This is for Non-native English Speakers and Learners 🙂
English is an alien language in our home. May be in your home too if you were born in a family which uses a non-English mother tongue. What happens when your family, friends and neighbours also belong to similar families? Well to know that you can visit Tamil Nadu and many parts of India. Also in China you could explore such a scenario.
Welcome to all English using debutant 🙂
All it had begun with A for Apple, when my father enrolled me in a Matric school. The Experience with English for me and my friends remained only with the books and exams. We had no such strict rules in the 90’s as the present schools have. Yes they had not fined us for speaking in Tamil, so except for writing the tests and homework we never used English elsewhere. This probably the reason we are good at our mother tongue. Now a days kids must have to talk in English within the school campus and even many parents continue the same in their homes.
But we were not! Most of the parents including mine, Tamil is the medium of communication in our homes, and while we friends played cricket or any social gatherings we never used English. Okay, what about learning English as a subject. Well, that typically ended with marks. Especially at higher grades when we had paper II on grammar, our teachers equipped us with special techniques to score marks, even I doubt Oxford Professors may not know their tricks 🙂
My sincere attempts to learn and speak in English had begun when I was in my 5th std, if my memory is correct. I had an opportunity to speak to a foreigner, probably she might be interested to talk to me because I was a little and chubby boy. I managed mostly with “Yes” and “No” and by asking her the questions. Later, I remember an incident at my second school, during my 11th grade. When my English teacher made so many red underlines on a speech that I had prepared, I gave up almost but that incident challenged me to take up the task of learning English so seriously. I pestered my parents to get me The Hindu Newspaper though I hardly understood much of the news, except the Sports page and TV programs’ Schedule. Editorials was never in my options to read.
There was another story why I had decided ‘NO’ to Engineering, though I was a top scorer and opted my graduation in Business Management. So I had no other option to get fluency in English, not for surviving the college but for my future career. I was then still in a rural backdrop, so talking in English in our college was an element to mock a fun. That was the time I decided to break the Ice, we organized regular mini-seminars at lunch breaks and practiced. As expected many made fun on me and a few of my friends who tried it. But eventually I broke my stage fear. In my school days I used to act in Drama and Skits that experience also had helped me in facing people.
One trick I identified was “the mirror experiment”, just like many I also had tried to ask questions and answered them in English. By the time when I got out of my college, I was an odd one out who could speak better English than many. Shyness was the wall which had stopped many of the students, even today many students from rural backdrops still face the same issue.
Then came the next phase, Job Interviews and Professional Arena 🙂 By this time I had moved to Bangalore, so there was no other option for me. Since my academic records are good, all I needed to focus was to take care of my attitude and present myself better in the interview, which I did better to bag my offer letter from Infosys. But I had not joined there 🙂
Then everything happened was like planned, I got into HR field, had begun as a Recruiter, then Executive generalist, then got into other functional areas… Finally, I had been transformed into a Trainer, when I had completed 4 years of my work. Thanks to all stones thrown on my professional and personal life, which helped me shape up myself as a strong personality. When I stepped out of my small town, I was emotionally fragile, for the next four years I had no opportunity to get back to Tamilnadu. So English was my only companion to express my thoughts. Eventually, I got little exposure to Hindi and Telugu as well.
Today, I have developed myself far better than that guy I was in my past. I never compare myself with anyone, I may not be better when compared to the standards of what others perceive, but I am getting better than where I stood yesterday! 🙂 I am still daring to write a blog, scribble some quotes / thoughts, managing to write some stories… Of course, my errors make me a better learner.
There are 3 things that I have learned about learning any alien language 🙂
- Never feel shy about making mistakes, you will obviously do it, everyone did it.
- Keep on practising, regardless of whatever feedback you may get.
- Realize it is just another language, but not a skill! Better you understand the lexical structure of you mother tongue, you will understand other languages so easily.
There are 3 things that you should not do with someone who tries to learn English / other language
- Do not make fun of them, instead get involved in a conversation to help their learning.
- When they make mistakes, correct them if they ask you for it, but do not try to find mistakes every time, which may demotivate them.
- Talk to people in a simple way, do not try to show your expertise with Jargons. Believe me, your communication is just a failure, at the very moment when the listeners do not understand it.