Results tagged “cambodia”
I have recently started trying to learn how to read and write in Khmer. I don't have much free time for studying and it is slow going. Fortunately, I have a very patient teacher, who doesn't seem to mind when I forget things.
I have been in Japan for a few days. While I was in Cambodia, I remained completely illiterate, but in Japan I have managed to read a word. In Cambodia, there was a lot more English used in signs, so I managed to get by without bothering about the script. Here, there is quite a lot of English used, but to a lesser extent.
Just before I left Cambodia, I attended the CamTESOL conference in Phnom Penh, where I gave a paper on setting-up ILT. CamTESOL was set up to organise an annual conference on ELT in Cambodia, bringing ESL teachers from all over the country for the two-day event.
I am taking lessons in Khmer. Twice a week I go for my classes in a classroom that is literally in the shadow of the Toul Sleng genocide museum, also known as S-21, the school turned into a notorious prison where thousands were tortured before being executed in Choeung Ek, the Killing Fields of the Democratic Kampuchea regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.
In an excellent article about English teaching in Nepal, Yakity-Yak, Chris Sowton states that 'English is being turned into the weapon of the elite'. His picture of language learning in a resource scarce setting is bleak, but much of what he says matches what I see around me in Cambodia.
A couple of days ago I switched the TV over to a Japanese channel and watched a bit of a news programme. My comprehension is so low that I can only try to pick out a few words that I can recognise. This time I managed three: yes, man and a word indicating a question. This was still better than the nature programme I had tried earlier where I had recognised squirrel and a Japanese love bird, whose English name I don't know. At this rate it will take the rest of my life to understand a simple news bulletin.
I am currently enjoying an extended stay in Cambodia; long enough to try to learn some of the language, but not long enough to get to grips with the writing. Because I will be leaving for Japan in a while, where another language and a highly complex writing system awaits me, I have decided to remain illiterate in Khmer and focus only on the spoken language.