老外直言:如何讓人以為你英語很棒(雙語)

 

We all know studying English is hard, and it takes years, if not decades, to master it. Wouldn't it

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We all know studying English is hard, and it takes years, if not decades, to master it. Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were some way to fool people into thinking your English was perfect, without going through all that hard work? I'd like to share with my Chinese friends some tricks that I've developed over the course of the past few years for the purpose of fooling Chinese people into thinking my Chinese is perfect. Though these techniques were developed for Chinese, I find that they also work well for Chinese people trying to learn English. Just master these few simple tricks, and your English will improve overnight!

1. First, learn to speak English.廢話, you say. Yes, I'm joking, of course. But seriously, these tricks will work only if you have at least the basics of English. And a good accent is the first requirement, since it will get you 90% of the way. If your pronunciation -- especially of vowels -- is accurate, English speakers will be willing to ignore little mistakes in grammar and the strange vocabulary you might use.

2. Adopt a relaxed, unhurried speaking style, so that people will assume your reaction time is naturally slow. You don't have to appear stupid (though this has certain advantages), but it helps to have people assume you're the type of person who thinks about each sentence carefully before speaking. This gives you time to think. It's better for others to assume you're a bit slow, rather than to realize how wretched your English is.

3. Let the other person supply the word you need. The way you accomplish this is simply to hesitate before uttering some crucial word -- a word that you may not be sure of -- but which should be obvious to any native speaker based on the context. The listener, perfectly aware of what you want to say and impatient for you to get on with the conversation, will prompt you or provide you with a usable word. Try to time it so that you repeat the word a second after they say it, so that it seems as if you too were about to say that exact word. This will make them feel good, because it will make them feel they are smarter than you are. (People are very happy when they feel they are smarter than you.) The resulting dialogue will sound something like this:

You: And that guy didn't even know where China is on the map. The guy is such a... [Here you pause.]

Other person: Idiot.

You: ...idiot, right. I was thinking to myself, "Wow, if I were that guy, I would really feel... feel..." [You pause again.]

Other person: Humiliated.

You: ...humiliated, exactly. What an idiot!

4. Memorize a lot of hesitation and qualifying phrases. These are phrases like, "Oh, how can I put it?...", "Perhaps I can put it this way...", and "Oh, what should I say?..." This will give you time to think of responses and to recall rusty vocabulary items. The listener doesn't know what's going on inside your head, and he or she will think you really are searching through your vast vocabulary, looking for that perfect word that will accurately express the complex subtlety of your brilliant thought.

5. Avoid subtlety. Give simple, black-and-white answers to questions, regardless of the complexity of your true opinion. If someone asks, "What did you think of the movie?", you may be thinking something like "Well, the cinematography was fabulous, natural-light interior shots with exquisite Vermeer-like shades of luminous white -- a pastel symphony!" and so on. Would you be able to express all that in fluent English? Of course not. Forget it. Instead you should respond with something like, "Oh, how can I put it?... Just so-so. Just okay. I liked Titanic better." The listener won't have any idea what you really thought of the movie, but will be impressed with the casual ease with which you express your opinions in English, and will also be impressed that you know phrases like "just so-so.".

Okay, that's about all. This should give you a good start. Remember this important principle in life: the appearance of ability is more important than actual ability itself. If they think you can do it, you've got the job. If they don't think you can do it, it doesn't matter what your actual ability is. So learn to fake it, and you'll go much further than your hard-working friends.

My next articles include "How to fool people into believing you're a brain surgeon" and "How to fake being the president of a superpower nation."

老外直言:如何讓人以為你英語很棒

我們都知道學英語很難,要學幾年甚至幾十年才能掌握。如果有一種方法能讓別人以為你的英語很棒可又不用下苦功夫,那該多好啊!在過去的幾年裡,我總結出一套讓中國人以為我的漢語很棒的竅門,我想在此和中國朋友分享它們。雖然這些竅門是在我學中文的過程中總結出的,但我發現它們同樣適用于中國人學英文。掌握這幾個小竅門吧,你的英語會在一夜之間突飛猛進!

1.首先要學習英文。你會說這是廢話,不錯,我是在開玩笑。但是,說真的,這些竅門要想發揮作用,至少要有基本的英語能力。良好的發音是第一位的,這會讓你的表達收到90%的效果。如果你的發音———尤其是母音字母的發音非常準確,母語是英語的人們就會忽略你的語法小錯誤和所用的怪詞。

2.採取一種放鬆的、的不緊不慢的說話方式,這樣人們就會認為你是天生的慢性子。當然你也不必顯出弱智的樣子(雖然這樣也有一定的好處),但慢慢講話會讓人以為你就是那種說話字斟句酌的人,這一點可是有用,這會給你充分的時間去思考。讓別人覺得你有點遲鈍,總比發現你的英語其實很糟糕要好。

3.讓別人來補充你所需要的單詞。這種方法就是在你講出某個關鍵字之前做一個小小的停頓,這個詞你有可能拿不准,但是以英語為母語的人可以毫不費力地根據上下文猜出這個詞。人家完全知道你想要說什麼,而且急著將談話繼續下去,就會提醒你或者說出這個恰當的詞。你要掌握好時間,在他們剛一說出之後,你立馬就重複這個詞,似乎你也正要說這個詞,這會讓他們感覺很好,因為這使他們覺得自己比你聰明(人們感到自己比別人聰明時,都會非常得意的)。結果談話就會是這樣子的:

你說:那小子竟然不知道地圖上中國在哪兒,他可真是個……(這裡你開始停頓)

對方:傻瓜。

你說:對,對,傻瓜,這正是我想說的。噢,如果我是那傢伙,我會覺得,覺得……(你再次停頓)

對方:非常羞愧。

你說:對,非常羞愧,正是。這小子真傻!

4. 背一些猶豫時使用的詞和修飾語。它們是這樣的一些語句:噢,我該怎麼表達呢?……”“也許我該這麼表達……”“噢,這讓我該怎麼說呢?……”插進這樣的語句可以贏得時間來思考應對辦法,回憶生疏的詞彙。對方當然無法洞悉你頭腦中的想法,他們會以為你是在龐大的詞彙庫裡搜尋最恰當的單詞來表達你那複雜微妙的聰明想法。

5.回避微妙話題。對於所談話題,你不必顧及自己的真實想法多麼複雜,只給出簡單的黑白分明的回答即可。如果某人問道:你認為這部電影怎麼樣?你也許會認為:這部電影的攝影藝術真是無與倫比,一系列運用自然光的室內鏡頭,在明亮中還帶有荷蘭畫家弗美爾式的優美陰影,簡直是一首柔和的交響樂……你能把這些都用英語流利地表達出來嗎?當然不能,那就算了吧!你應該這樣應對:噢,我該怎麼說呢?一般般吧,還可以。我更喜歡《泰坦尼克號》。對方搞不懂你對那部電影的真正看法,但是他們對你能輕鬆隨意地用英語表達觀點會留下深刻印象,對你能用一般般吧這樣的短語也會很欣賞。

好吧,就這些了。這會讓你有一個好的開端。請記住這個重要的生活準則:表面上的能力要比實際上的能力更重要。如果別人認為你行,你就能得到這份工作,如果別人認為你不行,無論你的實際能力如何也沒用。所以,學會掩飾吧,你會比那些刻苦學習的朋友更有出息。

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