I had a half-day at work today. This would’ve been awesome if it wasn’t for the fact that they sent me home because I looked so miserable. I guess back-to-back days of baking in the sun and then a 5-hour excursion kind of took their toll on me. During lunch I scarfed down some medicine at work and then headed home to sleep. I ended up sleeping for about 5 hours.
When I woke up I took a few minutes to reorient myself and then headed down to the cafeteria for dinner. I ran into Butterfly in the cafeteria and helped him practice his English. Though after a few minutes it the conversation degraded into me ranting about the difficulties of learning languages. In the end I gave him some tips on how to improve, the main one being: don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
Language teachers always tell their students that, and I think I’ve finally come to realize how frustrating it can be for them. Most of the people I’m teaching English to have taken some formal classes and built up a fairly strong vocabulary…but they’re too afraid of making mistakes. The majority of time when I speak to them in English, usually at their request, it quickly deteriorates into a Japanese conversation. It’s really awkward to keep speaking English when the only responses you get are in Japanese -_-;
Anyways, most of the people I talk to can create intelligible English sentences, but they’re so obsessed with having perfect grammar and pronunciation that they falter after they get a few words into their sentence. I always emphasize that their goal should be to get me to understand what their saying rather than trying to sound like a native speaker. I kind of reinforce this by telling them that sometimes people don’t think I’m a native speaker of English. It irks me whenever people tell me “Your English is really good!” Yeah…don’t mind the fact that I’ve lived in America my entire life >:|