— Eugene, is this going to be your first trip
— Oh, yes; I’m looking forward to it very
— Well, let me compliment you on your English.
You speak it very well. Where did you learn it?
— At the polytechnic, during my studies there.
You have to study a foreign language; it’s a compulsory subject.
— How much time did you spend studying
— Oh, if I remember correctly, in the first
two years of our studies we had about... 240 hours of English.
— And why did you choose English in
— Ah, to tell you the truth, I don’t really
know. I suppose I chose it because I liked it. You know, I studied German at
school, and after German, English isn’t very difficult. They’re very similar
— Really? I’m not sure that I agree with you.
I hated German at school.
— Well, maybe they’re not very similar.
Anyway, I passed my exam in English quite easily. Then it was time to get a
regular job. After that, I took up French, and then Spanish, as a hobby.
— Well, I think you’re very talented! I don’t
know any more than ten words of Russian. And I started to prepare for my trip
to Moscow a long time ago.
— What did you do?
— Oh, I did the usual things: I bought a
dictionary, and a guide book and a phrase book. I spent a fortune on books!
— Did you go to any classes?
— I’m afraid not. But I joined a library where
they had Russian books and tapes. I began to listen to a Russian course on
tape. But it got me nowhere.
— Aaah, that’s too bad. But you did your best,
— I suppose so. But the best just wasn’t good
— Ah, Judy, I sympathise with you, only too
well. I wanted to learn English as quickly as possible. I went to my college,
and asked the head of the Foreign languages department to help me.
— What did he do?
— Well, he recommended a very good teacher.
This teacher was born in England and English is his native language. I started
attending his classes, and we met twice a week. I took about 100 lessons, and I
worked very hard.
— Did you learn much English?
— Well, my teacher was very satisfied but I
wasn’t. I succeeded in learning some elementary things, that’s all. My
pronunciation is still very poor and my grammar leaves much to be desired. I
speak very slowly and find it difficult to understand English when people speak
it very fast.
— I think you’re being a little modest. Your
English sounds good to me.
— Oh, thank you, I try.
— What foreign language did you learn at
— Well, none really.
— How come? I thought that everyone studied a
foreign language at school. Isn’t it a compulsory subject?
— Oh it certainly is. I had a German teacher.
I remember her well: she was tall and thin. She had red hair and fierce blue
eyes. She was very sarcastic.
— Yes, teachers are often sarcastic.
— This one was awful! She frightened us to
death. She taught us the alphabet and she taught us to read aloud. But she
didn’t allow us to think for ourselves. So we studied the language but we
didn’t learn it.
— I understand what you mean. A foreign
language is a skill. It’s not something that you learn parrot fashion.
Yes, with a language what matters is to use it to communicate. To learn it
properly you have to try and use the language you want to master Прослухати