I have a story about something that happened to me today. I was doing a class on small talk i.e. how to talk about the weather or what happened the previous weekend.
At the end of the class, I told the group that I was reasonably pleased with their English and that their English was good.
“I’m not so sure”, one student said.
“Why ?” I asked
“Because I had an interview with Volvo I.T. and they said my English wasn’t good enough.
“It’s not” I said
“Because you don’t speak English naturally. You said ‘I’m going on a business displacement’ – you translated in from French. Your grammar is pretty good, and your vocabulary is not too bad, but you don’t speak English naturally. You don’t speak English like somone who lived for a year or 2 in England.”
This is the challenge for us students and teachers alike. How to get people to speak more fluently. How to get students to sound like they’re comfortable in a langauge, and be comfortable in a language.
I’m convinced that in 2013 it is achievable, but be careful not to translate too much.
English language tutor/coach