Posted by: Anonymous | 2009-05-20

Not able to express myself with the medium of instruction

Hi Doc

I dont know if this is a pschycological problem or I am plain stupid. I went to township schools and work hard to find myself in varsity and now I am working for a huge firm in the world. I seem not to express myself clearly with the Queen' s language. Sometimes words cant come out or dont know what was I saying and ending up not being heared properly. My writing skills suck, I lack vocab even though I was a top english student in high school and i did english lliterature in varsity. And this in most cases bring my confidence down, I ended up ,drinking after work cos I saw myself as a failure. Why cant I be like the rest of them, talk and write properly?

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Our expert says:
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Well, at least I'm sure you're not plain stupid. Nor even fancy stupid. And you're not a failure, having achieved well against the odds. I found I built a large vocabulary deliberately by readong a lot, and watching good films, often older films, ( in which people speak rather than blow things up ! ) And use words,, don't worry if you sometimes get them wrong --- any sensible person will be glad to help correct you, and you learn more that way.
As Liza says, reading is the route to improving vocabulary. Films and some radio would help with pronunciation. Remember that in Britain and America and Australia, there are many different accents, so , in a way, many different English's !
It took me years of work, but you can also become eloquent. The language is not well taught at most schools, and that's no your fault.
I'm sure the only problem is a lack, so far, of enough exposure to a range of words and sounds to match them. It'll come, and get easier as you go along. English is a complex but beautiful language, and I thought of it as like becoming a painter, with the words a range of colours on my palette to paint with. One thing that makes English flexible but hard at first, is that there are usually several words for the same broad meaninfg, with SLIGHTLY different meanings or implications, like different shades of green. SO its not too hard to learn the basics, and then gradually you get more colours to choose from to make the verbal picture exactly the way you want it

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Our users say:
Posted by: jcat | 2009-05-20

hey, don' t knock yourself for not being perfect in a language that isn' t your home language. There are plenty of people raised with the language that have less skill with it than you. However, given that English the worldwide business language, your concern that it might hold you back is very valid. I agree with the other comments on reading as much as possible, which will automatically improve your vocabulary, grammar and spelling.
What might also help you though is a couple of sessions with a psychologist, because it sounds as if your fear of making mistakes has become so great that it actually causes you to make them, and to stumble over words when you speak. The other thing that might help is finding a retired English school-teacher, who would be willing to give you private lessons - an advantage of this would be that you could mix conversation and written work, and have it corrected, so that you become aware of where your most common errors are, and can fix them.
Good luck,

Reply to jcat
Posted by: Anonymous | 2009-05-20

Hi thanks for your comments, by lgging in here I read anything, I buy books magazines,anything I can get my hands to, I really dont know what is happening, maybe i should see someone for help, I' m so fustrated. Some colleague of mine today was actually advising me not to make spelling,grammar or syntax mistakes ever because I would be seen as incopetent. I really try to elloquent but I dont know what ' s holding me back.

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Anonymous | 2009-05-20

i totally agree with Liza.Read english books,story books if you like.I`m afrikaans speaking and english is also my second language.I went overseas a few years back,worked in Isreal and so on.The people there thought english was my first language,because they couldnt even pronounce the words right.Spesially the young people from Europe!I wasnt good with english at school,but i love reading,and i must say my skills with english is very good!Maybe my writing isnt too fantastic but i speak it very well.So get reading and not drinking!!

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Liza | 2009-05-20

Its difficult if English isn' t your first language. Learning a language when you are young is much easier than when you get older. Don' t be so hard on yourself.

If I can give anyone a tip to improve it would be this - READ. Anything that interests you. It increases your vocabulary immensely. It even helps you to improve the way in which you express yourself. (Sorry, it won' t help with an accent though!)

Good Luck

Reply to Liza

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