Pitfalls of the language environment: why is it dangerous to rely on the fact that in the US English will come by itself
Often immigrants who have moved to the United States with a primary or intermediate level of English, rely on the fact that, immersed in the language environment, they will be able to pull up the language without additionally attending any courses. People who have been living in the USA for many years confirm: the language “comes” itself, and this process is inevitable if you do not consciously isolate yourself from native speakers and do not limit your communication to the diaspora.
At the same time, “natural” language learning, of course, does not imply complete idleness. You still need to watch movies in English, read English-language books, listen to local radio and communicate with native speakers - informally or at work. To people who completely isolate themselves from the outside world, the skills will not come by themselves. Nevertheless, for people who do not like or who are unable to make special efforts to learn a language, the “natural” method has several advantages:
1. You do not have foreign language rejectionwhich may be caused by excessive self-coercion. I, unfortunately, have repeatedly encountered cases when people began to study English intensively even before they left, but then they gave up classes, saying that they would never be able to speak this “hateful” language.
2. You will have additional incentive to learn the language. - communication with specific people. Sharing information on topics of interest to you with important friends for you will become so significant in itself that you will no longer care what language it is in.
3. Respectively, you do not have to spend a huge amount of time on topics that are not interesting for you - relatively speaking, to describe the cities in which you were not, or to write an essay on the topic “how I spent the summer,” as we all did in school. Your work, personal development and language go hand in hand, and English becomes not the language of the “school nightmare”, but the language in which you make friends, demonstrate your professional accomplishments and experience the world. In time, you begin to love him.
4. The language is really improving, and as it improves, you get the feeling that you are not hopeless, and therefore it makes sense to strive for more.
However, self-study of a language has significant drawbacks, which are very slowly smoothed by time, and they may not even out at all.
1. Your language is “not even”. The lack of a systematic approach to learning makes itself felt. You can speak reasonably and practically fluently on topics that you often discuss with friends or at work, but you find that you cannot even formulate simple sentences in a completely different field. Even after several years of living in the country, your vocabulary is still limited.
2. You cannot understand all Americans by ear. Let's say more precisely: you understand by no means everyone, because you most likely have a limited circle of friends. If your work does not involve intensive communication, you only have friends and neighbors left to practice English, which cannot be many. Are among them Asians, immigrants from India, African Americans? But after all, different immigrants and ethnic groups have their own pronunciation. At some point, it will seem to you that you are already able to work in a serious American company, when suddenly you discover that, as if in the first days after your arrival, you cannot understand what people say to you, as you are used only to certain types of English. language.
3. You learn to speak with errors. Most Americans are very tactful and accustomed to foreigners, and therefore you probably will not be corrected by anyone, even if you speak wrongly. It is enough for them that they understand you, and you, encouraged by this understanding, continue in the same spirit. As a result, mistakes become your habit, and after several years it is very difficult to retrain to correct speech. At the same time, mistakes can concern both grammar and style, word usage, etc. Can you say exactly which word is acceptable in each case? What slang word sounds like a friendly joke, and which one looks like a real insult? What words cannot be used in a serious society? After all, in order to explain the nuances, you need a teacher, not just a polite conversationalist.
4. Accordingly, in most cases, you still do not form a sense of language. You can’t write beautifully in English and don’t know how to make your letters sound American. Over time, you will see that your “cute mistakes” that brought your American acquaintances to affection are perceived by serious employers quite differently. Sooner or later, you understand that, although you speak English, your level is still not enough to qualify for a well-paid specialist.
In a word, the “natural” way of learning a language, although it has advantages, harbors its own “pitfalls”. The ideal solution in this case can be the search for an English-speaking teacher who can individually correct your mistakes and “improve” the English language that is quite fluent from practice.
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