How did you learn English?

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Re: How did you learn English?

#21  Postby Globe » Feb 22, 2012 8:21 am

1. At what age did you start to learn English?
Can't remember when I didn't. I suppose that you could say at 3 when my parents thought they could prevent me from understanding by speaking English over my head.
They were wrong though. :smug:

2. What was the English teaching in your public education system like:
Insufficient by far. Not enough qualified teachers at the time I was in school. It's different now.

a) In which country?
Denmark.

b) At what age did you start learning?
At home... as soon as my parents thought I was old enough NOT to hear certain things they were saying to each other.
In School... when I was 11.

c) Did your teacher speak your native language during lessons? If so, what for, and do you think it was beneficial?
Only to explain grammar and concepts for which students wouldn't have the vocabulary.

d) How much spoken communication in English did you do during these lessons?
After the first year somewhere around 90%. But we had a VERY good teacher who had lived for a number of years in England.

3. Did you supplement this with private tuition/study in a private language centre? If so, same a) b) c) & d) questions again.
When I was 5 and old enough to really start speaking English a few Americans had married into the family. That was a great way of learning. :)

4. Did you ever live abroad in a situation that required you to use English regularly?
Yes... and I work as a translator, so there are weeks where I don't speak my "native" language at all. Although I read it and hear it.

5. Other than living abroad, how often did you get to communicate in English? And what form did these communications take?
Often. And family chatter.

6. How often did you consume English-language media, and did you do so with a conscious effort to study/understand it?
On a daily basis.
I think that books are best read in the language in which they were written. Which mean that if you have even the slightest chance of reading the language you should go for the original.
Makes an interesting set of bookshelves. Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, English, German... and lately also Dutch and French is finding it's way into my home.
Then there is TV and movies. Radio and music.
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Re: How did you learn English?

#22  Postby Jehannum » Feb 22, 2012 10:47 am

John P. M. wrote:
I should add that although I'm quite fluent when writing English, I have a rather typical Norwegian accent when I speak it, much to my chagrin, because I'm a bit of a perfectionist. Perhaps that is actually why. I've always been self conscious of the accent, and therefore was embarrassed to speak English, and so that in turn probably just exacerbated the problem. I also sometimes have a lacking vocabulary, but I think that's more to do with my short term memory failing me, and it happens in my own language as well - that I totally blank out on the word I'm looking for.


There's nothing wrong with having an accent. It's part of your identity, just as it is for native English speakers - regionally. While in Norway I was amazed and delighted by how well nearly everybody spoke English.

As a typical native English-only speaker I envy multilinguals but am much too lazy and untalented to learn another language just for the fun of it.
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Re: How did you learn English?

#23  Postby aban57 » Feb 22, 2012 10:54 am

I'm With Stupid wrote:
1. At what age did you start to learn English?

11
I'm With Stupid wrote:
2. What was the English teaching in your public education system like:
a) In which country?

France
I'm With Stupid wrote:
b) At what age did you start learning?


11

I'm With Stupid wrote:
c) Did your teacher speak your native language during lessons? If so, what for, and do you think it was beneficial?


Yes. All of them. But most of them tried to limit it as much as possible during the course. One of the first sentence I learnt was "What's the english for.... ?"

I'm With Stupid wrote:
d) How much spoken communication in English did you do during these lessons?


Again, depended on the teacher, but yes, we had K7s with people speaking, no matter what's the teacher's or lesson's level.

I'm With Stupid wrote:
3. Did you supplement this with private tuition/study in a private language centre? If so, same a) b) c) & d) questions again.


No, never.

I'm With Stupid wrote:
4. Did you ever live abroad in a situation that required you to use English regularly?


Not until I got here in Belgium, and my English was already pretty good at this time.

I'm With Stupid wrote:
5. Other than living abroad, how often did you get to communicate in English? And what form did these communications take?


Never. Never had anyone to speak with in english.


I'm With Stupid wrote:
6. How often did you consume English-language media, and did you do so with a conscious effort to study/understand it?


Happened some times. I used to buy Newsweek, I read Stephen King's It and The Eyes of the Dragon. But always on my own will and in odrer to improve my english.

I'm With Stupid wrote:
I know by definition, I'm only going to get answers from people that had a fairly successful experience learning English, but I'm more interested in what works anyway.


To be honnest, french people are not the best ones whn it comes to speak english. Still now, for some people, speaking english is tacky (google translation for this one, I hope it's right :p)
I've always been the first one in my english classes, even in the first years, and I didn't really work that much for that result.
That makes me think that 2 things are in place here :
-the will to learn. If you don't have it, you won't obviously learn anything. Unfortunately, in France at my time, the majority of people didn't care about english lessons.
-the ability to learn. I would have to search on this one, but it looks like some people have a better capability to learn new langages than others. I've always felt lucky to be among these people. I started with 2 langages at 11 (english, spanish), started latin the year after, tried german (but hated it) when i was 13. I had to stop latin (and fight to keep spanish) when I joined college. But after 6 years of studying english and spanish, and only studying ( reading books in english came later), I was almost fluent in these 2 langages.
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Re: How did you learn English?

#24  Postby Saim » Mar 10, 2012 10:32 am

I'm With Stupid wrote:
Garm wrote:From reading expat blogs I've learned that Dutch is not exactly considered a 'sexy' language abroad.

Maybe, but English in a Dutch accent is very scheschy. ;)

I personally thing it sounds awesome. 'Tis een mooie taal. :P

Jehannum wrote:

As a typical native English-only speaker I envy multilinguals but am much too lazy and untalented to learn another language just for the fun of it.

No-one's too untalented to learn a language (except maybe people with serious mental disabilities), although "too lazy" maybe. :lol:
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Re: How did you learn English?

#25  Postby thomasac13 » Mar 20, 2012 6:05 pm

1. At what age did you start to learn English?

4 y. o.

2. What was the English teaching in your public education system like:
a) In which country?
b) At what age did you start learning?
c) Did your teacher speak your native language during lessons? If so, what for, and do you think it was beneficial?
d) How much spoken communication in English did you do during these lessons?


a) Indonesia
b) 4 just as I said above
c) my first teachers are locals, but as a teenager I learnt in English First and The British Institute, although I finally dropped them for a real scholar, who happens to be a local, but teaches so much more than the established institutes, and when I'm starting 11th year in school, I've already completed classes for Cambridge Proficiency in English test and starting on classes for SAT, even though my schoolmates are struggling to keep up with the TOEFL 550 goal set by the principal.

I study English mainly for the fun of it (also the reason I learnt German, Latin, Javanese, Japanese and Mandarin even though in a much lesser extent), but English has been taught to me since early age because my extended family has the habit of sending their children abroad for higher education, and speaking and writing excellent English is a competitive edge in the job market, so yeah I'll say it's beneficial, but the biggest advantage of having good command in this language would be the ability to keep up with the latest information in the field. For example, I'm studying Medicine, and as such 99% of the required textbooks are imported, mainly because the effort to translate it properly will take a year or two, after which the new version of the textbooks with the up-to-date information are published. And so, I have the competitive edge in this as is marked by my scores lately.

d)I've only do spoken lessons in EF and TBI, with native speakers (or Europeans); which is the reason why my accent is mostly unintelligible in the past, before I encountered Jeremy Clarkson by the Top Gear, and started to slow down my speech and added some "fancy" words.

3. Did you supplement this with private tuition/study in a private language centre? If so, same a) b) c) & d) questions again.

yes, explained by above, the mandatory lessons by the government is utterly incomparable to the lessons I received by having private lessons, 99% of the English I learn is not from school, so i dare say that I learn English solely from the excellent rows of private teachers that my parents, fortunately, were able to afford.

4. Did you ever live abroad in a situation that required you to use English regularly?

No.

5. Other than living abroad, how often did you get to communicate in English? And what form did these communications take?

I have Malaysians studying in my department and we use English as the common language, although Indonesians and Malayan are basically the same language, their accents would tickle the most humourless Indonesian around (in West Java), so yeah, you get the picture :p

6. How often did you consume English-language media, and did you do so with a conscious effort to study/understand it?

Everyday, almost every hour, mostly because my textbooks and handouts are in English and most websites that I use are in English. Aside from that I read classic novels, both from Britain and the US, I have a copy of Moby Dick somewhere stuck inbetween Harrison's Principals of Internal Medicine volumes, and currently bringing around a copy of Oliver Twist inside my bag, right next to Netter's Atlas of Anatomy :p
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Re: How did you learn English?

#26  Postby I'm With Stupid » Mar 22, 2012 3:07 pm

Saim wrote:No-one's too untalented to learn a language (except maybe people with serious mental disabilities), although "too lazy" maybe. :lol:

My logic is that if nearly all Premier League footballers can do it, it can't be that hard. However, the reason footballers learn English is because they have the motivation to do so. Most English-speaking people don't have the motivation, so the only people who learn a language are the ones that love the process of learning (kinda like learning a musical instrument). Even expats can usually get away with speaking English in most situations. In fact, you often get expats who take lessons in the local language almost out of guilt, but because they lack real motivation, they don't tend to make much progress. My experience is with Vietnamese though, which isn't exactly beginner-friendly.
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Re: How did you learn English?

#27  Postby I'm With Stupid » Mar 22, 2012 3:12 pm

thomasac13 wrote:c) my first teachers are locals, but as a teenager I learnt in English First and The British Institute, although I finally dropped them for a real scholar, who happens to be a local, but teaches so much more than the established institutes, and when I'm starting 11th year in school, I've already completed classes for Cambridge Proficiency in English test and starting on classes for SAT, even though my schoolmates are struggling to keep up with the TOEFL 550 goal set by the principal.

Thanks for answering. I was just wondering if you could expand on this. I'm specifically interested in the difference between the language centres and your scholar. Were the lessons with the scholar one-on-one, or were you still in a group? How did (s)he teach differently, and do you think (s)he taught any particular aspect of English better or worse?
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Re: How did you learn English?

#28  Postby Varangian » Mar 23, 2012 12:22 am

Here goes:

1. At what age did you start to learn English?

I was about 10 years old, IIRC.

2. What was the English teaching in your public education system like:
a) In which country?

Sweden

b) At what age did you start learning?

See 1.

c) Did your teacher speak your native language during lessons? If so, what for, and do you think it was beneficial?

I think there was a mix at first. Then in grades 7-9, I think our teacher used English as much as possible.

d) How much spoken communication in English did you do during these lessons?

I don't really remember. Some, but not that much.

3. Did you supplement this with private tuition/study in a private language centre? If so, same a) b) c) & d) questions again.

Nope.

4. Did you ever live abroad in a situation that required you to use English regularly?

No.

5. Other than living abroad, how often did you get to communicate in English? And what form did these communications take?

When I got pen pals in my late teens. Also, on the occasional holiday trip when I was in my 20's.

6. How often did you consume English-language media, and did you do so with a conscious effort to study/understand it?

I started reading books in English when I was 17, mostly because there were no translations to be had. Also, magazines, game rulebooks, etc.
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Re: How did you learn English?

#29  Postby viocjit » Jun 29, 2013 5:22 pm

1. At what age did you start to learn English?
I was 4 years old.

2. What was the English teaching in your public education system like:
a) In which country? France
b) At what age did you start learning? 7 years old
c) Did your teacher speak your native language during lessons? If so, what for, and do you think it was beneficial?
Yes they spoke in French because many of us didn't had a high level and yes that was beneficial because like that the courses were more understandable.
d) How much spoken communication in English did you do during these lessons?
I don't know.

3. Did you supplement this with private tuition/study in a private language centre? If so, same a) b) c) & d) questions again.
No

4. Did you ever live abroad in a situation that required you to use English regularly?
No

5. Other than living abroad, how often did you get to communicate in English? And what form did these communications take?
It was for an international meeting with my vocation school. How often I communicate ? I don't know exactly.

6. How often did you consume English-language media, and did you do so with a conscious effort to study/understand it?
Each day (Internet) and I don't need to do a conscious effort to understand it.
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Re: How did you learn English?

#30  Postby Aern Rakesh » Jun 29, 2013 6:35 pm

trubble76 wrote:Just popping by to compliment you on an interesting thread. :thumbup:


I was thinking this as well. :cheers:

I'm regularly impressed by the English of the people on this forum for whom English is not their first language. And slightly embarrassed that I don't know a single other language as well as you guys know English, although of course that might be different if I hadn't grown up where I did.
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Re: How did you learn English?

#31  Postby Varangian » Jul 01, 2013 9:03 am

My son, who is 10 years old, has been using English for over a year now. They began studying some English in school, but he's far ahead of that thanks to playing online games and watching a lot of YouTube videos. He speaks the language really well for his age, and I've seen forum posts by him that displays a command of the language one would expect from someone 5-6 years older
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