Teach English in Caicun Zhen - Datong Shi

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Since I live and teach here I would like to write about the problems that may occur among learners of the English language in Kazakhstan. Succinctly I will try to point out two major sources of these problems: the local languages and the local culture. During my years I have experienced the articles as the biggest challenge for Kazakhstani people. In the local languages (the country is bilingual; Russian and Kazakh languages are both spoken on a native level) there are no articles. Someone who has articles in her/his native language can hardly imagine the difficulties that people face when learning them, yet still hard to comprehend for them why they are needed (maybe “be” is a good parallel). I would say omitting them is more common than overusing (which usually happens with names, cities or countries) but when they are confident enough they do not have a problem with distinguishing the defined or undefined articles. But the roots are their native: for some reason they just don’t like them maybe because they are not present in their local language. Even my girlfriend whose English is on an advanced level says articles are stupid and useless therefore they should be exiled from the language! They just can’t get the schema of how useful and precisely descriptive they are. If I come up with example situations when they can be really relevant they still don’t admit. Looks like people like to tend to their roots. The logic of the language is very different. Kazakhstan is the country of the great steppe. Obviously customs and traditions developed differently than in Europe. It is true even about business: like many other eastern cultures people are trying to be polite in business as well as in real life; you can be offered a lot of food, be asked personal questions about your family or country before you get to the point and actually talk about business. Here it is common that people beat around the bushes and eventually do not even end up anywhere. Of course as a foreigner you don’t want to be impolite because interrupting others is not nice but it can be confusing when you don’t get them. You constantly have the feeling that anyone you have ever met is your friend for a lifetime because they are trying to be friendly since it is coded in their veins. Not being offered some tea at least actually can be rude! All of this is also true about business. That’s why here about business language it is not only the language that they have to learn but the mindset as well. Explaining that however English is a truly polite language it is still very straight, gets to the point and describes as precisely as it is possible (here a more or less description for everyday life is usual) is an essential key in teaching English in Kazakhstan. These two above factors are the evidence of difficulties for English learners: our native language and culture convey something else then other nations’ language and culture and this often may build obstacles for acquiring them. This is why every language/culture/nation is different and that is the beauty in it. Shouldn’t we protect them all, then?