Party English, that's a killer.

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Apr 23, 2011 23:15
A Japanese guy claims that English proficiency can be classified into four levels. The lowest level is, rather surprisingly, English for business. The second is English for daily life.

I suppose native speakers of English might be slightly confused. Actually, I have been asked about this. "Isn't that difficult for you to use English in your work in science?" She thought my English skill might not be enough to do study in university in the UK. As a matter of fact, however, working in English is definitely easier than daily life in English. Because I already know technical terms in my field, the coverage of my vocabulary in work is much greater than that in conventional chatting. Also, once you learned, technical terms are easy to use. They usually have just one meaning. In contrast, very common verbs like "get" and "have" have hundreds of slightly different meanings. So the more topic is close to my expertise, the easier English conversation is for me.

Compared to English for work/study, using English in daily life is something like diving into the middle of an ocean from the sky. I cannot really expect what I am supposed to say in many different situations, since I've never experienced them in English-speaking life. Stereotypic "Hi!" and "How are you?" are of course not so difficult, but where to go afterwards? So I often end up with drowning and sinking rather than swimming towards the shore.

The third level is English for parties or drinking at the Pub. At this level, I have to be familiar with all the pop stars and musicians in the Western world. A broad range of vocabulary is required to understand wit, sarcasm and jokes. On top of that, hearing difficulty in the noisy place is just a pain. My ears are easily deafened. Parties and drinking are meant to be fun, but so far it is difficult for me to fully enjoy conversation at this level.

The highest level is English to enjoy novels and films. But I reckon the gap between the third and forth levels is not so much. It is the party/pub English that stands in front of me like a massive wall. To my surprise, many Europeans seem to easily and quickly master the third level. I have still no idea as to how European colleagues can understand what people are talking in the noisy pubs and parties. It seems that even after living in the UK for 15 or 20 years, the third level is still difficult for most Japanese people...



仕事、研究における英語に比べると、日常生活で英語をしゃべるのは空から大洋へ飛び込むようなものです。多岐に渡る状況の中で、一体何を言えば良いのか、私にはうまく予測できません。というのも、そういった状況を英語をしゃべる生活の中で経験したことがないからです。型通りの Hi! や How are you? はもちろんそれほど難しくありませんが、その後いったいどこへ向かえばよいのでしょう?なので私は岸へ向かって泳いでいくよりもむしろ、溺れて沈んでいくことになる場合が多いです。



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