Friday, September 11, 2009

My English, Eh, She Is Getting Worse

A surprise of working with ESL students all day is that, as their English improves, mine seems to worsen. Perhaps it's because I simplify my own speech for comprehensibility, or because I hear so much not-quite-correct English all day. Maybe it's the distraction of my brain echoing everything I say back to me in Portu-Spanglish. Por exemplo, when I say, "Me, too," I literally hear, "Yo, tambien" in the back of my head. When I ask, "What else?" I hear, "Que mais?" in Portuguese, and then correct it to "Que mas?" for the Spanish-speakers, and, finally, realize that I am at home where the only languages are English and Cat; no Portuguese, no Spanish. My students are not here needing translation. The cats communicate well enough through body language and insistent meows.

Today, after I said something with a very strange turn-of-phrase during our lunch break, I asked the experienced ESL teacher, "Does teaching ESL make your English worse?" She replied, "Yes."

Perhaps I should go read some beautifully constructed prose in English, or watch a well-written Hollywood film, or view a BBC production. This development is somewhat alarming.

For now, my good friends, I hope you to have weekend great and very much fun. Si?