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像马云那样去练口语

职场英语3:像马云那样去学英语

Lilian & Ashima

像一个English native speaker讲英语是每一个以英语为工作语言的职业人士的梦想,但要做到这一点不容易,它需要长时间的努力,有时候还不一定能做得到。

为了讲好英语,我们需要两种能力:灵巧和耐力。所谓灵巧,就是指我们得有意识地去学习与讲英语所相关的技能,比如我们在《向拳击那样去演讲》中所提到的在演讲之前得放松我们自己,其实在讲英语之前又何尝不是这样。另外,又如Ashima在下文中所提到的那样,演讲中最宝贵的东西不是口若悬河,而是“停顿”。另外,“倾听”也是“说”的前缀和基础。所谓耐力,就是我们学习英语得有一股马拉松运动员坚持不懈的精神,不要害怕出丑,切记一日曝十日寒。从这个角度讲,学英语、练口语又何尝不是锻炼意志、登门入道的方法之一?也许练好英语的同时不经意地还能像马云那样成就一番大事业。

马云12岁那年花6毛多钱,买了个喇叭,每天听英文广播,坚持不懈。由于没有家学渊源,马云的父母甚至连ABC都不会,马云起初学英语遇到了许多的困难。但他凭着对英语的热爱,克服了许多困难。凭借着一股子不服输的韧性,马云经常去西湖边老外多的地方,凑上去和那些外国人讲英语,不为别的,就是和老外练口语,有时也会充当一下英语导游。学英语最忌讳的就是一个“怕”字——怕丢脸不敢说,怕丢脸不敢大声说。马云就是借着这种“厚脸皮”精神,借着不怕出丑的大无畏精神,一有机会就在街上逮着外国人开练英语。马云的英语口语就这样一天天流利起来。慢慢地,马云的英语口语让所有的师生大跌眼镜,有时候连老外都以为他是从美国回来的归国小华侨。而那时的马云便会向别人解释,他从来没出过国门。没有出过一天国的马云,就这样练就了一口纯正、流利的英语,而且结识了许多的外国朋友。无论如何,马云的英语在那时是出了名的。甚至在马云上了大学之后的几年时间里,他仍然每天一个人跑到宾馆门口跟老外“对话”。尽管这些类似“闻鸡起舞”、“卧薪尝胆”之类的故事拿到今天来说已无从考证,但马云多年的努力确实为其外语水平打下了坚实的基础。

英语很重要,职场英语不仅重要,而且是我们职业人士不可或缺的一个谋生手段,所以我们没有理由不好好地学习。另外,说不定一不小心就像马云那样成了首富呢?!

Speak Like a Native English Speaker

"The most precious things in speech are pauses."-Ralph Richardson

As essential as it is to be fluent in your language it is to know when to pause. To be able to match the native English eloquence, here are certain tips that might come in handy:-

Avoid Slang to sound polite

Use formal words as much as possible unless you are very familiar with someone. Go for 'Hello, how are you?' as an alternative to 'Hi! What's up'. Similarly, it is also considered polite to ask after a person who has travelled some distance to meet you. It will put the other person quite at ease if instead of saying 'Hello, I was waiting for you, good to see you' one says 'Hello, hope your ride till here was comfortable, the traffic around this hour can be a menace sometimes'. The idea basically is to cut, the person running late, some slack. Use of the words like 'Waiting' shows that you had perhaps been walking up and down the aisle anxiously instead of cooling your heels till the person arrived. The person running late would be as it is embarrassed enough to have overshot the meeting time, hence comforting the person who has come to meet you is a kind thing to do.  

Speak and listen carefully

Listen. Speak. Repeat. The best way to get the hang of the language is to listen the native speakers speak carefully and to inculcate new words and phrases that you come across, in your speech.

Tenses

Tenses can be hard to follow for many. Some tenses like the present perfect, past perfect and future perfect continuous tenses are more challenging than others. When you are stuck with trying to find the right tense, it is advisable to think of the same sentence in all the tenses to see how the meaning changes from one tense to another. Usually one must stick to one tense through out, unless otherwise required.   

Read more

Reading good books goes a long way in shaping one's language. Personally we feel reading the English adaptation of one's favourite novel helps in focussing more on the language as the plot of the novel is already known and it becomes easier to understand how certain events can be put across to others.

Watch movies

Akin to reading is watching movies in English or with English subtitles. Spoken language is best depicted by the media of movies. Manner of speaking and the tone of voice to use, can be well understood by the dialogues in the movies. Inflection in the voice is very important to get the true sentiments across. Some of those who are inherently loud may be considered rude or a pushover if they are too soft spoken. Therefore, care must be taken to modulate the voice according to the occasion.

Grow your vocabulary

Once one has the command of the language, one must try to refine their language. Use of idioms and phrases, correct punctuation marks while writing, pausing at the right places while speaking etc., would add another feather to your cap.

Using language translators on the Internet

Language translators are a great boon to mankind. These softwares have truly got people of varied cultures and languages closer as at least the written text can be easily translated into the preferred language at the speed of light. However, it is not a tool to depend on if you wish to better your English speaking skills. While Translating-tools do a wonderful job of conveying the meaning of certain things, they are not always equipped to suggest the grammatically correct sentences and phrases.

So, we hope these little tips would help you in getting a better grip on your language. Please, leave us a comment below in case of any queries. 

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