LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||10/JUN/2010 12:01 AM|
André, Americans and Brazilians have very different views of this
subject. A friend asked me to speak at a university, for example,
later asking how much I was going to charge. She was my friend, and I
do not charge my friends for doing favors. To my surprise, I was told
later this was a big mistake; if I did not place a monetary value on my
time, people would think I considered my time worthless. I did not
charge people who came to meetings of the English Club. I was told
this was another mistake. If something was free, how could it be of
any value? This is not a matter of one group being right and another
group being wrong. The Brazilian group and the American group had very
different ideas about helping without pay and about free things in
I never had a problem finding native speakers to come to the club to talk about such subjects as the early days of Pan American, the birds of Brazil, a trip to another country, life in the USA, etc. A Brazilian came to talk to us about his many years in Australia.where he became an expert on dyslexia. No, he was not a native speaker. However, his command of English was excellent and we all enjoyed his talk. Remember, I was in the Serra Gaúcha and there were very few native speakers of English there. I wish I could remember how I met them all, but I do not. The former Pan American employee had spent around 60-70 years in Brazil. When I met the man, he was in his 90s. I think it was a club member who put us in touch. The bird expert was the brother (or perhaps brother-in-law) of an American living just outside Gramado. He was in Brazil on vacation. Out of those two men I got two talks: birds and Microsoft. The dyslexia expert, I believe, telephoned me after reading about our club in the newspaper. And the others? I just don't remember. I do remember this: every native speaker is going to know another native speaker. (Sort of like the Mafia. LOL) I don't recall a significant number of refusals.
Whenever I heard English spoken, I would introduce myself. You need to do this too. Slowly people came to know me. I had small posters placed in video shops. The local newspaper printed articles (with photos) of meetings.
A friend in Curitiba has been extremely successful with her English club. The British government flew her to Lima to organize a club there. Most of her members are teachers, but some just like to speak English. She told me she finds native speakers at a church that has sermons in English. Another friend in Pocos de Caldas wrote an article in English about once a week in the local newspaper. Natives would read her articles and write to her.
"The natives are restless," as they say in the old black and white movies. I don't think that recruiting them as members or as guest speakers is going to be a problem for you. You have the advantage of living in the Greater Porto Alegre Area. If you look for them, you will find them. When I lived in Porto Alegre, I was not looking for native speakers, but I would find one here and there, especially at shopping centers.
A few years ago I wrote a summary of my experiences. If you will drop me a line with your email address, I'll forward you a copy.
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