So you think your English is good?

Nury Vittachi, one of my favorite columnists and humorists, explains why you can never speak a language well if you only learn it from books:

I’m 100% sure similar things will happen to me too if I ever go to a native English speaking country.

And I wonder what never-used expressions are taught by Chinese textbooks in other countries?

8 thoughts on “So you think your English is good?

  1. Hey…

    Seriously, here we do have textbooks that teach things like raining cats and dogs, but at schools we’re discouraged from using them in writings because, well, people really don’t talk like that.

  2. I know quite a few British slangs, and yet I don’t say them. Why? Because it’s just not natural for me to use them. I think perhaps if someone ‘acquires’ this sort of colloquial language when one is young, then it would be easier? Or perhaps I am just too conscious of my speech. I am probably not explaining myself very clealry….

    I am also interested to know what Chinese phrases are taught to foreigners!

  3. Well, I shouldn’t have said ‘foreigners’. It is more and more common for Chinese people to learn Chinese. I should say ‘Chinese learners’.

  4. Yes, now his blog posts are in The Standard. I remember he used to keep a blog which was not Standard-related.

    It’s hard to say – I am very conscious about my language and I don’t want people to think that I am trying too hard….

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