OK, it’s about time I came clean about my activities involving skin rejuvenation procedures and wrinkle treatment. Yes, I’m getting older, there’s a lot of grey hair emerging on my head, so I want to do everything within my power to fight the effects of time and look young forever…
It’s not really me who used services of the beauty salon – it was my daughter and I just brought her there. I used it as an attention grabber and I just wanted to entice you to start reading this article, which is probably just as bad as lying, sorry for that!
Keep reading this article though, because I’m about to tell you why my visit to the Polish beauty salon was more than just sitting in the hall and waiting on my daughter to finish her facial procedure.
I got talking to the salon owner – a Polish woman – and what struck me was the fact that her English pronunciation was nearly perfect.
Seriously, I couldn’t remember meeting any other foreigner here in Ireland having such a near-native level of English accent. Or should I say – lack of thereof – because at times she sounded exactly like the local English speakers! (for your reference – English spoken in Ireland is a bit different in terms of pronunciation and grammar than its American, British and Australian counterparts.)
Me and my wife were chatting with her for a while, and I started noticing another thing – her English would probably upset some radical English language perfectionists because she was making a few grammar mistakes, especially when it came to using the Past Perfect Tense and grammar constructs like Conditional 2 Simple.
Not that I would ever judge her; if there’s someone who’s adamant that foreign English speakers focus on what they CAN say instead of what they can’t – it’s me!
I was simply amazed at how confident she was and how fluently she spoke despite allowing a slight imperfection to creep into her speech every now and then. And you know what? It didn’t hinder the communication between me, my wife and the salon owner a bit; we could speak with her with the same ease as we’d speak with native English speakers.
You Don’t Need to Be Perfect to Be
an Effective English Communicator!
What so many foreigners and native English speakers alike seem to be getting wrong is the blanket approach (everything or everyone being regarded the same) towards imposing the English language standards. Whether you’re a medical staff member in a hospital or a warehouse operator, your spoken English knowledge is judged by how skillfully you’re able to get the Tenses right and how good your English pronunciation is.
But here’s the problem the way I see it – the assistant doctor and the warehouse operative clearly don’t have identical professional requirements in terms of grammar and pronunciation. If the warehouse operative speaks with a lot of mistakes yet his speech is fluent and totally understandable, why would he be treated equally with a doctor of foreign origin who confuses his native English speaking patients when discussing a complicated medical issue and possible treatment scenarios?
I think everyone deserves to be treated based on their unique situation, and I believe the warehouse operative’s career shouldn’t be limited by a glass ceiling (gender, age and racial bias in terms of employment) just because the manager would rather have a native English speaker in a team-leader’s position, for instance. If a person can express their opinion and feel comfortable in all daily situations, he or she is to be considered a fluent English speaker and an effective communicator.
And please don’t get me wrong – I didn’t say the foreign doctor wasn’t an effective communicator!
My point was that if his English isn’t fit for the purpose, there’s nothing wrong with assessing his language skills and determining certain areas where there’s further improvement needed. Meeting professional standards is a completely different story altogether and is not to be mistaken for discrimination on nationality grounds.
The point I’m trying to make here is – if your English skills are sufficient for your work and social needs, you shouldn’t be judged on the basis that your English doesn’t meet higher standards applicable to professionals and native English speakers
Confident Demeanor Goes a Long Way!
I suppose it’s relatively easy to maintain the air of confidence about you if you’ve never experienced any English fluency related issues. If you’ve never been academically minded and you haven’t tried to transfer the kind of security that comes from writing a perfect piece of writing into your English conversations, you probably have never given a conscious thought to what might be wrong with your spoken English.
When you just speak WITHOUT much thinking about HOW you speak, you can exert that type of confidence seen in people who are truly comfortable about what they’re doing regardless of their level of professionalism.
And that’s exactly what I could see in that Polish beauty salon owner.
She was 100% comfortable discussing subjects related to her profession. We asked her specific questions about facial skincare and treatment and she used industry related terms with an ease of a native English speaker.
When we got talking about unrelated topics she was still 100% comfortable with her English. Yes, she hesitated a bit on some occasions when looking for the right word to say. Yes, she made a few mistakes along the way.
IT DIDN’T WORRY HER A BIT though, and that’s the most important trait of character that a foreign English speaker may wish for
- If you’re confident enough, many of your mistakes will pass unnoticed because you won’t freak out when making them.
- If you’re confident enough, you won’t start analyzing your own speech and you won’t get tongue-tied because you know exactly what you want to say.
- If you’re really confident about yourself and your English, you’ll speak comfortably even with your native accent and it won’t bother you.
Yes, the Polish girl’s pronunciation was flawless – and I can see why it may make a person sound more fluent (although I’m not too concerned about it personally) – but that’s not the main reason she came across as a very fluent English speaker.
If you asked for my opinion, I’d definitely say that it’s the confidence and carelessness she spoke with that made our English communication with her pleasant and easy!
P.S. Would you like to find out why I’mÂ highlightingÂ some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!
P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!