Why I study English…

Posted on July 25, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

I am a native English speaker, and I teach English as a second language. When new students meet me for the first time they are sometimes surprised to learn that one of my favorite hobbies is studying English.

Me: I enjoy studying English.

Student: No. Really?

Me: Really.

Student: Aren’t you a native speaker?

Me: Yes. Student: Why? Why do you study English?

I guess it sounds funny, but I have always been very interested in communication. As an actor I had to learn that there is sometimes a secret meaning behind words. In English there is also a rich tradition of public speaking, debate and word play. I also coach people in high level communication, where words, grammar and other parts of communication are very important to success.

One important part of the history of English are the ancient tools and techniques of using grammar to move the hearts of your audience. This study has recently started to become popular again, and even here in Japan Barak Obama’s speeches were a best seller. I wonder how many people who bought them understood why they were so good.

For me English is a kind of Martial Art, a little bit like Kendo. I know people who have been studying Kendo for longer than I have been alive. Nobody thinks it is strange for a person to continue to study something traditional for a very long time. But I guess many people study English because they have to study, not because they love to study. I think loving something makes a big difference.

I always enjoy learning something new or surprising about English. Since I am a native English speaker, of course I can understand a wide range of English. There is also a lot of English I can’t understand, and some English I will never be able to understand. I will never speak English the way a Lawyer or a Doctor writes English, for example. And as an English teacher many times students say “may I ask you a simple question?” and then ask a very simple but very difficult question. I love that.

So if you have any simple questions, please feel free to ask me anything.

If I can answer, I will be happy to.

And if I don’t know the answer it will be a great chance for us to learn together.

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