It has been a while I was planning to write a post regarding what I learned how non native English speakers use English in USA, especially people who came from India, like me. As mentioned in this article, “Everyone speaks English differently, especially if it is not your first language”.
There are different accents in USA in addition to what non native English speakers have. The difference is accent and dialect. Non native English speakers have an accent not that much of specific dialect, which we usually find in Texan English and New York English.
Language is a medium of expression and enable us to be part of a society.
Languages have different variations, sign language, programming language, animal language and languages that we all speak around the world, hundreds for sure!!!!
It is easy to express if you feel happy, simply smile. But the other person has to be there to see your smile. Yes, yes, I know you can use face time to do that. So why do we need to speak, because we are social animals and we are hard wired to talk?
By the way we have to agree, because we are social animals we would like to communicate by speaking with a certain accent to identify ourselves with a specific social class. That brings us to the important point of this post, English as a Second language Phobia.
In the event the phobia cannot be avoided entirely, the sufferer will endure the situation or object with marked distress and significant interference in social or occupational activities.
I live in USA and this country is the best place in the world for all kinds of things to observe, including ourselves, while speaking in English. It’s kind of a lab with endless possibilities to watch and learn many important things. It is a home of global languages. Unless you are born and brought up here in USA, most of the people whose primary language is NOT ENGLISH, suffers with some kind of distress and interference, when they need to communicate purely in English with native English speakers. The problem with “ESL” people is, they have to first think in their native language and translate that in to English and then speak. That’s a lot of processing, and unfortunately for many, that processing itself doesn’t work efficiently.
Over the years, say 10 to 15 years, after he/she arrives in USA a non native English speaking person (exclude people graduated from English medium schools and people who’s families are well settled and could use English regularly back in their native countries) get to understand the lyrics of an American English song clearly and most importantly in the context of American society. If you think 10 years is long time to reach that stage then you are not that part of the population who had the English speaking phobia. You are lucky !!
It is not that English is a complex language, it is the matter of exposure to usage. Many people from India are very good in writing English essays and other stuff, but when it comes to the point of general conversation they have to patch sentences and words from past conversations or movies they watched (that’s a little exaggerated, I know!!!). The thickness in the pronunciation clearly shows that they are still thinking in their native language and speaking in English by translating it on the fly. However, in my observation they speak fluently in English if they are talking to native English speaking Americans. But that flow comes to a grinding halt when they start conversing with other non native English speakers. (it is just my observation….!!!). Is it because we don’t expect our own people speak fluent English or it just happens…. hmm. I couldn’t quite get it.
Now the good part here is most non native English speaking people learn to speak fluently in English by engaging conversations with their American born kids. There you go. Free practice at home.. But you need to wait at least 5 to 6 years to have your first baby to go to day care and start bringing that American accent back home to practice. However those people are lucky who talk and talk every day with Americans in the grocery stores and offices.
If you are an Indian software programmer or some one in the IT from India, you have too many options to learn and speak English. But the problem is you are within your social group, obviously Indians, right! Well that is not much helpful isn’t it?. It is good for Indian MS students. You know they have no restrictions, and they just become Americans the moment they land in USA. Remember, “Hey Dude, whassup??” language. Interestingly they are more Americanized than regular American students sometimes surpassing in all aspects!!!!
Well there are many things I observed in my last 13 years of living in USA, but still don’t get to speak like an American with 100% American English. I don’t think that is bad or anything like that. But once you have a feeling of trying to become one of them and not able to do so efficiently, it puts some feeling inside and makes you feel like something is dragging your leg to show your full talent in a group of people.
This could keep us, a lot of us (Non Native English Speakers) not to utilize our original talent fully, because language could have become a big barrier. However, I overcame this sense of feeling bad of not speaking in American English language long time back by using simple and plain English and using some easy going American words, like “I am running late”!!!!
ESL situation should not become a burden, instead it should give an opportunity to grow and learn something new everyday. The only remedy is to practice a lot even though you know there will be mistakes in while doing so. Grammar is not a big deal and I don’t really mind writing with grammar mistakes as long as I am using plain and simple English to convey my message.
Well, “right off the bat” this is one my longest posts and I was one of those people who gone “bonkers”, when they heard saying some body bought a “Beemer”!!
So, “I’m all ears”, shoot me with your comments, if you can!