Posts Tagged ‘ESL’  Click on “Chandra’s Story”

Beloved libraries are homes and community centers for kids, teens, seniors, job-seekers, you and me–anyone who needs a place to access books, resources, the Internet, and, especially librarians’ expertise.

We can all help and have fun at the same time.

In Oakland, CA?

1.  Attend any portion of the June 30, 2009 meeting, 5:00pm–late evening

Oakland City Council Meeting
Check   for change in meeting time

City Council Chambers at Oakland City Hall
1 Frank H Ogawa Plaza
1 City Hall Plaza (the building with clock tower)
Oakland, CA 94612

2.  Tell friends about:

3.  Attend the next Save-the-Library advocacy meeting:

6:00 to 8:00 PM, Oakland Main Library-West Auditorium.   125 14th Street, Oakland, CA

December 1, 2008

by Teresa LeYung Ryan

I was eight years old when my parents, my siblings and I came to the United States. An older cousin (who was born in California) gave me a picture-dictionary. “A” for apple, “B” for bus, “C” for cat, etc. I learned those words by listening to my cousin enunciate them. My first day of school (third grade in San Francisco) was a memorable experience. I was too scared to say anything, so, the other children laughed at me. Their laughter compelled me to learn English with urgency. By the time I entered fourth grade, the teacher couldn’t tell that I was a new immigrant.

However, mastering the language wasn’t that easy. My first language is Cantonese; there are no verb tenses in the Chinese language. In Chinese, we would say: I eat today; I eat yesterday; I eat tomorrow. In English: I eat today; I ate yesterday; I will eat tomorrow. Also, I had to remember to add “s” after the verb when the verb is used with third-person singular: He/She eats today; he/she ate yesterday; he/she will eat tomorrow.

And, the English language has many idioms. Idioms are common phrases that usually do not make sense when you translate the strong of words. Examples: “Keep an eye out” which means “watch for …” (I thought it was “keep both eyes out” and my friends would laugh); “Hold your horses” which means “be patient” (not “hold on to your horses” which invited more laughs.) is a useful website to learn English idioms. Be careful though; using idioms with someone who is not familiar with idioms could create misunderstandings. I’ve been speaking English for over forty years and sometimes I still have to ask: “What do you mean?”

My biggest advice to ESL students:

  • Connect with nature. Even if you and I don’t speak the same language, we have something in common–we appreciate the gifts from nature. So, go for a walk in the park/on a trail, visit a garden, sit near the ocean or under a tree; there’s something for everyone.
  • Watch DVDs and turn on the subtitle feature (choose English of course) so that you can see the spelling of words while listening to them.

I welcome your advice to fellow ESL students. Please post your comments on this blog. Thank you.

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