 am

Quoting Doona (Reply 40):
I'm a native English speaker, I used to have a Killarney accent, since that is where my Irish relatives live, but at age eleven I converted to white-bread Nashville-speak, when my dad moved there. I've gotten rid of most of the Nashville when I speak English, but some of it shines through at times.

Cheers
Mats

People here in Iowa think I sound too Jersey, and I haven't lived there in 30 years.

Some things you just don't get rid of easily, although I don't know why it would merit that sad smiley on your part.

In fact my accent landed me a consulting job in which I made $30,000 in six months....
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
LHStarAlliance
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RE: Where Did You Learn Your English?

Wed Feb 21, 2007 4:00 am

Quoting Infodesk (Thread starter):

At A.net Big grin
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Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos