The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

You will never think in English: how to learn a language correctly in immigration

Sergey Evelev

writer, TV and radio host


Immigration, an inside view ...

Photo: Shutterstock

We have read and heard a lot about immigration and it is difficult to imagine anything left behind the scenes. But I want to talk about a person in a similar mess and what is happening to him. I call the whole process scrappy when he is torn away from his roots, land, country, culture, friends ... (yes, everything that he is used to, which, in fact, constitutes his entire way of life) and throws him into the “enemy's camp”. Well, okay, if not an enemy, but certainly not an ally. What kind of allies are there when everything is alien around: faces, setting, culture, customs, and language. It is on the topic of language that I want to dwell for a while.

The topic is important. And a look from the inside ... How would ...

So. What is language? Let's imagine that this is a set of sounds that convey thoughts, ideas, commands, reactions to what is happening, and much more. If a person came to another country at the age of 3-5 years, he has this entire apparatus of using voice to transmit information to others is still in the stage of formation. Therefore, he easily and quickly learns a new language and in almost a hundred percent of cases - loses the old one. But I'm not talking about them. I - about those who managed to form, saying "bread", "sun" or ... "skis".

If this is a Russian-speaking friend, he knows what he means, sees a picture in his head, and even, perhaps, tastes the words while pronouncing them. But having arrived in a foreign country, he finds himself in a very stressful situation. It is necessary to quickly learn the language, and habits, and customs, and laws, and rules of behavior, often very different from those to which he is used, regardless of where he came from. And it's hard. Objectively, it is very difficult. Because you need to live and function today, and this knowledge comes gradually. Hence the stress.

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But now several years have passed, and it has become easier. Although the mechanism of communication with local comrades remains difficult. Whether it is English, German, Zanzibar, or whatever. Do not believe those who say, “I have lived here for ten years and I think in English,” or in French, or ... It’s not like that. If you came to another country as an adult, you are doomed to think in Russian for the rest of your days ... if, of course, Russian was your native language, or in Chinese, if you are from there. You can argue on this topic until the stomach becomes hoarse. Why only?

So. We lay out the process on the shelves.

I thought in Russian, quickly translated it into English in my head, made the necessary corrections, since it is a different country, culture, traditions ... (but I have already spoken about this). And he brought it to the “consumer” ... completely different from what I would like to say if I spoke in my native language. The taste of the sounded is not the same. The smell is not the same. Since the language is not the same. The realities are not the same, the background is different. And most importantly, this language is not spoken like that. Here are other “language formulas”.

By the way, this is the reason that many people speak a foreign language poorly. They express themselves quickly and even boldly, but badly. And I'm not even talking about the accent. They try to translate their "Russians", or any other thoughts, into English or German, and this is a vicious path. It is necessary to learn how to “say it here” correctly, and not with the translation “from here to here”. To do this, you buy a book of local idioms and learn it by heart. And the problem has been largely resolved. Now, knowing what you want to say, instead of translating, you pick up a “formula” existing in the new language, a phrase that conveys exactly that. And you say her. And that's all. And everyone understands. And they don't need to nod politely instead of asking you to explain what you were trying to convey.

Next we go.

Since the vast majority do not buy a book and do not teach idioms, then each immigrant will now have two living inside. Oops ... Surprise ...

One always goes first: the one born in the country of “departure”. Behind him - the second, who must play local games all the time, in conflict with the first. Why conflicting? And because when translating, a lot is lost, and the essence, and the meaning, and the sharpness, and the picture that your words are designed to draw in the air and / or in the mind. The speaker, perhaps, does not even notice anything of what I have described. It is not excluded. But this does not at all negate the truth of what was said. This is how it works. Linguists probably know about this, and scientists who study linguistics, linguistic programming, and everything connected with them.

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And we can only live and try to reconcile these two on at least one topic, and any. Didn't you know that several creatures live in each of us? And the inner voice, but doubts, and “an idea came to my mind” ... This, in your opinion, who said or thought? More precisely, which of them? There, after all, a whole chorus of eternally conflicting voices of different sizes settled down. Sometimes they manage to agree, sometimes they don't. But this is already the topic of my next essay. It will talk about making a decision, and about all the participants in the meeting in the head, from speaking out, and fighting to ensure that his point of view was taken into account. This is sometimes called a split personality. Sometimes there are many of these personalities. And they must somehow put up, coexist. But more on that later.

Until then.

We were not expected here

I arrived in America and realized that we were not expected here,
They lived gloriously, and they did not miss us at all,
But, over the years, immigrant sorrow has been brought here,
Like us, fugitives, to nip to someone else's fire.

Showy care, behind a faceless, soulless smile,
But, they mentally feel sorry for homeless stray dogs,
Aren't you mistaken, sitting in the orchestra with a disturbed violin ...
Visitor-visitor, you tried to fit into a stranger ...

That is, you are a stranger here, and you will never become your own,
Yes, you learn the language, buy a house and give birth to children,
Here, be wise, don't be wise, you can't pull the blanket over yourself,
And plus, do not plus, the result is a shish.

It's hard in the middle, these places are watered with blood,
It's good at the top, and quite tolerant at the bottom,
Pity you, serve you, make you happy with a loan,
To quench your heartless tears, iron.

But, on the other hand, they did not really expect us in the Union,
If only that in the army, having lowered the meat in the war ...
It was yesterday. And today, forgetting about sadness,
We are sprouting into the country, quicker, harder, stronger.

PS: and if anyone wants to speak on this topic, then on my FB page there is always room for it.

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