Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Language skills

I was raised in Quebec till I was 18 years old. All my classes were in french but I also spoke English, as it was taught as a second language. When I graduated high school I moved to the USA. Therefore my french has not progressed and has remained at my high school level, and my English has improved. But not as well as I would think an English speaker my age would. My writing & grammar skills are worst than my speaking. Though, I am a pretty good speller. I'm very conscious of my plight. And I would even venture to say that it has affected my choices in education and career. BUT, if given a choice to be perfect in one language or passable in two I would choose the latter.

This being the case, I have started to volunteer to teach English as a second language in the Haitian community. Being able to speak French and English sure makes it easier. I give them the French word and they translate to English, then I write it on the blackboard, and they take notes. I've done this before with Vietnamese. I thought they would know French. Not! They were too young. Maybe their parents or grandparent. I'm more concerned with comprehension & pronunciation. It's just basic English, nothing fancy. But then that's me, basic & nothing fancy.


Xavier Onassis said...

A person who speaks 3 or more languages is multi-lingual.

A person who can speak 2 languages, is bi-lingual.

A person who can only speak 1 language, is American.

Spyder said...

That's what I told the Haitians Saturday morning. They were saying that sometimes they get laughed at when they speak English. Most speak French, Creole, and are learning English. I told them that if someone laughs to ask them how they should have said/pronounce it. To make it a learning experience.

Anonymous said...

I think it's high time we divided the language into English and American. Of course, that could tick-off the English-as-a-first-language Canadians.

Spyder said...

Kurves- I would be happy if more spoke a version of either that I could understand.

As far as the Canadians go, we are a pretty laid back bunch on a whole. Personally, I have found that politics (and all that goes with that) gets me more upset than the rest.