Do YOU – in English


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This is a common motivational post and I will push it again. When you are learning English in your early months, you will be practicing all the well known simple phrases to get you into the conversation most, but there will be a point where you simply have to be you – and that’s the goal.

When we think about the phrase ‘just do you in English’, it’s really about finding your comfort zone with the language. Everyone has a special personality that shines through whenever they talk – and in particular if they talk with their friends. This is an opportunity to find the words, phrases and situations in English that are also you.

I love teaching students from many different cultures because one thing I do notice is that different cultures have different ways of expressing themselves. There are some kinds of discussions that are unheard of in some countries and then there are others that are very common.

For example, when I first came to Malaysia I was quite shocked that people straight out blatantly would tell you if you were fat. Then following that they would tell you that you had to lose weight. This shocked me in the beginning until I told them that culturally that is not what people do where I come from. They were shocked and confused saying – ‘how will people change if you don’t tell them!’ I realized that in the Malaysian culture it was common and acceptable to say these kinds of things to each other.

Then in our western (British originated) culture I realized that we had a very strong sense of black humour. Then trying to have a laugh this way in Malaysia only caused confusion. They thought I was telling the truth, they were sometimes shocked that I would find such things funny. This I realized was a distinctive western phenomenon.

Another common difference is – white people all want to be brown and brown people all want to be white – and neither can understand why the other wants such a horrific thing!  And so it goes on.

When people learn English they need to know that the language is simple a vehicle to express who you are. If you have certain beliefs and customs, the language is there to help you express it – but this time in English.

So don’t be afraid – do you in English – that’s what it’s for!

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