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Posts: 49

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Q: Is your English getting worse the longer you stay in China?

Mine is. I had a teacher once tell me that language is something that needs to be practiced or else it is lost. I used to think of myself as possessing an above average command of the English language. However, I continually find myself more reliant on MS Word's spelling ang grammar check for basic stuff, such as the differences between "affect" and "effect." Sometimes I will forget words altogether and find myself trying to use more basic phrases to express my meaning. Have you ever come across another foreigner and been stumped for words? "I understand your question, but my response time is a little slow because my brain is thinking in Chinese." Good news is, my Chinese is improving.

8 years 7 weeks ago in  Teaching & Learning - China

 
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mine gets better as I have to think before I open my mouth

however when I post here my brain takes time offsurprise

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8 years 7 weeks ago
 
Posts: 1633

Shifu

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Nope, I have 45 years of speaking English experience and I doubt that spending time in China will have any kind of short term or long term implications on that. Once a fluent native speaker always a fluent native speaker.

 

English is your 2nd language , right?

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8 years 7 weeks ago
 
Posts: 518

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Well i have to agree that we are more looking for basic words while talking in english... the difficult ones almost forgot.... As we have an inbuilt feeling that the other person wont understand difficult words... so even if you use.. then then question arises and then u explain simple.. finally why go for diff words?... use only simple ones... connected together most of the time... like filling blanks with the meaning of the single word with many simple words..

So yes... the level of english has dropped... 

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8 years 7 weeks ago
 
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i am the prove for you question.....seems like my English got really bad that people on this forum think am a chinese............i think every new chinese word i learn i lose an english word.......i have been living  here for seven years so imagine how many words i learned and how many english words i lost..........LOL.........God bless......

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8 years 7 weeks ago
 
Posts: 501

Governor

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Mine is getting better, it's my second language, and while at home I had no need to use it everyday, but here I use it at office all day long (until I'll learn enough chinese). 

Sure, many my co-workers use "chinglish", and it make some mess, but... it is not a big problem now. Let me judge it again after few months Smile

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8 years 7 weeks ago
 
Posts: 707

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Slightly, yes. I once went 2 months with having no contact with another native speaker. During the 2 months I was speaking very simple English, so later when I talked with a native speaker it felt that my English was quite clumsy.

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8 years 7 weeks ago
 
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English is the same as it was I dont dumb down words for Chinese people to understand me if they dont understand it they dont.

I find teachers that I have met who have worked around little kids there standard of english  is poor.

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8 years 7 weeks ago
 
Posts: 1559

Shifu

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I find that my English has gotten a little lazy (seems Chinese people have a better chance of understanding me if I forego all verb tenses other than present tense) and I speak quite a bit slower than I used to.  This all goes away after a few days away from China though...

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8 years 7 weeks ago
 
Posts: 4400

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  Noo, if onythang I thenk it's gotting butter.

Ok, actually I know what you mean, it's kind of the brain getting stuck between two languages. You find yourself forgetting English words but knowing the Chinese translation. Either that or you're just going senile. It doesn't happen to me really as i'm lazy with studying Chinese. I get the wife to speak it at home but I reply in English. One thing I do find happens is i'll take a class of low level students and then when I leave the class I sometimes find that because i've been dumbing down and slowing my pace to fit the student's level, for the first three minutes after the class, I speak to anyone I meet like they're an idiot.

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8 years 7 weeks ago
 
Posts: 1154

Shifu

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i think its @#$%^ if your english is getting worst their must be some kind of mental problem    and your dreams are in chinese now lmao cmon

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8 years 7 weeks ago
 
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Not getting worse, but I do agree with you on the conversational drifting. Here, I just talk at people, such as giving lectures or instructions in class. Also, the people I do have conversations with in English here can only talk about "surface" topics, and contain very little content. I can't say I've had too many (well, none actually) discussions about abstract or philosophical concepts since I've been here.

 

When I go home to the States and actually have a deeper level conversation, my response time has slowed down considerably, most likely from not having intelligent conversations here and also from using a "bare bones" vocabulary.

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8 years 7 weeks ago
 
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mine does, my English gets worse the longer I stay in China; well on the other hand, my Chinese gets worse the longer I stay in Canada.

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8 years 6 weeks ago
 
Posts: 104

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I think if one is not a native speaker of English, and if their command of the language was not as strong before coming to China, yes, that's very likely. However, I wouldn't imagine a native speaker having their English skills plummet because of their stay in China, oh no!! I think the only case this is possible is if it's a little child. A 5 year old child whose first  language is English but comes to China and lives here until adulthood can, to some extent,  'lose' his/her competence in the language. NOT an adult.

 

WhiteBear's answer is also worth noting...I have had fellow foreign friends who started learning English in China and those whose English level was just basic before they arrived in China,  and have improved their skills here. I think it's a complex phenomenon.

 

Oh I just remembered something...may be it's possible for this to happen to an adult. In my country, ( in Africa), we have had people who travelled to the west when they were teenagers and lived there for, say, 20 years. When they come back home, some have been found to fail to communicate fluently in our local language ( which is their first). They utter strange expressions ....using our local language lexicon but with Englicised structures....and sometimes even failing to find the right words for what they want to communicate. So, with that, I think we can't rule out a native English speaker losing some competence in their own language...just depends on how long they live here...and the extent to which they are immersed in Chinese.

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8 years 6 weeks ago
 
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I have found the opposite to be true, since coming here and meeting so many people who speak poor English, missing letters in words etc, I have made an effort to speak better myself. I now tutor some Chinese children, all teenagers, on speaking correctly. I am not a linguistic snob and my English is far from perfect, but being exposed to so much Chinglish has just made me aware of the importance of trying to present my language as well as I can. I now have one or two adults asking for tutoring as they tell me I am easier to understand as my speech is a little slower than some and certainly clearer.

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8 years 6 weeks ago
 
Posts: 83

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i think if u r a native English speaker why your language is getting worse? for me i am an Arab and my English is much better than before but the more i speak Chinese the more i lose English skills especially when i stop speaking English.

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8 years 6 weeks ago
 
Posts: 285

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I have the same experience. the more I speak English, the more I feel chaotic when I organized my own language. after six years I backed to China. I have not problem to speak my own language, But, I have the difficulty in speaking English with complicated words. I only use simple word.

 

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8 years 6 weeks ago
 
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The key is spending time to keep in touch with the English Language; reading speaking and writing are all good ways as well as watching English films. 

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8 years 6 weeks ago
 
Posts: 32

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Science has proven that we have 3 types of vocabulary: reading, speaking and listening.

 

Native speakers would experience a decline in their speaking and listening vocabulary, given that we have to frequently dumb down our level of English to accommodate that of whomever we are conversing with (typically, but not limited to, Chinese). The end result is that the more sophisticated words we don't speak and don't frequently hear anymore fade into the background of our reading vocabulary.

 

I'm pretty sure that while us native speakers may have simplistic if not incorrect grammar or spelling or don't have as agile a verbal command over words from lack of use ("Use it or lose it" anyone?), it certainly hasn't faded away entirely. You'd be able to remember it and comprehend it rather quickly upon reading those words, or at the very least, it WILL come back to you over time. I've often found myself remembering the word I was looking for in a conversation or remembering the meaning of a word I'd read but was too far from a dictionary a number of hours later when I'm busy with something else and it just hits me.

 

The take-away? Practice. At the very least, keep reading books and keep a dictionary close when you are. Practice saying a few sentences to yourself using the words you look up. That way when you get back into an english-speaking society, you don't appear to be a person of dull mind. Though you can get away with speaking Mandarin/Cantonese and saying you forgot the English word, before changing the topic. Lol.

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8 years 1 week ago
 
Posts: 2549

Emperor

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Since I live in China and have China girlfriend my engrish have gotten worse.  Do not know why.  Maybe I learn to adapt?  

We go eat?  Chi Fan?  We make love?  No Happy...no OK...no why.  We go KTV?

I need drink.

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8 years 1 week ago
 
Posts: 4423

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yeah, 10 years of asian life, asian wife/child,  rarely interacting with those people from the white countries,,,   it seems weird to see them,, let alonte talk with them !!  then it's talk about what ??   i dunno sheeite about things happening in USA anymore...  what's this movie, whose this music star,,,  and whatever else they wanna talk about, like the places they have traveled to or will travel to.   it just seems odd to listen to them tell me about how they went to bangkok...   all i can think is,   oh really,?   who really gives a fk..

again, I am not sure if my English is bad,,, but it feels weird trying to talk to native speakers.... whether it is just speaking or subject matter, i dunno...

i knew a guy from west in china keep telling me how many 'bucks' sth cost.  i was like,, wtf is a 'buck'??  he was talking about kuai....  travelers are just odd,, lol  crying

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8 years 1 week ago
 
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Yeah! my wife and I just commented on this the other day. Sad phenomenon eh?

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8 years 6 days ago
 
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P.S. What is the cure?

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8 years 6 days ago
 
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