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  1. Anonymous
    Guest
    #1

    improving the use of english as a foreign language

    Dear All,

    At first, let me just say that this site is terrific. And since it has a forum too, I decided to post some questions regarding my usage of english.

    I'm currently pursuing my MSc in a semi-english program, but not in an english-speaking country. I'm using english to communicate with people in academia, visitors, and students from abroad. I also write in english, but mainly technical texts and papers.

    I started to learn english on my own very early. In high-school - that is, 10 years ago - I acquired my first PC. Everything back then were in english, and so the quest began. After some private courses in PC usage, I started to program in BASIC, with an english manual and reference.

    After some time, I started to sense the meaning of words from a "functional" point of view, because I hadn't had a dictionary to perform lookups. Whenever I programmed the PC to draw a "square", a "rectangle", or any other shape, I had first to write the program, and then to see the shape in order to understand it. However, I took no classes.

    Then in college, I always had an english textbook by my side in many courses. I acquired some college textbooks from international bookstores, and began to translate them with a dictionary (Oxford Advanced Learners). At first, I could barely sense the meaning of a sentence. After some time, I began to read and understand the whole paragraph, and then the whole chapter. But again, I was only interested in the meaning of the topics that I read. Grammatical structure and syntax, though "structuring" the meaning, were of minor importance to me.

    Recently, I have started to read my favourite books in english translations. Then I sensed that the english language can present meaning or, generally, content, in a way that can be exciting.

    However, I feel very very insecure. When I write a sentence in an email, or when I compose a post for a forum, I have to read it some times over again in my mind, in order to "feel" that I write something meaningful (this certainly applies to this post too, I read it 3 times before posting). I feel that if I leave myself "untied" (or any other word you suggest - could that be "forthcoming"?), I will torture the reader.

    And having tortured the readers of this post in a cruel way already, I conclude with my little question: Do you have a suggestion for a text that will cultivate, or in any other means improve my use of english? Would it be a good strategy to pickup an early book of say, philosophy or history, or even a contemporary one in any other topic? In any case, do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks for you time,

    - Len.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 52,358
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    #2
    Given the standard of your English, I'd recommend reading some of the great stylists of English, where you will see how they achieve their effects. Among the writers I think use English very well are PG Wodehouse (comic writer, but one whose prose bubbles with creation and imagination), EF Benson (a writer who uses a light prose to devasting effect when being bitchy about people), George Orwell ( a true master of the language). AJP Taylor was a controversial historian, but his books are fascinating and beautifuuly written. Keith Waterhouse is a British Journalist with a lot to say about the language and how to use it. Any help? (These are all personal favourites and British English, btw)


    • Join Date: Jul 2007
    • Posts: 18
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: improving the use of english as a foreign language

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymous View Post
    Dear All,

    At first, let me just say that this site is terrific. And since it has a forum too, I decided to post some questions regarding my usage of english.

    I'm currently pursuing my MSc in a semi-english program, but not in an english-speaking country. I'm using english to communicate with people in academia, visitors, and students from abroad. I also write in english, but mainly technical texts and papers.

    I started to learn english on my own very early. In high-school - that is, 10 years ago - I acquired my first PC. Everything back then were in english, and so the quest began. After some private courses in PC usage, I started to program in BASIC, with an english manual and reference.

    After some time, I started to sense the meaning of words from a "functional" point of view, because I hadn't had a dictionary to perform lookups. Whenever I programmed the PC to draw a "square", a "rectangle", or any other shape, I had first to write the program, and then to see the shape in order to understand it. However, I took no classes.

    Then in college, I always had an english textbook by my side in many courses. I acquired some college textbooks from international bookstores, and began to translate them with a dictionary (Oxford Advanced Learners). At first, I could barely sense the meaning of a sentence. After some time, I began to read and understand the whole paragraph, and then the whole chapter. But again, I was only interested in the meaning of the topics that I read. Grammatical structure and syntax, though "structuring" the meaning, were of minor importance to me.

    Recently, I have started to read my favourite books in english translations. Then I sensed that the english language can present meaning or, generally, content, in a way that can be exciting.

    However, I feel very very insecure. When I write a sentence in an email, or when I compose a post for a forum, I have to read it some times over again in my mind, in order to "feel" that I write something meaningful (this certainly applies to this post too, I read it 3 times before posting). I feel that if I leave myself "untied" (or any other word you suggest - could that be "forthcoming"?), I will torture the reader.

    And having tortured the readers of this post in a cruel way already, I conclude with my little question: Do you have a suggestion for a text that will cultivate, or in any other means improve my use of english? Would it be a good strategy to pickup an early book of say, philosophy or history, or even a contemporary one in any other topic? In any case, do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks for you time,

    - Len.
    Hello my friends! For me your english is good. Can you please help me on how to developed my english skills. Give me some tips that you take.

  2. Newbie
    Student or Learner

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 1
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    Re: improving the use of english as a foreign language

    can anybody here talk to me...i really need to see hows my english language going.

    im going to have this test 4 days from now where in we will be talking to an american to rate on how well do we speak in english.I have the tendensy to panic when i am talking to them.

    pls help me out....add me up on your yahoo messenger or msn so that
    we could talk over..thanks a lot...

    ticoh

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