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Native Speaker vs. Polish Teachers of English
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scottie1113



Joined: 25 Oct 2004
Posts: 341
Location: Gdansk

PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 10:33 pm    Post subject: Re: ahem Reply with quote

RP English to boot.

RP. The least understandable English to most Polish students.
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NilSatis82



Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 100

PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 11:17 pm    Post subject: Re: ahem Reply with quote

scottie1113 wrote:
RP. The least understandable English to most Polish students.


You have never clearly never been to Birmingham (West Midlands, not Alabama).
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 677
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 9:03 am    Post subject: lmfao Reply with quote

Birmingham....what about Glaazgay and Norn Iron. Smile
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NilSatis82



Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 100

PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 10:10 am    Post subject: Re: lmfao Reply with quote

dragonpiwo wrote:
Birmingham....what about Glaazgay and Norn Iron. Smile


Fair point - could easily add quite a few more to that list. Geordie would definitely be another.

Don't know who Scottie has been hanging out with but I've only ever met one person who speaks English with an RP accent in Poland, which is not particularly surprising considering that only about 2% of Brits speak it.
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scottie1113



Joined: 25 Oct 2004
Posts: 341
Location: Gdansk

PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are three Polish teachers at my school who speak perfect English with British accents. One of them fooled a Brit-he thought the guy was from England. Agnieszka has a beautiful soft accent from her years in England. I love to hear her talk.

And then there's a young English woman who has told me repeatedly that I don't speak English, only Anerican. Smile True, but my students can understand me while they can't understand her, and this includes her advanced groups. Frankly, I can only understand her half the time myself.

And then there are my English friends here, from London and Liverpool. No problem understanding them.

When I made the comment about RP, I was reporting what my students have told me over the years. Don't take it personally.
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NilSatis82



Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 100

PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

scottie1113 wrote:
When I made the comment about RP, I was reporting what my students have told me over the years. Don't take it personally.


Don't worry, I wasn't taking it personally as I don't speak with an RP accent and have no desire to. I was just questioning some dubious assertions. My point being that RP is:

A) by no means the most difficult variant of English pronunciation (far from it in fact).

B) very rarely spoken by Brits anyway, and therefore unlikely to be frequently heard in many bars across Poland (or anywhere else for that matter).


I say this because your comments about RP being the most difficult to understand for Polish students don't tally with my own experience, or indeed logic. My students usually list regional varieties like the ones stated in previous posts above as the most difficult (I'm excluding non-native varieties here). In fact, it is not that uncommon to hear students say that they would like to speak 'Cambridge English' (i.e. RP).

The fact that it still predominates in most ELT coursebooks and is still frequently used in British media makes me wonder why Polish students would find this variety the most difficult to understand. It doesn't make any sense to me. Maybe your students are a special exception for some reason but I find it very hard to believe that RP is really the most difficult for them to understand. However, if that's what your students actually believe, then who's to argue with them?


scottie1113 wrote:
And then there's a young English woman who has told me repeatedly that I don't speak English, only Anerican. Smile True, but my students can understand me while they can't understand her, and this includes her advanced groups. Frankly, I can only understand her half the time myself.


I take it that you're inferring that she speaks with an RP accent. If so, then I seriously doubt that's the reason you (and your students) can't understand her half the time. Are you sure she is using an RP accent and not some other regional Southern English accent, like from the West Country or Essex?

However, if your argument is that Americans are easier to understand than Brits, then I would broadly agree as they generally don't speak as fast and there are fewer variations in American English. But that's completely different to saying that RP is the most difficult variety of English for Poles to understand.

Maybe you're getting confused between different British accents? If so, not to worry - many Brits are confused every time a (insert preferred regional stereotype here) opens their mouths!
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 677
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 6:50 am    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

There's a real cultural bias in the OUP/CUP etc.....course books. Everyone's middle class and qouffs wine (Headway especially). ELT needs to get away from this. I've lost count of the number of students who get to intermediate level...go to the Uk and say 'I couldn't understand a word of what anyone was saying'. It's actually a serious point. Just look at the names in some of the course books....they're all Sebastian and Piers and Rupert etc. You never get 'our Kev' form 'Ull.
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NilSatis82



Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 100

PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 9:57 am    Post subject: Re: erm Reply with quote

dragonpiwo wrote:
There's a real cultural bias in the OUP/CUP etc.....course books. Everyone's middle class and qouffs wine (Headway especially). ELT needs to get away from this. I've lost count of the number of students who get to intermediate level...go to the Uk and say 'I couldn't understand a word of what anyone was saying'. It's actually a serious point. Just look at the names in some of the course books....they're all Sebastian and Piers and Rupert etc. You never get 'our Kev' form 'Ull.


Couldn't agree more. A few more non-native varieties wouldn't go amiss either. Preferably of non-native speakers themselves rather than native speakers putting on phoney accents.
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 925
Location: Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 2:48 pm    Post subject: Re: erm Reply with quote

dragonpiwo wrote:
There's a real cultural bias in the OUP/CUP etc.....course books. Everyone's middle class and qouffs wine (Headway especially). ELT needs to get away from this. I've lost count of the number of students who get to intermediate level...go to the Uk and say 'I couldn't understand a word of what anyone was saying'. It's actually a serious point. Just look at the names in some of the course books....they're all Sebastian and Piers and Rupert etc. You never get 'our Kev' form 'Ull.
I agree about Headway being culturally biased. Way too much 'Would you mind possibly passing the aperitives?' and not enough 'The red ones are yummy, innit?' New English File is much better about this. There are some decent 'real life' interviews there, and some American accents.

NilSatis82 wrote:
Couldn't agree more. A few more non-native varieties wouldn't go amiss either. Preferably of non-native speakers themselves rather than native speakers putting on phoney accents.
Here, here! The worst offenders were the two fake 'candidates' doing the speaking exam tasks from the FCE/CAE Gold series. Fernando and Paula, I think... Every time I heard him giggle and say, 'So I'm afraid, Paula, we'll have to agree to disagree on that one' with that terrible put on, effeminate Spanish accent, I wanted to hit somebody. Even the students laughed at that crap.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 677
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 5:36 pm    Post subject: haha Reply with quote

I remember 1 course book years ago (Business English) that had a listening about a product called 'Golden Shower Juice'. ...I kid you not. Smile nearly pished myself laughing. Smile
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 925
Location: Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hehe. Golden Shower Juice is classic.

In the teen coursebook Activate! B1 there is a listening where an English woman tries zorbing for the first time. She squeals, moans and then climaxes 'Oh my! That was amazing!'. My teens either laugh hysterically or blush bright red and look down at their shoes.
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dynow



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1024

PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mastershake wrote:

Quote:
I agree about Headway being culturally biased. Way too much 'Would you mind possibly passing the aperitives?' and not enough 'The red ones are yummy, innit?' New English File is much better about this. There are some decent 'real life' interviews there, and some American accents.


case and point why natives are still a necessity in this profession. you can listen to plastic-like English from the rest, or hear the real deal from the natives.

in my 2 cent opinion, listening comprehension is #1 in language learning. If you don't understand what was said to you, regardless of how well you speak the language, you don't know how to respond. At the very least, if you understand every single word, you can piece together a response with the vocab/grammar structures that you know.
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NilSatis82



Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 100

PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dynow wrote:
case and point why natives are still a necessity in this profession. you can listen to plastic-like English from the rest, or hear the real deal from the natives.


If you're going to criticise non-native teachers for their 'plastic' English, don't you think you ought to get your own English correct first? Wink
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delphian-domine



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 507

PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Master Shake wrote:
Does anyone know why so few Polish men teach English? At least 85% of Polish teachers I've known have been women. Is teaching traditionally just seen as a woman's profession by Poles?


My favourite subject.

Poland is heavy on gender stereotypes in education - women, even from a very young age, are expected to do "female" things like education and languages. There is some shocking sexism shown by allegedly educated people attending the various technical universities - there was one case recently where Politechnika Poznanska were reaching out to female candidates, and the internet was full of the most appalling sexism.

Teaching just isn't seen as "manly" - hence why Poland has similar problems to the UK in regards to the total lack of male teachers in primary schools.
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delphian-domine



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 507

PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Master Shake wrote:
Does anyone know why so few Polish men teach English? At least 85% of Polish teachers I've known have been women. Is teaching traditionally just seen as a woman's profession by Poles?


My favourite subject.

Poland is heavy on gender stereotypes in education - women, even from a very young age, are expected to do "female" things like education and languages. There is some shocking sexism shown by allegedly educated people attending the various technical universities - there was one case recently where Politechnika Poznanska were reaching out to female candidates, and the internet was full of the most appalling sexism.

Teaching just isn't seen as "manly" - hence why Poland has similar problems to the UK in regards to the total lack of male teachers in primary schools.
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