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How should I speak not to be dissed?

Momokan0415

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No matter how much I try to improve my english skill, I am really despaired over to hear "Your english is very good" in recent time. whenever I hear the word, it sounds native speakers saying it may have seen me as a poor english speaker as if I pretend to be able to speak english with fluency. I hadn't endured hearing of the words last week anymore, so I wried my face and said "I feel insulted. I am very tired of hearing that. Do you say same thing to other native speakers?" to the native speaker of english who said "your english is very good." once I said, he got silent.

Basically, a native speaker doesn't applaud some other's english speakers, but I still may have had some problems of which I would make native speakers of english perceive me a non-native speaker and make them indifferent. I have made tenacious effort to improve my english ability with constantly memorising big words appeared on TIME and the economist and practicing RP(Received Pronunciation)lest I would be regarded as a non-educated not even being able to speak "de facto lingua franca".

Initially, they don't have to pay attention to or carefully enough hear what I talk, but once I get started to talk about science, politics, history, and any other academic topic with big words, they get astounded by what I talk and freeze. finally they say "your english is very good." Currently, I have no idea to attract their attention from scratch.

1. let me know the actual meaning of "your english is very good" Ex: "they can find nothing for my strongness but my english ability" "Just a flattery"

2. tell me how to make native speakers impressed by my english. and also let me know how to learn more sophisticated vocabularies and grammer used by well-educated native speakers.
 

Uncle Frank

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Have you ever told a non-Japanese person that there Japanese is very good ? Most people would say that to you as a compliment while trying to be nice. I would not let that comment bother you at all .
 

Mike Cash

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1. Learn to accept compliments graciously.

2. Stop being Charlie Tuna.

 

OoTmaster

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I can tell by reading your post that it's not your first language. You're very educated when it comes to English but it doesn't sound natural. The way to "make it stop" so to speak is to listen to native speakers and try to imitate them as much as you can. Sounding natural in another language is so hard I'm sure very few ever achieve it.
 

Mike Cash

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I think you may be working on the wrong end of the problem.

Big words can't hide small errors.

The things that native speakers will notice the most are what you may think are small and unimportant points of English language usage. It doesn't matter how many big words you use; the thing they can't help noticing are the jarring small errors. Things like verb tense, subject-verb agreement, preposition choice, etc. People will assess your ability based on the area where you make the most errors....and you make a lot of basic errors. Using a lot of advanced vocabulary will not cause people to think your English is advanced (and if you have some idea that your English is at or near native level then you are very mistaken).

What would you think of a foreigner speaking Japanese with good pronunciation and using advanced vocabulary but who made constant errors in particle usage and other such basic grammar points? Would you think he is advanced? Or would you think he has good pronunciation, knows a lot of uncommon vocabulary, but his level really isn't good at all because listening to his crappy careless grammar is like having a cheese grater rubbed on your ears?

You want to impress people? Quit worrying about acquiring impressive high-level useless vocabulary and instead go back and fix the many problems you have with using elementary points correctly. You can BS fellow non-native speakers by fluently rattling off uncommon vocabulary items in conversation....but you can't BS native speakers that way. All they hear are all the little errors that you think are inconsequential.
 

PatrickNZ

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Reading this post out of curiosity (to see what Mike wrote). He sums it up well.
As an additional observation/point of view, I often get complimented on my "very good Japanese" which I know is false because it is really terrible. Some people even list that phrase as something called a "micro-aggression" or a sub-conscious put-down, (which can be countered by agreeing with the speaker if you want to mess with them). But for someone complimenting you on your English ability, that is a compliment that you should accept.
But to reinforce two points, first your post has lots of small errors which are the things you should be working on first - plurals, tense, missing linking words - things like that. Getting to sound like a native speaker is very difficult, and it takes practice and lots of time.
Second, learning English is really difficult for a Japanese person. I work with and deal with many Japanese people that have managed to learn English and to high levels of competence, but even then, the last few percent between high level competency and native level fluency is very hard to attain. If you can work, talk, read, write, discuss, listen then that is an achievement, well done.
 

nice gaijin

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It's very interesting to hear this from the other side of the language barrier... I think everyone who has gained proficiency in a foreign language to a certain degree has experienced this frustration in some way, and the feeling is that the compliment is disingenuous, when it's much more likely to be sincere, encouraging, or at the very least, polite.

I felt that I was really getting better when people complimented me less, but there's little you can do about strangers. If your accent is off or you make a small mistake or you don't look the part, native speakers will notice, and then they'll give you their local brand of the gaijin dance, which inevitably will include a comment on your language abilities. If you start to feel frustrated by this, try to remember that while you might be tired of your language ability being the subject of conversation, it's still new and novel to this person, and they don't mean to insult you with it.
 
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No matter how much I try to improve my english skill, I am really despaired over(??) to hear "Your english is very good" in recent time. whenever I hear the word, it sounds native speakers saying it may have seen me(??) as a poor english speaker as if I pretend to be able to speak english with fluency. I hadn't endured hearing of the words last week anymore, so I wried my face(??) and said "I feel insulted. I am very tired of hearing that. Do you say same thing to other native speakers?" to the native speaker of english who said "your english is very good." once I said, he got silent.

Basically, a native speaker doesn't applaud some other's english speakers, but I still may have had some problems of which I would make native speakers of english perceive me(??) a non-native speaker and make them indifferent. I have made tenacious effort to improve my english ability with constantly memorising big words appeared on TIME and the economist and practicing RP(Received Pronunciation)lest I would be regarded as a non-educated not even being able to speak "de fact lingua franca".

Initially, they don't have to pay attention to or carefully enough hear what I talk, but once I get started to talk about science, politics, history, and any other academic topic with big words, they get astounded by what I talk and freeze. finally they say "your english is very good." Currently, I have no idea to attract their attention from scratch.

1. let me know the actual meaning of "your english is very good" Ex: "they can find nothing for my strongness but my english ability" "Just a flattery"

2. tell me how to make native speakers impressed by my English. and also let me know how to learn more sophisticated vocabularies and grammer used by well-educated native speakers.
Just to demonstrate the point Mike was making, I have highlighted all of the errors in your post that were obvious to me in red. I've also marked erroneous text that I actually found confusing with "(??)", because that happened quite a few times. Another indicator of bad English, to me, was your propensity for run-on sentences and your inability to consistently use commas correctly, but these weren't things I could just highlight in red.

In short, while your English isn't that bad (I can generally understand it even if there are confusing parts and obvious mistakes), it's not good either and needs a lot of refinement.

I'd also like to note that there were a couple really uncommon words you used in your post. I assume this is related to what you said about looking up "smart" words in magazines. These random uncommon words don't make your English look better; anyone can look in a thesaurus and find "smarter"-sounding synonyms. It's an old 4th-grade level trick. In fact, using such uncommon words you run a higher risk of using them incorrectly, which makes your English look even worse. This happened a couple of times in your post.
 

Mlf17

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I can relate to your frustration but try not to let get to you. I myself learned english as a foreign language and came to the US to study... This was many years ago but today I still do not speak like a native... I do speak fluently but my pronunciation is lacking perfection... Every so often, i will have someone come and tell me that my english is good or that my accent is cute... this remind me then that my english is not perfect ... It doesn't bother me as much now as it did when i was younger. I wanted so much to speak perfect english... But i found out that i couldn't let it take over my good spirit and frustrate me. Mingle with people who you can practice your english with, relax and have fun. Eventually you will overcome your challenge. =D
 

WonkoTheSane

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1. let me know the actual meaning of "your english is very good" Ex: "they can find nothing for my strongness but my english ability" "Just a flattery"

It's flattery.

2. tell me how to make native speakers impressed by my English. and also let me know how to learn more sophisticated vocabularies and grammer used by well-educated native speakers.

Fix your grammar.
 

HanSolo

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Find or pay someone who'll criticize your language when you make mistakes.
 

Weegee

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OP...you are too touchy. Loosen up.

People sometimes judge how they would do in the opposite situation. Like if I would have to learn Japanese I would not do any good and this person has done good enough for me to understand them. So from my POV I'm thinking this person is doing a good job even though it may not be excellent.

As far as improving things? Watch movies and hire an English coach.
 

tomoni

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Original Poster:

Please try and take it as a compliment- or as chit chat- I like your hat…

Even if I don't.

• It is also possible that you are chit chatting with language teachers who perhaps reflexively try to encourage you.

However, it is also possible that the people you are meeting can easily identify you as someone that is still in the process of mastering spoken English language communication, and because they have identified you as a language learner- are trying to encourage you.

• Finally, they make just trying to be nice. When I am approached by someone "wanting" to test our their English, I do go out of my way to compliment them. However, when I am dealing with someone in English in a professional situation (such as a meeting) that happens to conducted in English I would never compliment the on their communication skill(s) (unless they expressly commented or apologized for their "poor English"). However, regardless of language, I always thank and compliment someone for an interesting presentation (even if it is not), or interesting discussion.

I believe that these kinds of compliments are a normal part of social courtesy. I suggest that you react positively.

Thank you, I have been studying for 10 years now, but it is always a challenge. How about you? How are you managing with Japanese?

and thus a friendly chat ensues…

Smile, relax, life is too short:

cheers
 

Momokan0415

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Just to demonstrate the point Mike was making, I have highlighted all of the errors in your post that were obvious to me in red. I've also marked erroneous text that I actually found confusing with "(??)", because that happened quite a few times. Another indicator of bad English, to me, was your propensity for run-on sentences and your inability to consistently use commas correctly, but these weren't things I could just highlight in red.

In short, while your English isn't that bad (I can generally understand it even if there are confusing parts and obvious mistakes), it's not good either and needs a lot of refinement.

I'd also like to note that there were a couple really uncommon words you used in your post. I assume this is related to what you said about looking up "smart" words in magazines. These random uncommon words don't make your English look better; anyone can look in a thesaurus and find "smarter"-sounding synonyms. It's an old 4th-grade level trick. In fact, using such uncommon words you run a higher risk of using them incorrectly, which makes your English look even worse. This happened a couple of times in your post.


Hm, I have a question.
"Why are you getting so heated to 4th grade student"? lol
 

Mike Cash

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Hm, I have a question.
"Why are you getting so heated to 4th grade student"? lol

We all make sincere efforts to answer your post in a serious and helpful manner and that's your attitude?

I don't think you can be helped.

By the way...

"Why are you getting so heated to 4th grade student"?

"at", "over", and "about" are all possible correct prepositions there; "to" is not.

You also need the article "a".

It is the very tiny words that are your problem, not the big ones.
 
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PatrickNZ

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4th grade student? OP profile says 30 years old. The reference to 4th grade was referring to a "trick" in post #8. No one is getting heated or picking on a 4th grader.
And given the efforts of the other posters to provide advice, along with rational and sensible answers to your question, you should probably go back through the thread and reread it. You might learn some more about the Jref community, the English language and yourself.
 

Momokan0415

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We all make sincere efforts to answer your post in a serious and helpful manner and that's your attitude?

I don't think you can be helped.

By the way...

"Why are you getting so heated to 4th grade student"?

"at", "over", and "about" are all possible correct prepositions there; "to" is not.

You also need the article "a".

It is the very tiny words that are your problem, not the big ones.

Oh, Don't get me wrong. I haven't intended to attack you, Mike Cash.
I carefully took a look at your comment. I have recognised that you cordially commented. However, JuliMaruchan regards me as a 4th grade student to make fun of me. she could ignore this thread POSTED BY A 4TH GRADE STUDENT with poor English. It is obvious that I was laughed at as JuliMaruchan has yet to retort since reply #14
 

Momokan0415

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4th grade student? OP profile says 30 years old. The reference to 4th grade was referring to a "trick" in post #8. No one is getting heated or picking on a 4th grader.
And given the efforts of the other posters to provide advice, along with rational and sensible answers to your question, you should probably go back through the thread and reread it. You might learn some more about the Jref community, the English language and yourself.

thank you for advising. as written OP, I am 30-year-old guy. I said the remark no.8 as an irony.
 
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However, JuliMaruchan regards me as a 4th grade student to make fun of me. she could ignore this thread POSTED BY A 4TH GRADE STUDENT with poor English. It is obvious that I was laughed at as JuliMaruchan has yet to retort since reply #14
o_O

For a start, I suggest you do a word search (Ctrl-F) for the word "student" on this page and see when it first comes up.
 

WonkoTheSane

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Oh, Don't get me wrong. I haven't intended to attack you, Mike Cash.
I carefully took a look at your comment. I have recognised that you cordially commented. However, JuliMaruchan regards me as a 4th grade student to make fun of me. she could ignore this thread POSTED BY A 4TH GRADE STUDENT with poor English. It is obvious that I was laughed at as JuliMaruchan has yet to retort since reply #14
You didn't understand what she said when she said "It's an old 4th-grade level trick." I suggest you go back and reread the comment as an exercise in developing comprehension skills.
 
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Just one more thing I'd like to add: you're using "retort" wrongly in that post. I think either "reply" or "respond" is the word you're looking for. "Retort" is not used the same way.
 
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