Break the barrier

14 September 2010

So guys, here's the plaintext.

It's not me. It's my awkward way with words, the way I handle the spoken language, that sets me apart from these people.

I just arrived from my job, and today's bunch was extremely different. What was a group of people in their mid-20s to 30s on the weekends I worked was replaced by a group of guys (and girls) in the 10th or 11th grade. I was like, "WHOAH, BUDDY!"

So, there I was, sitting next to these high schoolers who were 3, maybe 5 months more tenured than me. There were 7 people from somewhere in the Middle East I guess and brothers from I have no idea where (surname's Nguyen, and their names are Western, so I'm not that sure), who I reckon grew up here, the way they spoke English without inflections or accents. Maybe my inference that they grew up here could be extended to the prediction that they were actually born here, given their Western first names.

It struck me hard. I'm surrounded by people who speak English naturally, and yet it's not their lingua franca. I tried speaking to them but most of the time I end up repeating myself, which I hate. So I'll try to act like the college guy who speaks on occasion.

But no. That's not me. I've got a lot of stories to tell and hell would I tell them if I could. Right now I'm just disappointed that unlike how I shine in English class a while ago (I was the constant arm-raiser, but maybe it's just my classmates are still too shy), I suck at speaking the language. So bad. Makes me wonder though how my British friend manages to understand every word I'm saying. Maybe it's a perception thing. Maybe my speech patterns lean more towards the British accent (Funny story: On the voice chat feature of an online game, I was actually asked if I was a "12-year-old Australian kid or something" when they heard me speak. I don't know if I should be flattered or annoyed by that.)? I don't know.

I decide I need more practice. I could not just get perfect spoken English overnight; I need to suffer a few days (years?) of being misunderstood. Just like in DDR where I had to suck before I could rock.

I sip my apple cider one last time and go to sleep.

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