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Autor:  Wellintgon Peixoto Santos
E-mail:  wpeixoto@uol.com.br
Data:  06/JUN/2003 11:26 AM
Assunto:  Wrong way...
 
Mensagem:  Hi everyone!

I have been taking in the contents of this forum and site for some time now, but have never really participated, and I believe I do have something to contribute with here... I have never studied English in a regular school before. I started studying by myself since I was a kid. I like to say that everything started with “Casper” the friendly ghost and the songs in the cartoon with that little ball bouncing on the lyrics. I would try to sing along and obviously couldn´t, then I would cry my heart out and ask my mom why I couldn´t do it and she would tell me that it was a foreigner language and that when I grew up I could enroll in an English school for, at the time they couldn´t afford to pay for one. Well, in my mind I just couldn´t wait for that. Then, I started to study by myself in a very particular way and “method”, which was... reading... I read, and read and read, and none of it was grammar books, but everything I could grab from whodunit detective pocket books to magazines and newspapers, most of them bought from “sebos” here in São Paulo (I was about 9 years old by then). After a while (quite a while) I became quite fluent in written English, reading and pronouncing everything in “my way” (I was 11 then)!! If someone would write “the cat white” I would tell them it was wrong, but I didn´t know why... It just didn´t “look” right. That´s when I discovered “short waves” and my English world crumbled down...!! I used to listen to the “Voice of America” broadcasting from Washington DC. Well, of course I couldn´t understand a single word and right there I found out I was doing something quite wrong. But I wouldn´t give up... I would stay up until three in the morning, sometimes four, listening to the radio and never stopped reading. Then, someday, just like magic I “began” understanding everything!!! My hearing was growing accustomed to the sound and unconsciously I started to relate and link the sound to the vocabulary I had in my mind. I went like that for many years, just reading and listening, but rarely speaking until I started in an American company where I am to date, for twelve years now. I started as a customer service agent where had to talk over the phone and receive calls from all over the world, and that´s when I had my second “shock” similar to the one I had when I started listening to the radio. I had to speak to people who had English as their native language from all over the US, Great Britain, Australia, etc, and to people who also had English as a second language. Well, I survived and of course, learned a lot!! Then came my third traumamtic experience!! I was going to the US for the first time completely on my and to New York city, with no hotel reservation, no assistance from anyone, nothing!! Moving around was no problem since I had the Manhattan map in my head, but my first contact with the Afro-american jive or ebonics as it is also called today, was something more than a shock!!! I almost cried (to tell you guys the truth I did cry!!)!! Another thing no learner of English as a second language seldom worries about is how to order food in a restaurant, snack bar, diner, whatever!! I don´t have to mention I ordered things I didn´t want to and had no idea of what it wasn until it was served!!! All this by fear of saying I wasn´t really understanding most of it to the “nice” person who was so “nicely” (as if...!!) waiting on me!! Today, I can say that I´ve really been around in the US!! I´ve already been to New York, Washington, Detroit (just arrived from there), Chicago, Boston, Vegas, San Francisco, Seattle, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, New Orleans, San Diego... I still read a lot and 99.9% of it is in English and I know I still have a lot to learn. I do not recommend my “method”, but I´ve got to admit it was somewhat different!! That´s it folks and congratulations Ricardo for the excellent, unique site and work!!

Regards to all,
Wellington Peixoto Santos


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 English Made in Brazil -- English, Portuguese, & contrastive linguistics
 Wrong way...  –  Wellintgon Peixoto Santos  06/JUN/2003, 11:26 AM
Re: Wrong way...  –  Miguel Vieira  06/JUN/2003, 2:29 PM
Re: Wrong way...  –  Wellintgon Peixoto Santos  06/JUN/2003, 3:20 PM
Re: Wrong way...  –  Miguel Vieira  06/JUN/2003, 3:45 PM
Re: Wrong way...  –  Elsa  06/JUN/2003, 5:10 PM
Re: Wrong way...  –  mirna  06/JUN/2003, 5:43 PM

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