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05.03.2007, 12:33
And again a warm welcome.

As I remember from school teachers always try to encourage their students to start talking and not bothering about mistakes, grammar etc. Why not also here?

Of course, we woud like to learn more about your approach to the English language. For most of us probably the first encounter was at school. But what happened to your knowledge achieved when you left school? Have you tried to improve your English since then, or are your books still on the same place in the shelf where you put them after your final exams? Maybe some of you even took a year off and travelled before taking up their studies.

We are really looking forward to reading YOUR story with respect to the English language. And just in case your sentences or phrases may sound a little bit funny, don't bother. I think, we will sometimes wet ourselves laughing, however, always with a winking eye ;-).

And now, please, just start writing - and keep in mind: NOBODY IS PERFECT :-)

05.03.2007, 12:48
Okay, lets get it started.

It all began many years ago, when the British forces were still stationed in my town.
So we had SKY1 television and every Sunday morning there was the FUNFACTORY that showed all the great cartoon like Transformers, MASK, GI JOE and so on.

I did NOT learn any english from that, but I got used to the sound of the language (Hey, I was in first and second class....).

So, later in school I really sucked in English (Who gives a flying fAck about past tense and present progressive?!?) but my teacher made a great effort so I was able to understand all that and sometimes even got some good grades.

The breakthrough came, when I was on a student Exchange in Japan.
Yes, I know, how do you learn english in Japan?

Its pretty easy when you can only communicate with fellow exchangestudents only in english (and of course only in japanese with the japanese).
I learned in Japan actually 2 languages.... :-top
and from that time on I am a fan of the BBC, CNN and movies in their original language.

Actually I sometimes watch CNN just to practice my english so its not getting lost again (like my japanese, which has suffered from significant losses....).

Right now I am checking how I can use my english in the medical business or maybe even outside the medical business (as a doctor there are many ways to find work).

05.03.2007, 13:33
hm, I did not have many English in school. And from my 3 English-teacher at least 2 were not very good.
I read some books in English, but not yet Harry Potter.

During my studies of German language, we had many scientific texts in English in the linguistic classes (Seminare??).
At the beginning, this was not easy, the technical vocabulary is the same in the 2 languages, but reading takes much more time. Everybody got used to do this, but nobody prefered it to the usual German essays. (it's a bit strange to study German Language in English...).

I was once in England, a concert tour with a wind band and once in South-Africa. This time we lived in guest families and we had to speak English because our Africaans was not very developped.. :-peng

In my country, all cinema films are shown in the original language (most in Englich) and I really like to hear the British way of pronouncing (Accent) and thats why I dont like the typical German synchronisation.

I lost all my English, I wanted to say many other things, but I don't know enouh about the language....

05.03.2007, 13:49
What happened to Öse's English? Sorry, Oese's English ;-)

I startet learning English at school. It was my second foreign language after Latin. Yes, I know, Latin's dead ;-) My first English teacher was pretty enthusiastic and really keen on teaching, so the class had quite a lot of fun. The following teachers were also fantastic, I liked most of the stuff they wanted us to read and work with. I remember the novel "The 39 Steps" which still is one of my favourite stories, such as Shakespeare's "Macbeth" and "Hamlet" and many, many more...

After a trip to Ireland I decided to spend some time at our Irish partner school in Waterford. I've lived in Ireland for six months to improve my English and get the feeling of independence due to being out of my parents sight. Harr :-)) Well, even at a boarding school one can be free ;-)

After school I kept up reading English books and watching films. I love Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye" and I have to read it at least once a year. Besides I'm a fan of Poe's "evil" stories :-)) Does anyone know "The Tell-Tale Heart"? Brilliant, isn't it ;-) These are just a few examples.

Sometimes I use English books for my studies. They're often much better concerning didactics and make it easier for me to understand complex stuff. As a friend of mine said: When a German scientist writes a book, he wants to raise a monument but when an American scientist writes a book, he wants to sell it :-)) This is so true...

05.03.2007, 14:09
It began when I was about five, stumbling upon song lyrics I could not understand at all, while my mother seemed to know about these foreign words. This aroused my juvenile ambition, so I persuaded her to translate the lines of our favorite songs, e.g. by Cat Stevens, Peter Hofmann and King Crimson. (sic)
Attending Grundschule in boredom rather, I got my hands on some English course books for fifth-graders, which helped to acquire basic grammar and expand my vocabulary.
By the time I proceeded to Gymnasium (beginning with Latin as a mandatory foreign language), I felt lucky not actually having to learn English for the following years - in class.
Since English and Latin turned out to be the sure shots of my school career, I went on to establish them as Leistungskurse, and am still glad about it. The crux about this choice was Maths as a mandatory oral exam, but this I discovered much later on the way to Abitur, when they put me through hell ;-)

Having been to Britain twice and to the US 8 or 9 times, mainly on vacation (this equals sports & shopping) but also for some nice student jobs, I found myself able to intensify the English experience with native speakers. It's nicer to be considered an Englishman in the States than a Germ, for the average level of education is painstakingly low:
'Gee, you still got that Hitler thing going on!' - 'Germany, that is one of the communist countries, ain't it part of the Soviet Union?' and the like...
On the other hand, (sub)cultural elements from the US set up new horizons for me... again in the form of song lyrics (and certain computer games), some of which I will appreciate until judgment day, as you may notice reading the corresponding thread or my ever-a-changing signature. :-music
I would not set my foot on US territory again, I must say nowadays. Among the anglophonic countries, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are yet to come...

so, what can I say but - g'day, mates :-D

05.03.2007, 14:33
My turn: When I enrolled my daughter for secondary school some time ago we both visited the English class of my first English teacher. She was one of my favourite teachers ever and it was a mere pleasure to be there and listen to her again.

English was my first love... and it will be .... oops, sorry. :-)) We had so much fun and read a lot of brilliant books through the years. I began to watch Sky Channel ( ;-) @Bratze). BFBS, the British forces broadcast, was one of my favourite radio stations. And I loved that accent as if you spoke with a plum in your mouth :-)). During the years I never lost my love for this language. Of course, it was one of my Abitur subjects. After my final exams I packed my bags and said goodbye to my parents for one year. London was my destination and I started working for a family of 4 people as Au-Pair resp. Nanny. By the way, when arriving at Victoria Station I had to find a taxi to take me to West Ealing. I thought my English would be quite good, but on my arrival in West Ealing, which was about a 45 minutes drive, I was desillusionated. Today I would rate the taxi driver's English as average, just normal. But back then I was hopelessly frustrated. I hardly understood a f***ing word he said!!! The family was ok (which would change within a short while) and encouraged me not to give up. Fortunately there was a cleaning lady so I had some spare time for my studies. I enrolled for a class called "English for Foreigners" at Hounslow Borough College in Southwest London and passed two exams of Cambridge University. I got to know so many people with lots of different accents, so that in the end nobody could really say my nationality. "I have absolutely no idea where you actually come from. But this place must be somewhere in a part of England completely unknown so far. Sometimes it's Canadian, American, Australian, Scottisch or Irish accent. Ok, where are you from?" "From Germany" "Never! Tell me, where is this f***ing town on the map?"

Back in Germany I improved my English during an apprenticeship and finished as Bilingual Secretary. My teacher was a native speaker and was even more British than all Brits I had known before :-)). We were only 2 students and so we really learned a lot.

I really hope that Helena will turn out being anglophilic too ;-)

05.03.2007, 14:35
English was my first language at school but as soon as I learned french and latin it was a minor matter, french was much more interesting and my teacher at latin was that great that I still love it.

When I finished school, I still wanted to learn a lot in english; mine's wasn't ameliorated during the least two years - because I cancelled the english profile, in germany formally known as "LK" and switched to the french classes – since that day I only had three classes of english a week.

After reaching my a-level I assigned myself a new task - to pass the toefl with a good score, also in consideration of my application at an university, which one required the toefl.

To cut a long story short, I passed this exam quite good with an unsuspectedly great score - thanks to the baron's publishing house and the toefl vocabulary trainer. :-oopss

Afterwards I stayed in Chile and within the first weeks I nearly did not understand a dreg of spanish - thanks god that my host mom's family moved to chile generations afore and all of them spoke native british english and the lack of communication was subjugated ;-). I also learned spanish with this new approach: in chile nearly all hollywood movies and “us trash tv stuff” and also my beloved new seasons of grey’s anatomy and emergency room come up in the original with spanish subtitles. So I got in contact with both languages and learned spanish while wathing tv ;-). Also my greatest disgrace concerning wrong vocabulary during the time in chile was explained in english – without I never understood what I had told them in that moment… Well the unstrained story:
Diego, my host dad, asked me after about ten days in chile what new words I know and use. Me, not well informed about the fact that youth’s spanish and normal castellano are that different like day and night, answered “pal pico” – for me a word, like a filler, incessantly heard in every conversation within my circle of friends. All of them – yeah, uncle manolito invited us to have dinner with him and the whole, tremendous family in one of the city’s finest restaurants – blushed and started laughing and I wondered why! After they calmed down, my host sister Magdalena told me that “pal pico” means to the older generation the same like in eglish “suck the dick”… first day I wished my self a spontaneous execution overthere...:-blush

Nowadays I do read a lot in english and other foreign languages and that’s the matter of my question: Shouldn’t we offer a panel with reviews of books (medical and non-medical)?

05.03.2007, 14:36
*giggle* Just a short anecdote: I strolled along with an Irish friend through Camden Lock Market on a Saturday morning. It was absolutely crowded and all of a sudden I asked him what the word "cunt" actually meant. He was so damn embarrased, people looked at me, looked at him.... he finally said: Gabi, I will explain it later to you, ok? :-))

05.03.2007, 14:42
As my nickname is American, I think I will have to tell you about my eyperiences with the English language.
Like most of you I started learning English in class 5 at the age of ten. I was lucky, because my teacher in the first years was a native speaker who came from South Africa. So she sometimes did not only teach us English but we also taught her German.
For the last two years at school I had a German teacher, who listened to us very carefully and thoroughly and who only wanted us to use Bristish English - written and spoken. On Friday mornings he recorded the CNN news at 5 am and we watched them at school at 9. That was great, because it was not easy to understand the news, but if you had seen the German news the evening before you knew most of the facts and could pick up a lot.

In the summer holidays after year ten and twelve at school I also went on language trips to Malta and Dublin. As I lived in families and there and was on half borad, I had to talk English not only during classes, but also when we had breakfast and supper. In enjoyed these holidays very much, especially the second on in Dublin (Malta was too hot for me after two weeks). In Dublin, I started reading novels and criminal stories in English - I was very happy that I understood them, because I love the books by Elizabeth George and from that day on, I could read the new ones before they were published in German.

The first years at university, there was nearly no use of the English language. But when I started with the my dissertation, I had to read many English texts. This was not easy at the beginning, because I had not used my English for years.

At the end of 2005 I decided to spend one month of clinical training in Great Britain or the Republic of Ireland. Lucky me, there were people who helped me to write the letter and my CV. In the end, I went to Douglas, Isle of Man, for one month in the summer of 2006 and did a training in Paediatrics. From the first day on, I could nearly understand everything the doctors and nurses told me - I only had some problems with the Indian people's accent. But it was very, very hard for me to talk to them myself. It took me a long time to put a sentence together in my head and when I finally had done this, the situation was over. This improved over the weeks and on my last days I did not think about what I wanted to say before I said it: the sentences were not always right in their grammtical structures, but everybody understood what I wanted to say and that was the main thing.

At the moment, I need my English to read more and more texts for my dissertation, but after the month on the Isle of Man this is much easier for me. And now, I am really, really, really looking forward to the 21st of July when I will buy and read the seventh and last "Harry Potter"!!!! :-)

Best Wishes,
Ally McBeal ;-)

Dr. Pschy
05.03.2007, 15:10
I`ve been learning English at school for about 9 years, from class 5 till final exam. Trying to improve my skills, in 2001 I decided to spend a whole summer in Calfornia, visiting all the great places like San Diego, Los Angeles (+ Orange County,...), San Franciso and even Las Vegas and Tijuana. It was a great time, linked to experience and challenge.

After my internal subjects this spring, I´m going to apply for "applied medical englisch". Hope I will be taken...

05.03.2007, 16:17
Hmmm so let's see...

English is my only non native-language that I'm capable of (besides Latin ;-) ). Although it has been quite some time since I really _used_ it in a conversation or even on a discussion board like this one here. So I hope I don't make too many mistakes at the beginning of renewing my skills. I will get back to my old level, promised :-)

I learned English from 5th grade right through the end of school and also wrote an exam in the Abitur in English. It was one of my performance-courses (to translate it literally ;-) ). Unfortunately I had many teachers that were real ... mh ... dorks ;-) Suspicious little people, with an English not mightier than that of a 5th-grader :-) But as I read much English literature in this time, and actively took part in the discussions initiated in the courses, I think, I got to a pretty nice level of school-English.

There was no student-exchange with England, so we went sightseeing to London. Great. But not what I hoped for.

About a year ago I traveled to the US for a week, Las Vegas :-) I didn't talk much there either; just one time, when I was asked how old I were ;-) ... I had to leave the Casino immediately *grrr*

But yeah... not too much left active knowledge here, although I've got English education for eight years ;-) Hope, we have some fun :-)

BTW does anyone wath Saturday Night Life with Will Ferrell et al. ;-) ?

05.03.2007, 16:59
alright, my turn now..

I have always liked foreign languages a lot, not matter if dead or spoken, Latin and English have been my most favourite ones and always will be.

However, in school, I did not feel as if I would learn English as a spoken language as well as I wanted to, so I decided to leave home for at least one year to spend time in a place that only understands English. I became an AU Pair in Connecticut, USA and had to speak English all day long. For some reason I had quite some problems speaking this beautiful language in the beginning of my time abroad. However, finally after about 6 months I realized that I was not just able to talk in English, but also dreamed in English....After about one year I got problems with talking in German on the phone...somehow I mixed up English and German. Besides, I extended my stay, moved to California and had 10 more months of being around English talking people all day long. In the beginning people used to say: You gotta be from Germany.You have this cute accent...oh man...how I did not like that at all! When I left the states, people told me they know I am not American but they could not tell, where I was from.

Now, more than 6 months later, I have trouble finding situations to speak in English. I love to help people in the city, if they can't find their ways. It#s just very cool to just talk in English without thinking about what you are saying and translating it before you are saying it.

I usually watch movies in orinal sound, and talk to my host kids on the phone a lot. However, that is not a lot and I miss speaking in English all day long.can' t wait to go back for a visit so I can be around all these English-speaking people again.

by the way, I love the British accent...can't tell why.

Have a nice evening!

sleepy hat

05.03.2007, 17:13
All right, here it goes: Yet another story on how a language deaf person like myself came to learn some of this freightening language called English.

As many of you, my English grades in high school varied between "Ausreichend" (D) and "Mangelhaft" (The weird German concept of getting an E which is not very common in other countries who prefer to fail their students, F, right away).

Finally, when I graduated HS I decided to explore the big wide world and especially the land of the free and ... yes, the home of the brave ... the land of unlimited opportunities for dishwashing personal...

So I worked at summer camp together with counselors from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. The first thing that I realized was that I could not understand them at all because of all of their funny accent. Turned out, they had to repeat a question 3!!! times in order for me to be able to answer them.

Well, since then many moons passed by and my English skills improved vastly. Now I am to a point where I get complimented on my good German, though people reckon that I still have somewhat of an accent. I just hope, returning to Germany after having lived abroad for 7 years, I'll be able to get readjusted.

Having said all this, here are now some of the funniest things I have experienced regarding the English language:

One of my professors once referred to "Bejar" the huge German pharmaceutical company. I had no idea that this was how they pronounced "Bayer" and ony got the hint about an hour later.

Similarly, I had a history class talking about "ZiSar". I came very close to making a fool of myself by asking who this "ZiSar" guy that everybody seemed to know since birth trully was since I had no clue at all. (=> Zesar)

People also talk about "wolkswägen" and "äddidas".
I am sure there were many more examples, but for now this must suffice.
I hope you had a good laugh and maybe from now on people could write a little bit more of their funny or awkward encounters with the ENglish language instead of simply how they finally came to become accepting of a subject that they fought with most in HS.

05.03.2007, 17:26
Hey, don`t get too demanding right from the start, I'm just getting into it ;-)

05.03.2007, 20:03
Well, like most of the other pupils I first got in touch with the English language when I entered the gymnasium. For the first couple of years I wasn't too interested especially when it came to write down the vocabulary (accidentally I rather often lost my exercise books ;-)). I never really appreciated the English lessons at school so I never got grades better than 2 or 3.
At home however I started reading English books, mostly fantasy novels :-blush ... it all started when I got my hands on "The Lord of the Rings". After that I read much fantasy stuff (e.g. the Dragonlance and Shannara novels) in English because I wasn't able to wait for the German translation :-D
Apart of that I liked to play the old LucasFilm and SSI-adventures on my Amiga-computer.... most of them in English as well.

During my PhD I had to read lots of scientific papers in English... and then I decided to spent the surgical part of the PJ in Ireland.

Mmhh.... the Irish speak incredibly fast and with a terrible accent (espacially ol' granny from Connemara :-D) but after 2 months you get used to it... and even worse, you'll take over the accent.
Since then my skills haven't been used so I may need a little boost....

05.03.2007, 20:06
I suppose you work out a bit in the gym again ;-)

(no offense :-) )

05.03.2007, 20:18
Don't worry, I'm able to recognize a false friend ;-)

and I've never been fond of sports as well *g*

05.03.2007, 20:21
Mmhh.... the Irish speak incredibly fast and with a terrible accent
hey, don't say that ever again! There's no accent as beautiful as the Irish ones (ok, perhaps not the Cork Accent :-)) )

05.03.2007, 20:25
... and it's really great fun when they start mixing Gaelic words and English language... :-peng

05.03.2007, 20:26
hey, don't say that ever again! There's no accent as beautiful as the Irish ones (ok, perhaps not the Cork Accent :-)) )
What? I like the Cork accent. But I prefer the Waterford region slang :-)) I'd say the Irish do not talk faster than the British :-nix And they've got quite a few lovely phrases *smile*