Declarations of Exaggeration – A Taste of English Proficiency

“I’m fluent English!” said A, who stood with his arms folded and feet apart. “I have speaking English for many years. So, attending the class not a priority for me. I seeking for informations only.”

“I’m native speaker!” said B, who donned her glasses and looked down her pointy nose at the rest of the class. “I have lived the UK for many year. And English is first languages for me now. No need to take class for the English.”

“I’m beginner-ah,” said C, his antagonistic tone daring anyone to say otherwise. “I English unwell-ah. Learn see-cool [school] only ah. Hard to say, ah. You help-la.”

“I know read goo’, speaking bad-ah,” said D, her confident smile threatening to separate her double chin from her face. “No… how you say… con fee dun-ah [confidence]. Mebbe you hel’ me-ah.”

And so it went, each of the twenty individuals declaring their level of English fluency. They all seemed so confident, except three, who alternatively giggled, twittered, and hid behind their hands when describing their English proficiency. One waved a hand and pointed at her throat – sore throat. The next individual offered an introduction so quiet that his neighbours were forced to lean in to hear it, but still had to ask him to repeat.

The teacher beamed at them all. And proceeded to drone on about the importance of grammar and vocabulary, ensuring that sentence structure and phrasing were correct, otherwise, how else would the learners be understood?

The expressions and structure of the sentences provide a taste of how L2 (second language) speakers parse ideas and expressions. Can you hear the accent in the way the sentences are written? Perhaps these types of speech patterns can be integrated (sparingly!) into a story, or two. Or maybe just a description of dropped articles, word endings and the addition of an unnecessary “s”, would suffice?

Personally, I would only show a sentence or two, sprinkle the odd ending sound throughout the character’s speech patterns. Enough to illustrate the L2 aspect, but not so much that it overwhelms.

By-the-bye, it’s also difficult to write in “confused” English; the brain isn’t accustomed to it. Heh.

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Declarations of Exaggeration – A Taste of English Proficiency

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