TONGUE-TIED

  • Agonyaunt

Apr 30, 2019-

Dear Aunt,

I moved to Kathmandu from Jhapa to pursue my bachelor’s degree a year ago. During my school days, we weren’t allowed to take English medium classes. This affected my English reading and speaking skills—with almost no command over the language. I wasn’t really bothered about it until my plus two as I studied it in my hometown. But here in Kathmandu, I am facing a lot of bullying and my friends always tease me by repeating my broken English accent.

I also have difficulties understanding what my friends say or type in text messages. Even my teacher, although he does speak in Nepali, uses words that I’m not familiar with. This has made my life difficult. I tried reading some English novels but they were way too hard for me to get right into. I don’t know what to do anymore. I did clear my first two semesters but I didn’t get good scores in English. My parents, back home, are concerned of my grades. I am worried too. But I don’t know what to do anymore. I can’t even afford to enrol in a language class. Also, I’m too shy to talk to my English teacher and share with him my difficulties.

Now, I’m so nervous and scared. I don’t feel confident about anything at all. So, please help me, Aunt. I don’t understand what to do anymore.

- Subin

Dear Subin,

Before I begin suggesting you measures to improve your language, I’d like to let you know that you don’t have to feel disheartened for not being able to adapt to a new language right away. Even your friends, who speak English quite well, might have struggled during their initial phases. Just because they were taught since a very young age doesn’t mean that they are any better than you. So, as you begin learning, don’t be too hard on yourself. It takes time, patience, and a lot more of learning to be able to understand a language and you need to be ready to provide such positivity to yourself.

As you said that you have already tried reading novels but they didn’t work for you—it’s good that you opted to read. It is one of the most important ways to improve but first, one needs to figure out the kind of book they choose to read. In your case, it appears that you find novels complex due to the advance level of English. So, I’d suggest you to start with simple books, even children’s book is a great start.

If you do try a few of them and find that your English is better than that, go for storybooks that are published for young readers. Books are usually targeted for readers according to their age. Once you find the level you think matches your skill, make sure to keep a dictionary by your side. And if you think that you can’t afford them, use what is available in the internet. You can find almost anything for free online.

Second, if you’re stuck in a book, try switching up the genres. Look for books that interest you. It’s alright if you don’t like the world’s best books, it’s your perspective and taste of stories—so don’t let anyone judge you. For pronunciations, the best option is to search them online. There are plenty of free courses, especially videos of words pronunciation. Grab them all and practice it now and then. Even if you make mistakes at first, don’t get discouraged right away.

Lastly, search for grammar books or websites online. They will be very helpful for you as English revolves around the grammatical rules. In case of any confusion, you can ask your teacher. Go and be honest to them and share your experience. I don’t think any teacher would refuse helping their student who wants to improve.

And remember that you’re still learning and you should be the one to acknowledge that more than anyone. Good luck!

Published: 30-04-2019 09:57

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