Published on January 30th, 2013 | by Charu Suri
When I was a young kid, I recognized that my parents were speaking in multiple tongues. They’d use Tamil, the official language of South India, when addressing their immediate family and friends, and English when speaking to me and my sister. The debris of colonial India, English is a language that’s vital when we travel, and it was terribly important to me growing up and trying to communicate with fellow Indians who could speak one of several hundred local dialects.
As I grew and learned more languages (French, Modern Greek and more), I realized that learning English was far from easy for several international buddies of mine (I think of Americans trying to learn the French accent without having practised with a native speaker, and I cringe). But the result of listening to my many friends from Bulgaria, Nigeria, India and more speaking English in varying accents –each one so unique and mellifluous–made me realize that English is not just one language: it’s several.
George Bernard Shaw smugly wrote, “In America they haven’t used (English) for years,” and he may be right, but America has its own version of English with unique colloquialisms. There’s no one right way to learn the language of course, but in order to transcend the issues of idioms and preventing a literal translation that can lead to somewhat stilted language, it’s always best to immerse oneself speaking with locals.
Here are some good ways one can learn English on the road. How do you learn it best?
This post made possible by Kaplan International.