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How to learn English better? [message #638167] Thu, 04 June 2015 21:41 Go to next message
Messages: 744
Registered: January 2007
Location: Ha Noi, Viet Nam
Senior Member
My name is Tran, I am living in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. With more than 9 years working as DBA, I can read Oracle technology documents or something else. I can understand what foreginer writes, and a quite bit talking but, I cann't do a best when listening. My friends who live in France, USA talk clear to me, however, I can't listen to someone who live in Asia, North Euro or Germany. Few days ago, one DBA (her name is Hillary) made a call phone to me, she lives in Germany, and she wanted to take a converstation to me arround Oracle troubleshooting. I were in ashmaed situation when I could not understood what she said. Then, she wrote an email to me, of course, I can read.

Can you advice some way to learn English better than?

Thank you very much!

Re: How to learn English better? [message #638168 is a reply to message #638167] Thu, 04 June 2015 21:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lalit Kumar B
Messages: 3174
Registered: May 2013
Location: World Wide on the Web
Senior Member
You are talking about two different things,

- Understanding other's accent
- Improving your spoken english

If you have difficulty in understanding their accent, then watch their movies Smile

If you want to improve the grammar part, then you need to practice some tutorials, read newspaper, novels, articles and never try to translate directly from your mother tongue/ native language to English, things become weird.
Re: How to learn English better? [message #638241 is a reply to message #638167] Mon, 08 June 2015 02:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Messages: 1119
Registered: November 2010
Location: Bedwas, UK
Senior Member
Hi Tran,

A way I find useful of getting used to understanding a different language is to watch TV programmes in that language with subtitles in my own native language. It is quite understandable that you struggle with the range of accents that English speakers have; this is a consequence of the number of people who speak English around the world.

Hope this helps and good luck Smile
Re: How to learn English better? [message #638341 is a reply to message #638167] Tue, 09 June 2015 14:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Barbara Boehmer
Messages: 9097
Registered: November 2002
Location: California, USA
Senior Member
If I understand what you are writing correctly, you can understand some people when they speak English, but not others when they speak English. Is English the native language of your friends in the U.S. whose English you can understand? Is English not the native language of those that you cannot understand? Can you be more specific as to what you cannot understand? Do they speak too fast? If so, then ask them to please speak slower, so you can understand. Is it because they do not pronounce things clearly or use slang words that you don't know? If so, then ask them to pronounce things more clearly and avoid slang. Once you read what Hillary wrote, what part was it that you could not understand when she spoke it? It sounds like it might be more of a problem with how others speak it than you being able to understand it.

English is my native language and I frequently have trouble understanding people trying to speak English, when English is not their native language, due to their mispronunciation and such. I have also witnessed Americans using slang and slurring their speech, making it difficult for others to understand them. I have witnessed some amusing misunderstandings.

I witnessed an amusing conversation between an American veterinary technician here in America and a foreign exchange student from Italy. The American did something well and said, "Hey, who's your Daddy!" The Italian responded, "Who is my Daddy? What it means?" The American explained, "It's an expression, it's like you're cool." The Italian then looked around and said, "Ease leettle bit warm to me." It went on like this as I sat there laughing.

Also here in America, speaking in English, an American supervisor told a programmer from India that, when someone deletes a record, he wants a prompt to ask them if they are sure they want to delete it. The programmer from India than relayed the instructions to another programmer from France, telling her to prompt and ask the user "Are you very much sure" (that you want to delete?) When the supervisor tested a delete, he got a prompt that asked, "Are you very mature?"

Typically, when we take classes in other languages, we are taught to ask certain questions and understand common answers. For example, people learning English might be taught to ask, "Are you going to be there?" and understand typical answers like "Yes, I am going to be there." or "No, I am not going to be there." Then they ask some American, "Are you going to be there?" and the American replies something that sounds like, "Yamo be there." which is a slang/slur that most Americans understand, but others don't.

I was once in a position where I needed to ask people their address and write it down. I encountered somebody who only spoke Spanish, so I asked her in Spanish, as I had been taught, and got a lengthy answer that I couldn't understand. It didn't sound like any numbers or street name or city. She pointed to the woman next to her each time she said it, as I asked her to repeat it slowly multiple times. I finally had her spell it. It was, "el mismo de mi hermana" A woman overhearing the conversation, after she stopped laughing, explained to me that "el mismo de mi hermana" means the same as my sister, which was why she kept pointing at the women next to her each time she said it.

Some such things can be more frustrating that comical. At a pharmacy, I could not get an Asian pharmacist to understand that I needed one liter bag, not one litter bag. There is a big difference between liter and litter.

I once found myself lying in an emergency room bed, having difficulty understanding the foreign doctor or the foreign nurse here in America and realized they were having difficulty understanding each other. He asked her name and she said, "Smyrna" which I could read on her name tag. He apparently didn't notice the name tag and was having trouble understanding her and asked if she said, "Smirnoff" like the vodka. She got very offended and explained that "Smyrna" is a very religious name, not alcohol. I remembering hoping that the doctor was better at the emergency surgery he was about to perform than at communications. Fortunately, he was.

I could go on and on with various anecdotes and others probably could too. The point is that it may not be your fault if you cannot understand some people.
Re: How to learn English better? [message #638343 is a reply to message #638241] Tue, 09 June 2015 15:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
John Watson
Messages: 8938
Registered: January 2010
Location: Global Village
Senior Member
I followed a slightly different technique to gazzag's - watching telly programmes with subtitles in the native language. Like many people, I can read foreign languages better than I can hear/speak them, and the subtitles really help. After a year or two of watching Krimi on ARD and ZDF, with German subtitles, I suddenly realized that I wasn't reading them any more - just getting it audibly.

And always try to write the best English you can: do not degenerate into IM-speak. LOL. Smile
Re: How to learn English better? [message #638351 is a reply to message #638343] Tue, 09 June 2015 21:31 Go to previous message
Messages: 744
Registered: January 2007
Location: Ha Noi, Viet Nam
Senior Member
Good morning,

Thank you, Lalit Kumar B , gazzag ,Barbara Boehmer and John Watson.

You are right at all.

You advice some the better way to train and pratice, those are helpful to me.

Really, I have a trouble when listening to foreginers, especially from China, Hong Kong and Thailand and people who live in North Euro regions.

@John Watson: Same to you, I hate to write or see the IM language.

Have a nice day!
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