Yesterday Tatiana announced the official launch of Tatiana-pravda.com, with a caveat that all the articles will be in English. She’ll probably post most of her articles concurrently on HE, or at least those about movies, books and travel. This one is about her struggle to learn English in her youth.
Tatiana excerpt: It’s almost certain I will never ever speak English as well as Russian. 70% at best, and only after years and years of hard work.
As I began this article there were two competing voices within.
One said, “Nobody will be really interested in your writing. Even a super exciting story sounds dull and trivial if it’s told clumsily or without spirit.”
Another voice replied, “Yes, you’re absolutely right. You will sound dreary and your readers will be bored. But you know how a person achieves great heights? When he/she finds himself in an uncomfortable situation and needs to climb out of it. Or if a person creates a challenge for himself. But the heart beats faster and faster and the blood craves adrenalin. It’s like jumping with a parachute for the first time in your life.”
I fell in love with English at first sight, or more precisely at first sound :-). I was six or seven years old when I first heard it spoken. In the Soviet Union era all students were required to study a foreign language after graduating from elementary school (three years). We all went to school when we were seven years old. After elementary school we transferred to middle school (five years). And then high school (two years).
Exceptions were the language schools where you studied a foreign language from the very beginning.
I was very excited about studying English. But guess what? We were instructed in English but not encouraged to speak it conversationally. Anti-capitalist propaganda, the Cold War, full isolation of the USSR from the world…we all were very busy with building communism.
We were reading texts about London (“London is the capital of Great Britain”), Washington and New York, but were absolutely unable to speak the language of an imperialist nation that we taught to regard as our enemy.