Wednesday, December 14, 2011

China is bad for my English

Fact. Sure I'm teaching English, but most of the time this means making sure my students understand the grammar and technicalities behind the English language. Simply put, I end up explaining more complex subjects in simpler words, and hoping that they can read/write/speak at a 4th grade level. While my grammar has improved, one thing that has definitely slipped - and the same thing happened when I was in Paris - is my vocabulary. And I hate it! What I love about the English language is the expansive vocabulary available that you can use to articulate yourself so that you can convey exactly what you mean with just-right words. For example, why use 'fake' to describe the merchandise at the tourist shops in Shanghai when 'ersatz' fits so much better? Use dissonant to describe the grinding noise as the subway approaches the stop? I'm afraid that all the Chinese I'm trying to stuff in my brain is pushing out the English I already knew. Thank goodness for my Kindle-- I am that nerdy girl on the evening subway commute reading Fitzgerald and catching up with new vocabulary words.


Post a Comment