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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Being Practical Pays

I am quite a fan of Bill Bryson (except his The Lost Continent, which I think is quite mean.). I recently read his Neither Here Nor There where he talked about travelling around Europe. It has some very funny part.

Here I would like to quote (on page 76) his words on talking about his experience in learning French. He was in Wallonia, France. And,

"... hardly anyone in Wallonia speaks English. I began to regret that I didn't understand French well enough to eavesdrop. I took three years of French in school, but learned next to nothing. The trouble was that the textbooks were so amazingly useless. ... at no point did they intersect with the real world. ... They were always tediously preoccupied with classroom activities,... How often on a visit to France do you need to tell someone you want to clean a blackboard? How frequently do you wish to say, "It is winter. Soon it will be spriing"? In my experience, people know this already"

What a laugh!
It shows for all the purpose of learning a new language, being practical is quite important. At least you can eavesdrop!

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