Chapter XII – Part 3

$ It fits to my home country. We don’t care about much more than our own house, our jobs and our cars. Unless you work in tourism industry and you earn by showing to foreigners more than your own house and your car.

$ That’s well put. You weren’t suited for your home country, were you?

$ That’s how I see it.

$ All the more, be proud of yourself. You understood that there was something you didn’t like, you decided to change it and you did it. Tell me now about your foreign languages. How have you been doing since our last meeting?

$ My environment now is perfect for learning languages because I don’t know anybody speaking my mother tongue and I organize many things so I practice all the time. Since I came here I only once heard my mother tongue, near a monument. However, they didn’t recognize a citizen from the same country in me. In the times of a total globalization of the economy when we all wear almost the same brands, no chance.

$ Can you feel a difference in your English since you came?

$ Enormous! I ask ‘what do you call it’ 90 times a day instead of 100 times.

$ That’s a good one

$ I remember phrasal verbs and collocations, I wonder where it comes from and I use them consciously.

$ I am absolutely sure that you owe it not only to the total immersion you’re experiencing now but also to you open-mindedness and unparalleled work. Is it still one hour a day pure English study?

$ Yes, it is. I observe it serves me and I keep on doing this. And I use your five-minute hint.

$ What do you mean?

$ You told me once about clients who come to you and they listen about your method, about how important it is to work on your own, then you set a goal and it turns out they need to study about one hour a day. You said a typical reaction was: ‘I don’t have so much time.’ So you suggest using five-minute breaks, while waiting for the subway, before the film starts, after lunch etc. This requires having on you all the time some resources: an mp3, a copy of an article, a regular or digital notebook or a traditional book.

$ And you baptized that ‘five-minute hint.’ How cute!

$ And it works! Sometimes at the end of the day I realize that I didn’t actually sit down at my desk to learn English; however, I learned a lot thanks to the five-minute hints. Look at that: there was an ad about a manifestation on the Earth Square against urbanization of the district where I go jogging. The ad said: Sunday morning. I came at 9.00, the square was empty. So I sat down in a coffee shop with a view on the square and started reading a local newspaper. And I found a charming article. Sunday morning, offices are closed and the coffee shop doesn’t have a copier. I liked the article so much that I started to copy it into my agenda, because I left my notebooks at home.

$ Middle-age method which requires concentration. Excellent writing exercise. Wonderful input in the process of remembering the text.

$ The next day, during my five-minute breaks I went through the text several times: I read it aloud or not aloud, I repeated parts of it which particularly appealed to me, I was thinking about different forms, e.g.: here it says ‘have been’ and there ‘will be’, that ‘lain’ comes from ‘lie’ etc.

$ I wonder how you knew that ‘lain’ comes from ‘lie’.

$ When I was at my computer I checked it in an online dictionary. And if you haven’t noticed so far, I’ve got my linguistic secret: I have the courage to speak. I am like a child who knows a dozen of words, pronounces them his or her way and babbles all day long. I boast about the fact that I came here 20 days ago, had 4 coaching sessions and inform about it every person whose face makes a friendly impression. People in your country are very kind, everybody congratulates me on my English, it boosts my ego and motivates me to go on.

$ And it’s an extraordinary strategy to pick up girls.

$ Just wait and see.

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