Will a native English speaker understand me?

2014/08/14 11:17
Jonathan 老師
分類: Life and Learning

很多在學英文的人會說他們的目標是”能用英文溝通”. 然而, 當他們在使用英文時犯了錯, 但是又不想努力使英文進步時, 也常常會用”能溝通就好”來當作藉口. 這些人認為: “只要老外懂我的意思就好, 所以即使不完全正確也沒關係.”

Many English students describe their learning goal as “I just want to be understood.” Unfortunately, they usually express this goal when they are frustrated by their errors, and are trying to justify not putting in more effort to improve. They think, “I just want to be understood, so it’s OK not to be perfect as long as a native English speaker will understand me.”

不論使用何種語言, 多數人用基本字彙, 聲音和肢體動作都能達到溝通目的. 當你別無選擇, 不得已的時候, 使用簡單但破碎的語言來溝通是可以達到目的. 英文裡甚至有一個字用來指這樣的狀況: pidgin (洋涇濱, 用破碎字句拚湊成的語言). 在尚未精通一種語言之前, 這是必經的過程, 但它不應該是學習語言的最終目標.

Most people can make themselves understood in any language with some basic words, hand gestures, and grunts. A simplified, broken form of a language is useful when you have no other choice. English even has a word for such a language form, “pidgin”, and it is a necessary step in learning a language fluently. But it’s not a goal.

假如你學英文的目的只是要老外能猜懂你的意思就好, 其實你不必花錢到任何地方上課. 但是如果你的目標是把英文紮實地學好, 能夠自由地運用它表達你真正的意思, 你需要 Sammy 老師.

If your goal is to be understood, you don’t need a school. If your goal is to learn English, you need Teacher Sammy.

Stolen Moments / 偷來的片刻

2014/03/17 23:59
Jonathan 老師
分類: Life and Learning

Before the Internet Age, we knew that the short blocks of time that life provided to all of us … waiting for an elevator, on hold on the phone, on a subway … could be used very effectively to accomplish, cumulatively, a lot of learning. Barry Farber, founder of the Language Club and author of How to Learn Any Language, referred to these as “Hidden Moments”.

早在網際網路時代來臨之前,我們就已知道生活中有許多瑣碎時間是能夠善加利用的,像是等待電梯、在電話中被要求稍候、搭乘地鐵等等… 。若能有效率地運用這些時間,累積起來能夠用它們完成大量的學習。 「語言俱樂部」創辦人及《如何學會任何語言》之作者貝瑞‧法柏 (Barry Farber),將這些瑣碎時間稱為「隱藏時間」。

More recently, in articles about e-learning, short blocks of time during which mini-lessons on mobile, wireless devices could be used have been referred to as “Stolen Moments”.


While these terms actually refer to the same thing, I prefer the more recent one. Why? Because the Internet in general and smart phones in particular take that time and those opportunities from us. If we let them.


It’s important to remember that, before we chose (and it was indeed a choice) to assign such a wide variety of unnecessary tasks to our short blocks of time, we previously recognized those blocks of time as valuable opportunities for learning. Those tiny blocks of time, properly used, were significant and beneficial.

我們必須記住的是,我們早先就已知道瑣碎時間是珍貴的學習機會,但我們卻仍(刻意地)選擇將這些時間花在各種不必要的事情上。 那些瑣碎的時間如果有善加利用,原本是可以發揮很大功能和帶來很多好處的。

So every time you check your email for the 5th time in an hour, every time you chat on Skype or Line about nothing in particular, every time you check Facebook, every minute you spend trying to figure out the current level of Candy Crush, you must remember that you’ve made an exchange. You’ve made a choice to learn less, and learn less effectively.

因此,當你在一小時內查五次電子郵件、用 SkypeLine 這些軟體和別人閒聊、不斷去看臉書網頁、想著如何能破解 Candy Crush 目前這關時,你必須記住你已經選擇犧牲你的時間。你選擇了不用這些時間來學習,而導致你的學習較沒有效率。

And if you’re regularly making that kind of choice, you really need to re-think the reasons you gave yourself for making the effort to learn English, and whether the long-term goal of that effort is more or less important than satisfying the need to click “Refresh”.


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