Learning Tip: Who Speaks English Good, Best, Better, and Gooder?
By: David Pratt, EIP Teacher
Recently, the news has been full of analysis on newly-elected world leaders. There is the expected reporting on foreign policies, national politics, taxes, and everything else you would normally expect. Beyond that, there has been a lot of reporting on who speaks and uses English well. One recent article claims that, “French Government Speaks better English than Americans”. Another claimed that the newly-elected Colombian president had a very impressive grasp of English, while our own Prime Minister Trudeau is often criticized for the way he stalls when he speaks (“uhhh. . . .”). There is always analysis in a Canadian election about how English-speaking and French-speaking politicians use and misuse their second languages.
So, the question is: who speaks English well? Who decides what is good and what is not good when it comes to language?
I will argue that the same criteria can be used for politicians, teachers, and ESL students. Can your writing and speaking be understood clearly? Are your ideas focused and clear? Can a native speaker/ reader of English understand what you mean? Does your speaking and writing use a variety of words, phrases, and structures (this is closely linked with how clear your ideas are)? There is always the question of accents, but again, I think this comes back to clarity.
It is great if you know all the verb tenses and can spell every word in the English language correctly (I certainly can’t!), but that is only one part of being a proficient user of the language. The real test is if you can use it to exchange ideas with other English language speakers.
Now, where do we find examples of this kind of language? That can sometimes be difficult! Newspapers are often good. Academic lectures can provide examples of the type of language use you hear in university (but you wouldn’t talk like that to your friends on the weekend). Good literature can provide excellent use of language (look at some books that are well-respected for their writing). When in doubt, ask your teachers—they will be able to help you on your quest to using English well in a variety of situations! Most of all, find the areas of English that are specifically challenging for you, and work on those first!
English In the News
Here’s a great article called, “English Language Enters Unpresidented Territory” that was published last month. This is interesting reading for anyone who is trying to work on vocabulary building!
By: Ben Velasco, Level 0120 Student
Open your eyes, walker.
Open your eyes and see the world,
Looking around in every step
Being one with nature,
Being one with yourself.
Open your eyes, walker
Open your heart and feel
´Cuz what options are there,
O´ walker walking in the walk,
Walking down the road,
What options are there
When there are no option?
The Challenge of Dealing with Challenges
By: Rob Grant, Second Language Teacher Program
English Intensive Program (EIP) students face enormous challenges and change while studying English in Canada. Some challenges that they should not have to face, however, are conflicts with professors or peers. Unfortunately, it is possible that these types of situations may arise, but if they do, it is best to resolve the issues as soon as possible by doing the following:
1. Remain calm! People tend to have different opinions and ideas, which is often the stem of the issue. Make sure to clearly understand the problem. Did someone say something that was rude or not exactly appropriate in your culture? Did someone offend you? If so, talk about it openly and let the person know that you do not like the way he or she is talking, and that in your culture, it is considered to impolite.
2. You could also try writing down and collecting your thoughts about why you are angry and make sure your reasons are clear before you confront the other person. This will help you cool down and really think about the issue.
3. After that, take a few seconds to breathe and analyze the situation in your head before you let it get to you. Ask yourself some questions: "Will this affect me in a week?","Am I really hurt by what happened, or am I just momentarily angry?"
These strategies should really allow you to see all aspects of the problem, and hopefully will allow you to overcome them. Your time at the English Intensive Program is so important and valuable to your future, and we want to make sure that you are getting the most out of it. Rest assured, though, that whatever issues may come your way, we are always here to support you. We want to make sure that you succeed to the best of your abilities! If you ever have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us!
If you are interested in sharing your ideas about the newsletter and/or in contributing to its development, we would love to hear from you. Please email your submission to our Student Services Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.