169 Good English
Christian explains his secrets for becoming good at English.
Todd: Now, Christian, you're English is amazing. Perfect actually.
Christian: Thank you.
Todd: And many people from Norway have excellent English. What is the secret about Norway?
Christian: I don't know. I actually heard that before that I meet a lot of people and they say,"Oh, you're from Norway. Norwegian people speak such good English. Why is that?" Personally I think it's because we get a lot of exposure to English, through TV, music, media, everything, and we don't dub movies and TV programs like they do in many other countries. We get subtitles. And the same with music. English music is very, very popular. Probably more popular that Norwegian music, and I guess as well the education system provides us with really good, you know, teaching so, I mean all those combined together, you know, creates, how to say.
Todd: Super speakers!
Christian: I don't know super speakers. It's a good combination, I guess in term of learning the language, so, you know, and a lot of Norwegians travel as well and they have time to practice as well, which is important if you want to speak English well.
Todd: Sure, well, how difficult is it to learn Norwegian?
Christian: That is probably more difficult that English, I'd say, but it's interesting I have a private Japanese student at the moment and he went to Norway on exchange from his university here in Japan and he didn't speak a word of Norwegian before he went but he spent the year there, and he now can have a decent conversation with me in Norwegian. That's three years ago since he went there, but still he speaks pretty well.
Personally I think it's because we get a lot of exposure to English.
We can use the word "personally" in a sentence where we state our opinion. It is like saying, "You don't have to agree with me, but I think this." Notice the following:
- Personally, I never completely believe his stories.
- How do you feel personally?
We get a lot of exposure to English through TV.
"Exposure" to English is seeing it or hearing it. If we are exposed to something it is around us even if we don't look for it. Notice the following:
- Children have a lot of exposure to violence on television.
- Did you have much exposure to travel when you were younger?
We don't dub movies.
When you "dub" a movie you replace the voices of the real actors with someone saying the same thing, but in your language. A movie that was originally made in English may be dubbed in French or Spanish, for example. Notice the following:
- Because the movie was dubbed, the characters' mouths did not move with the words.
- Do you prefer to watch dubbed movies or movies with subtitles?
We get subtitles.
"Subtitles" are the translated words that appear at the bottom of the screen if you watch a movie that is in a different language. Notice the following:
- There are subtitles in Spanish, French and English only.
- Do you want to watch the movie with the subtitles on?
He now can have a decent conversation with us.
A "decent conversation" is one that is respectable, appropriate and probably informed. Referring to the example, maybe before he had nothing interesting to say and now he does. Notice the following:
- That was the first decent conversation I ever had with her.
- Do you have some free time later? It would be nice to have a decent conversation about this.
Below are some more great lessons!
subtitles • decent