a story of my english.
I like playing with words, with language. However it requires to know that language well, right? You need to be sure and secure about what you can do with the language.
I like fooling around with my Aussie and US friends, I am like “oops, did i say that? Blame it on my English”. Although i am fully aware of my errors.
English? My sister had English classes in her 7th grade, so i was in my 4th grade. Was i 11 then? I think so. Somewhere around 1987 or 1988. But it was so simple English. Like “I am a window”. Which was grammatically correct. Subject, predicate. Bam! You have the whole sentence.
In 1990 we had a cable tv. And it was the real the beginning for me. I was watching FilmNet, MTV. I was absorbing everything. I was learning english. And it was a real window to the world.
In my 7th grade i was doing pretty good. Although in high school the grammar was introduced.
I was like – what?
- You have sequence of tenses!?
- You do not grasp my accent?
- How do you say this and that?
In the junior year of high school we had a native speaker. Catherine from New Hampshire. Well, she taught us 50 states. Thank god that was it. In other class she added capital city of every state and adjective of every state. Well, now i would really appreciate if she taught us that. New Hampshiran? My friend is Kansas Citian? Is my awesome friend Michael Chicagoan now? She tried to teach us Simple Past. No way Jose. We did not know squat about english. She did not know anything about polish. So it was far from win-win situation.
After one year Catherine suddenly abandoned us. We got an old lady with her special expressions.
Do you still use expressions like:
- It’s a pretty kettle of fish
- It’s not my cup of tea
- Bloody (instead of fucking) hell
That old dame taught us grammar and old english. However i missed my young and eager Catherine.
So i was doomed. Old English teacher with old english.
Recently i have found my first high school teacher. That is super odd! Bizarre! Thank you internet! However this is unbelievable. How come you remember your teacher from 1991!? It is 2020.
So i became an anglophile pretty soon after i met that language. I was reading magazines, books and watching movies. And i was doing pretty good. Until…
Until i went to London in 2005. Oh-My-God! Is it English!? What kind of accent is that! – that was what i thought. It took me a day and half to understand them. Before that, i just knew by the intonation whether i should answered yes or not. Bloody hell. That was all so Greek to me. But after that day and a half i understood everything. I love Britons! Such lovely people. They always ask me – are you from Australia? Thank you, you are far too kind. I have been to London 5 times. And i can add Scotland. Beautiful country! Loch Ness monster tried to kidnap my BFF, little Mike. Thank god, we were there, preventing it from doing that. What a monster! However, the best fish and chips? At the Loch Ness lake! Top notch!
So, my english was my own english. My trials and efforts. It was hard. However now, i can say i am comfortable with it. Who said “As many languages you know, as many times you are a human being”?
That is so true.
“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” – Frank Smith
I am not that comfortable with russian, french, german and esperanto. But i am so damn secure about English. It is my second language.
When i went to the US for the first time i was like “ok. I am home. I understand everything”.
Once i met a guy at the ticket vending machine in NYC subway. Me and he had a problem with buying a metro card. There was a metro officer. I heard them talking and i was awe! US meets UK. Beautiful to my ears.
It was 2015 when me and my dear friend when out for wines and beers. Ladies where thirsty. There was a Trader Joe’s nearby. The only store open in our neighbourhood in Washington, DC. We were having a smoke. There was a white bloke sitting next to us talking on the phone. I asked my friend “dude. Do you understand him?”. “No” answered my friend. Yes. We both knew english well, but this guy was speaking a coded english. Although, if you, non-speaking people knew polish well, believe me, there is a huge chance that i could speak to you and you would say “wha?!”. That’s how we felt in DC.
English is fun. Although i know i have to learn it, update it and develop it all the time. It is a living organism. But it is so helpful to get to know other people. And i like people.
Sorry for the mistakes.
“To err is human, to forgive, divine.”