Learning English from Internationals

Anyone who has studied the English language, either through literature or language learning, will have picked up an array of words not often used by native English speakers. The most fascinating thing for an English speaker to hear is their language being used by second-language-learners, as they are often very conscious of which is the correct preposition, word or sentence structure.

And this is true for any language, the native speaker, when faced with a learner, is held accountable for a skill they acquired early but have not considered practicing with the aim of honing it to perfection.

It is a strange realisation that most of us treat our native language as a skill that is akin to riding a bike. If you get it once, you’ve mastered it. When in reality a language is akin to a muscle. If you got in shape once, it’ll deteriorate as soon as you stop training!

It’s very common for people to form opinions about how intelligent you are based on how you use your language. And at the same time it’s culturally acceptable to laugh at subjects like English Literature. This is a strange sort of paradox, on the one hand we value good communication skills, and on the other people will question and often ridicule your choice of studying how to perfect said communication skill.

Is that not strange? That something capable of changing the very very foundations of your thinking is publicly underestimated and considered a hobby than a way of life?



Ten Classics in One Sentence.

  1. Nineteen Eighty-Four

The how-to guide to taking out your sexual frustrations  – “The proles are the future!”

  1. Pride and Prejudice

I thought he was awful but it turns out he’s okay, now we’re married. The End.

  1. The Great Gatsby

That long-lost love should’ve stayed lost.

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird

Racism is bad, I can’t believe some people needed a whole book to understand that.

  1. Wuthering Heights

She’s dead but I still prefer her over you, sorry.

  1. Jane Eyre

I’ll marry you if you don’t tell anyone about my pyro wife living in the attic.

  1. Moby Dick

This book is so long sometimes they print it using bible paper.

  1. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

A world where children scam other children to win a Bible competition.

  1. The Catcher in the Rye

Growing up is hard okay!

  1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

…so I’m gonna drink tea and get high, bye y’all!

When Rain Clouds Gather by Bessie Head

“Gilbert prided himself on being an unusually well-informed man. No doubt the sun did too. No doubt the sun knew why the clouds formed and why the wind blew and why the lizards basked in its warmth, and all this immense knowledge made the sun gay and bright, full of trust and affection for mankind. But there were shut-away worlds, full of mistrust and hate, and it was about this side that Makhaya was particularly well informed.” (p. 89)

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Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie 

“How [do you] explain to the earth that it was more functional as a vegetable patch than a flower garden, just as factories were more functional than schools and boys were more functional as weapons than as humans.”
Kamila Shamsie, Burnt Shadows

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Dog Boy by Eva Hornung

I usually don’t like to read books that simply by their title suggest there will be tears but this text takes a well known subject and turns it into an original piece of literature. Based on the real story of Ivan Mishukov, the narrative follows little Romochka and his pack around Moscow as they learn to provide for their little family.

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A Mercy by Toni Morrison

Note: when referencing the book i use the following text.

This is a short but powerful read. Toni Morrison, in her attempt to write outside the stereotypes of her race (as she explains in her essay ‘Home’ in ‘The House that Race Built’), she puts together a narrative that is both fictional and historical with a unique perspective on slavery. In just 176 pages she covers a wide scope that punches quite a kick.

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