You Must Learn To Speak English Well

If you plan to live in this country permanently, you must learn to speak English well. A study showed that people who speak fluent English earn an average of 30% more than those who don’t. When you have a firm command of English, your chances of finding a good job improve dramatically. The likelihood of a promotion at work also improves greatly. If you are looking for business opportunities, the choices available to you increase.

My English is not perfect, but I have made constant efforts to improve it and am able to preach in comprehensible English. When I was in high-school, I always carried English vocabulary memory cards and memorized them whenever I had some time. I took communication classes during graduate school at Ohio State even though they had nothing to do with my major (Electrical Engineering). When I worked at Varian I took a tutoring course designed to help foreign-born Americans eliminate their accents. When I started an English speaking congregation at the church in San Jose where I served, I listened to sermon tapes of the famous preacher Chuck Swindoll over and over and mimicked his delivery.

Even now, I still try to improve my English. I spend every Thursday morning translating my Pastor’s Corner into English. I send this to my son, who edits it and posts it on the NLF website. I compare his revisions with my original translations and note the differences on memory cards so I can study them.

You must make an effort if you want to improve your English. If your English comprehension is very poor, you can start by watching children’s TV shows like Sesame Street. Consider yourself a child as far as the language is concerned and learn like a child. I also recommend reading Reader’s Digest. Unlike Newsweek or Time, reading it only requires the vocabulary of a 5th grader. You should also stop watching Korean videos and start watching American TV shows or American movies. They have English subtitles for the hearing impaired, and you can learn English expressions from them. Ignore the pronunciation you may have learned in Korea and try to mimic the way Americans actually speak. Be especially careful when you pronounce “L”. Pay attention to intonation. Korean phrases have accents near beginnings of phrases but English phrases usually have accents near the end.

Most of all, try to practice English whenever you have the opportunity to. You don’t need to speak perfect English. If you try too hard to only speak correct English, you may end up not speaking at all. Americans are generally outgoing and prefer Asians who speak freely, even with grammatical errors, over those who speak correct English but rarely talk.

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