Friday, January 9, 2009
Learning English with the Housewives
Yesterday I met one of my Chinese friends for some language exchange. Since I went to Sweden over Christmas we haven't caught up for a while and I was really surprised when we, after one hour of speaking Chinese, switched to English, and her English sounded.... awesome?! Like... really good?! Much, much MUCH better than it did 1 month ago when I last saw her.
-What have you done?! I asked her, mouth half open as a result of her completely wow-ing me with her new language skills.
-Desperate Housewives! She said triumphantly.
Turns out that this Chinese girl had gone through many American TV soaps, only to find Desperate Housewives to be the one with the 'best, most everyday English' (Note: I am quoting her here, I am not saying I think so... I am not quite sure if I would call the Desperate Housewives language for 'every-day language' but well... I am sure there is something useful in their dialogue. If nothing else, at least a lot of infidelity phrases?!) and that she had watched the show on an every day basis, in order to learn 'their language.' When she realized that she didn't understand everything they said, she went to a book store and bought herself a script of the whole season 1 and 2, so that she could read it and learn it by heart.
-So... how do you do it? I asked, still quite astonished and impressed with her sturdiness.
-Well, I normally sit in my room and read the dialogue out loud until I know it by heart. It can do like this (adapting an American accent): "I am not working every day so that I can pay for your plastic surgery."
Oh my! Now that's a new, and kind of interesting method of learning English?!
Well, regardless of what, it obviously has done wonders to her English. Not only does she now have a bigger vocabulary compared to before, but she also sounds more... American?! I can't do anything else but applaud her for being so driven and dedicated. It's truly inspiring! (even though it also makes me feel like a bit of a loser for my own, slow, Chinese progress -what's the Chinese soap equivalent to Desperate Housewives, anyone?!)