Should beginners learn colloquialisms?

An ex-English teacher says:

One thing I tried to discourage the students from doing, as it happens, was pursue their interest in learning colloquial English phrases. They all wanted to do so: they thought it would show how much they knew real English, English as it is spoken and therefore English as they wished to speak it. Of course – though I could never get them to understand this – the effect would actually be the opposite. Because to speak a language colloquially, you have to demonstrate your comfort with the language, your identification with it.

Last night I met someone who claimed to be unfamiliar with fuck in any of its forms and contexts. There’s got to be a middle way.

Similar posts

  • Translating Lady Chatterley
    The other night at a leather parade (lots of parading, not much leather) I got talking to an English-Catalan literary translator.
  • Teachers/examiners with less skills than pupils/examinees
    Story in Trouw about a German teacher who can’t speak German. This wouldn’t be so freaky in jobs-for-the-boys Spain, where the
  • Peel
    So it’s just going to be the once on Peel. That was a strange summer, when the customary laziness was suddenly
  • French revolution
    With the Olympics only four years away, Beijing is keen to have us believe that Chinese policemen do not torture and
  • World Cup stalkers
    I was sitting peacefully on a bench yesterday when an Italian architect came and sat beside me. (I knew he was


Comments

  1. “Because to speak a language colloquially, you have to demonstrate your comfort with the language, your identification with it.” – yes, but adopting colloquialisms and ‘demonstrating your comfort/identification with the language’ are hardly mutually-exclusive, innit.

Your email address will not be published.