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English - Turkish translation
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20.       olphon
106 posts
 04 May 2014 Sun 02:41 pm

I´ve been learning English since I was 6. I´ve always lived in Turkey, and I had many useless teachers. In spite of all the time wasted due to incompetent tutoring, by the time I started high school, my English grades was better than most of my friends.

In high school, I didn´t learn anything. There was a shortage of English teachers. Therefore, %60 of the time that was supposed to go into English lessons in all three years I´ve spent in high school, we did nothing at all. There was no teacher. We were free to do whatever we wanted as long as we stayed in the school. This is especially important because my high school is one of the best and most famous state-owned high schools. Apparently, the best in Turkey doesn´t always mean good. Turkish Education 101.

As for the remaining %40, that was also wasted. Even worse than before high school.

Then, after high school, I lived in southern England for eight months. One would think that would help a lot, right? No. Being surrounded by foreigners learning the language is not a good setting to learn a language. Asians were the worst. Every time I spoke with my Asian friends, I felt my fluency being sucked away, along with a bit of my life energy. (They were so nice though, it compensates for the difficult communication. I still keep in touch.)

However, I must have managed to pick some stuff up. I had to attend a language school (full of Asians) but I spent quite some time with British people as well. Also, through briefly trying to learn my friends´ languages - Spanish, German, Korean, French, Italian, Kazakh, Russian - I gained some insight on how to learn a language. That was the time I realized I was doing it wrong.

The real learning occured after England. As you know, the internet develops and develops. So I started spending a lot of time online. Very easy if you are procrastinating. This is an awful thing to do. However, there was one great thing about it: My fluency sky-rocketed. Stuff I watched was almost always in English. Also, I developed a habit of talking to myself in English, which contributed further. And I had a lot of chances to speak English. Hosting couchsurfers, travelling abroad etc. I couldn´t believe how well I could communicate.

At the moment, my English is enough for practical purposes. I don´t study anymore. I´d start studying again only if I had an exam coming. I am slowly improving my vocabulary anyway. I use English everyday. If I´m having a hard time when I´m;

- Trying to read fast. Unfortunately, I can´t read English as fast as I can read Turkish.

- Having a conversation in high ambient noise. Pubcrawl with Americans turned into me nodding at whatever they say. 

- Watching some stuff. Inbetweeners for example. They talk slang with heavy British accents and they even invent words (i.e. "bumder" ). I feel like I missed a lot of good jokes. Another example would be Casino Royale - spies using fancy words to look sophisticated and intimidating. Also some old movies, from 50s or 60s. I use English subtitles if available.

- Scots & Irish. I watched Billy Connoly´s stand-up without subtitles, missed lots of words. But maybe because it wasn´t very funny in the first place.

- Reading a text with complex vocabulary. I´ve grown so accustomed to not seeing the words I don´t know, it actually keeps me from spotting and learning new vocabulary.

- Imitating accents. I still have a Turkish accent. Can´t talk just like an American, or Scot. (I´d like to have a Scottish accent )

If you have any tips on how to improve any of these, then please. Share.

Jay2014 and Polyglot liked this message
21.       Jay2014
3 posts
 04 May 2014 Sun 08:07 pm

It is very clear to me that you have an aptitude for languages.  I don´t know very many turkish people well and have spoken (mostly in text) to no more than about a dozen for any length of time, but your english seems to far excel any of theirs.  A common problem with native turkish speakers trying to perfect their english is, not surprisingly, their use (or lack of use) of prepositions.  You certainly don´t have that difficulty, and your grasp of english is more than adequate for practical purposes.

If I were you I wouldn´t worry too much about the language spoken in old movies.  At that time it was thought that ´properly brought up´ people should speak the Queen´s English and use ´received pronounciation´ which meant that they sounded as though they had a plum stuck in their mouths.Smile  It sounds odd and very old-fashioned to most native british people now.

As for the other things you find difficult...yes I have some tips:-

1.  If you can stand it, listen to/watch BBC 24 hours news channel or something like it....the english accents are not usually so regionalised - more middle southern english.

2.  Forget listening to Billy Connolly {#emotions_dlg.bigsmile}.  If you really want to be confused listen to Rab C. Nesbitt instead lol.  Seriously though (no offence to Scots and Irish) but their accents are not always the easiest to understand for non-english natives, and sometimes even for us english natives!!

3.  Don´t use sub-titles unless you really must. It´ll make your ears become attuned to the different accents and dialects.

4.  At the risk of alienating all americans or canadians here lol, try not to concentrate on a diet of mainly american movies and tv channels, unless you really want an american accent and to learn slang american words.  Remember that american english is not exactly the same as british english - there are some (sometimes embarrassing) examples of the differences.

5.  Don´t try to imitate english accents.  Just use your own - I´m sure its fine, and talk to as many native english speakers as possible.  Most turks I know sound like germans to me by the way. {#emotions_dlg.bigsmile}

6.  Just continue as you are......you´ve already made me feel slightly intimidated in writing this in my own language...I had to check it over for mistakes lol.

Oh, one more thing...don´t get too hung up about speaking english too perfectly...most people are quite slovenly in the way they talk, and that´s ok just so long as everyone understands each other.  Speaking a language absolutely precisely always makes you stand out as a foreigner (notice that I´m not saying ´makes one stand out as a foreigner´...using ´one´ instead of ´you´ is gramatically correct but somehow sounds pretentious and lots of people don´t like it). I´ve written this in reasonably formal english with the odd abbreviation.  My job means I use formal language in text all the time - abbreviations not allowed {#emotions_dlg.bigsmile}- and I sometimes have to force myself to write informally but I manage it from time to time!!

 

Omg I didn´t mean to write quite so much, and I must sound like a schoolteacher giving you a lecture - apologies for that lol.

 

22.       olphon
106 posts
 05 May 2014 Mon 02:56 am

 your grasp of english is more than adequate for practical purposes.

 

I know. I was trying to be modest.

 

 

... your english seems to far excel any of theirs

 

I know.

 

It is very clear to me that you have an aptitude for languages

 

Correct.

And not just for languages, I have an aptitude for a lot of things. As you noticed, I have so much aptitude, it clearly emenates even through a single thread in a forum. CUz Im smart. Mom said so. Hehe What a pity, my intelligence mostly works for trivial nonsense.

 

My life is crappy on multiple levels, but at least I have your praising post now Thanks!

 

 

don´t get too hung up about speaking english too perfectly

I was once hung up. Then I noticed how I use Turkish. Full of mistakes. Not perfectly fluent. Sometimes when I tell a story people don´t understand, all I get is empty looks And so on.

So I dialled it down a notch. I´m not hung up anymore. Now I merely "care about" speaking perfect English. Probably the only use for perfect English would be in a test like TOEFL or IELTS, but I´ll keep caring about it anyway.

you´ve already made me feel slightly intimidated in writing this in my own language...I had to check it over for mistakes lol.

There are some mistakes, I think. The thing is, my mind is programmed to find mistakes. University entrance exams in Turkey have about 40 questions on Turkish language. In some questions you´re supposed to spot mistakes. Sometimes they can be very subtle. And I studied hard for those exams. Irreparable mental scars.

I sincerely thank you for the tips. I also apologize for having heard and used most of them.

And I´ve met a new word today: "slovenly" It´s likely that from now on, when I see that word I´ll remember "yeah this Brit on tc.com had used it"

I was afraid that "Brit" could sound offensive but the dictionary says it´s not. If the dictionary lies, my apologies.

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