Sanctuary being torn down. We need your help!!! - click here for details
You can also visit TheSanctuaryTaiwan.org - click here to go to their contact page

How can i teach my wife English in our home?

Moderator: Tempo Gain

How can i teach my wife English in our home?

Postby Milkybar_Kid » 25 Apr 2012, 22:53

My wife is Taiwanese. Having lived in Australia for 2 years and traveled extensively in Europe she has what I would consider an intermediate level of English ability. However she has never taken a professional English test in her life so we have no concrete proof of this.

Her life here in Taiwan is conducted exclusively in Mandarin. She is speaking Mandarin all day at work, when socialising with her friends and when communicating with her family. Therefore I am her only source of English.

Understandably I feel that her English ability is declining.

She refuses to conduct any formal study, will not go to a buxiban and never sits down to do private study or reading. All she does is talk to me and watch a few English Tv shows with the Chinese subtitles.

I feel that she wants to improve but she always says "I feel that my English is getting bad". I cant keep correcting every sentence that she says as I would be here all day.

So what can I do about this? I have met so many Taiwanese who speak excellent English who have never even left the country nevermind living and working in an English speaking country for 2 years. I try to talk to her about a wide range of topics but daily life conversation is not the same is it (where is the bread etc etc).

Is anyone in a similar situation with their Taiwanese spouse? I want to help her to get better so that one day if we move back to England she is not going to struggle.

Thanks

(Sent from my ipad
Milkybar_Kid
Newspaper Copyeditor (bàoshè biānjí)
Newspaper Copyeditor (bàoshè biānjí)
 
Posts: 400
ORIGINAL POSTER
Joined: 24 Apr 2010, 20:15
Location: 高雄
57 Recommends(s)
7 Recognized(s)



Re: How can i teach my wife English in our home?

Postby bababa » 26 Apr 2012, 04:40

Just talk to her. You don't need to actively correct every mistake she makes; in fact, if you do, even if at first she says she wants you to, she will soon get sick of it. Just let her talk, and correct things naturally - since you'll be talking about the same things, she may notice your way of expressing something is different; when a mistake results in a lack of understanding or a double entendre, natural correction is just you talking to her trying to figure out what she meant; when a mistake results in something funny, just laughing and explaining the joke is enough.
Actual lessons from a book will probably lead to divorce.
bababa
Time to Marry a Local (gāi qǔ tái wān lǎo pó jià tái wān lǎo gōng liǎo)
Time to Marry a Local (gāi qǔ tái wān lǎo pó jià tái wān lǎo gōng liǎo)
 
Posts: 2277
Joined: 05 Nov 2003, 23:31
21 Recommends(s)
9 Recognized(s)



Re: How can i teach my wife English in our home?

Postby bigduke6 » 26 Apr 2012, 07:40

Milkybar_Kid wrote:My wife is Taiwanese. Having lived in Australia for 2 years and traveled extensively in Europe she has what I would consider an intermediate level of English ability. However she has never taken a professional English test in her life so we have no concrete proof of this.

Her life here in Taiwan is conducted exclusively in Mandarin. She is speaking Mandarin all day at work, when socialising with her friends and when communicating with her family. Therefore I am her only source of English.

Understandably I feel that her English ability is declining.

She refuses to conduct any formal study, will not go to a buxiban and never sits down to do private study or reading. All she does is talk to me and watch a few English Tv shows with the Chinese subtitles.

I feel that she wants to improve but she always says "I feel that my English is getting bad". I cant keep correcting every sentence that she says as I would be here all day.

So what can I do about this? I have met so many Taiwanese who speak excellent English who have never even left the country nevermind living and working in an English speaking country for 2 years. I try to talk to her about a wide range of topics but daily life conversation is not the same is it (where is the bread etc etc).

Is anyone in a similar situation with their Taiwanese spouse? I want to help her to get better so that one day if we move back to England she is not going to struggle.

Thanks

(Sent from my ipad


My ball and chain, studied in the UK for a few years, lived and worked in my home country for a few years. She is basically fluent, but still makes a few grammar mistakes. As the other poster suggested, just talk to her. If she managed to get by overseas then her level of English must be fine, so dont sweat it.
Jesus Quintana: Let me tell you something, pendejo. You pull any of your crazy shit with us, you flash a piece out on the lanes, I'll take it away from you, stick it up your ass and pull the fucking trigger 'til it goes "click."
The Dude: Jesus.
Jesus Quintana: You said it, man. Nobody
fucks with the Jesus.

Mr.Lahey: The shitabyss!
Randy: Mr. Lahey, not another night of the shitabyss, please?!
Mr.Lahey: Ah, fuck it.

If you talk to god, you're religious. If god talks to you, you're psychotic.
Gregory House

I got me a dog and named her Mybitchniggaeater.
2Pac
Forumosan avatar
bigduke6
Mandarin Marvel (Guóyǔ gāoshǒu)
Mandarin Marvel (Guóyǔ gāoshǒu)
 
Posts: 1885
Joined: 19 May 2011, 11:58
Location: Kaohsiung
72 Recommends(s)
132 Recognized(s)



How can i teach my wife English in our home?

Postby headhonchoII » 26 Apr 2012, 07:52

If she moves back to England with you in the future she will naturally pick up the fluency again, no worries.
I can remember the fourth of July runnin' through the backwood bare.
And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin' chasin' down a hoodoo there
Chasin' down a hoodoo there.
headhonchoII
Maitreya Buddha (Mílèfó)
 
Posts: 12453
Joined: 26 Aug 2002, 10:40
Location: Taipei
1618 Recommends(s)
593 Recognized(s)



Re: How can i teach my wife English in our home?

Postby Jive Turkey » 26 Apr 2012, 10:24

In my opinion, those who have responded up to now are too optimistic. If your wife is not motivated to improve her English now in order to discuss a wider range of topics with greater accuracy and linguistic range, there is a pretty good chance she will sink rather than swim after moving to an English speaking country. By "sink," I mean that she will not be able to develop quickly enough the language skills needed for her to maintain the same kind of socio-economic status she has had in Taiwan. Pretty much any kind of white-collar job back in the UK, like any white-collar job in Taiwan, requires more than just intermediate-level language skills in the local language, and failing to demonstrate those skills when looking for such jobs means she won't get them. This may have a big impact on her desire to assimilate.

The assumption that moving to a country where English is spoken will sort out a non-native English speaker's language problems is frequently incorrect. Does she get along really well with your family? What about your friends? Does she have a career in Taiwan that would allow her to slot right into similar career in the UK, or are her qualifications and experience such that she would have to get new qualifications and job skills while also having to improve her English? Does she have a range of personal interests (e.g., sports, hobbies) that she can pursue in the UK with English speakers so as to develop her own network in a way that is not dependent on you? Or do you think her personality makes her more likely to settle into a social life filled with other Chinese speakers? Also note that she is not getting younger, and a lot of her problems have probably fossilized. Statements about it being easier to learn a language when younger are made to the point of being cliche, but suffice it to say that your wife probably won't improve at the same pace in say her 30s in the UK as she did when she was younger in Australia-unless she is really motivated to do it.

It is very difficult for one spouse to be the other's language teacher if the one doing the learning is not really motivated and open to feedback. Your wife may unconsciously assume that since the two of you have no major communication problems in English, then the need to improve is not great. The issue here is that people learn to understand the idiosyncracies of a non-native spouses speech, so instances of the kind breakdown in communication that would highlight a need to improve are not so frequent. She may feel that your feedback is just part of the typical nitpicking that some couples do, especially if you are the only person giving such feedback. Strangers or friends are usually too friendly to seek clarification of meaning, so interactions with them are less likely to highlight a need to improve accuracy, fluency and range unless the learner is motivated to the degree of pressing forward until misunderstandings become obvious.

I don't mean to imply that your kind of situation is hopeless. I just feel it is important for people in this kind of situation to recognize the issue for what it is rather than draw convenient conclusions like "once we move back to the UK, this will sort itself out." If your wife isn't motivated, you could have a real problem on your hands. Do the two of you visit the UK often? Perhaps more enjoyable visits or more frequent interaction with English speakers in Taiwan would help improve her interest in learning.
Jive Turkey
Immune to Breathalizers (jiǔ cèce bù chūlái)
Immune to Breathalizers (jiǔ cèce bù chūlái)
 
Posts: 2053
Joined: 22 Sep 2003, 16:24
Location: Donald Tsang's Magic Kingdom
19 Recognized(s)



Re: How can i teach my wife English in our home?

Postby sandman » 26 Apr 2012, 11:11

She refuses to conduct any formal study, will not go to a buxiban and never sits down to do private study or reading. All she does is talk to me and watch a few English Tv shows with the Chinese subtitles.

Tie her to a chair and beat her with a rubber hose until she knuckles down.
Seriously, if she don't want to, then she don't want to. I presume you've explained how you feel about if you go to live elsewhere. That's what YOU can do. The rest is up to her.
sandman
Manjusri (Wénshū)
 
Posts: 30176
Joined: 04 Jun 2001, 16:01
28 Recommends(s)
199 Recognized(s)



Re: How can i teach my wife English in our home?

Postby PigBloodCake » 28 Apr 2012, 23:53

sandman wrote:
She refuses to conduct any formal study, will not go to a buxiban and never sits down to do private study or reading. All she does is talk to me and watch a few English Tv shows with the Chinese subtitles.

Tie her to a chair and beat her with a rubber hose until she knuckles down.
Seriously, if she don't want to, then she don't want to. I presume you've explained how you feel about if you go to live elsewhere. That's what YOU can do. The rest is up to her.


And she'll make him do everything...I mean *everything* (take her to the damn doctor/dentist/fill in the blank cuz she can't explain her symptom, issue(s), etc).

That's how I f***'n lived in the States before moving back to the 'wan.

I feel for the OP.
Life is a bitch and death is her sister.

I got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell.
PigBloodCake
Sidewalk Geomancer (lù biān suàn mìng tān)
Sidewalk Geomancer (lù biān suàn mìng tān)
 
Posts: 1016
Joined: 07 Jun 2011, 16:51
9 Recommends(s)
27 Recognized(s)



Re: How can i teach my wife English in our home?

Postby mups » 29 Apr 2012, 07:17

Not sure about any advice I can give you here, but if you move to an English speaking country, she'll have no choice but to learn English quickly because she'll be surrounded by it. The rate of learning is exponential when you have no choice. The key of course is to not babysit her and give her a choice/out if you end up living elsewhere.
mups
Newspaper Copyeditor (bàoshè biānjí)
Newspaper Copyeditor (bàoshè biānjí)
 
Posts: 418
Joined: 21 Nov 2006, 17:16
15 Recognized(s)



Re: How can i teach my wife English in our home?

Postby Abacus » 29 Apr 2012, 10:17

PigBloodCake wrote:
And she'll make him do everything...I mean *everything* (take her to the damn doctor/dentist/fill in the blank cuz she can't explain her symptom, issue(s), etc).

That's how I f***'n lived in the States before moving back to the 'wan.

I feel for the OP.


Isn't this how how it works for foreigners in Taiwan with local gf's/bf's?
Abacus
Overpaid Foreign Athlete (duō fù xīn shuǐ guò gāo de wài jí yùn dòng yuán)
Overpaid Foreign Athlete (duō fù xīn shuǐ guò gāo de wài jí yùn dòng yuán)
 
Posts: 3408
Joined: 20 Aug 2009, 08:14
Location: Kaohsiung
121 Recommends(s)
127 Recognized(s)



Re: How can i teach my wife English in our home?

Postby Mick » 29 Apr 2012, 10:43

Milkybar_Kid wrote:
Is anyone in a similar situation with their Taiwanese spouse?

(Sent from my ipad


A friend of mines wife's English isn't great, so he's immersed himself in Mandarin and will use his iPhone for texting, translations and learning Chinese. He's getting petty good very fast, and all conversations take place in Chinese now. Not for everyone I know, and perhaps he saw it as an opportunity to do something he wanted too.

Not the answer you were looking for, but it's something you can control and would allow for those conversations you wished for, if you were able to improve your fluency sufficiently.
Forumosan avatar
Mick
Lost Winning Lotto Ticket (zhòngjiǎng cǎiquàn nòngdiū le)
Lost Winning Lotto Ticket (zhòngjiǎng cǎiquàn nòngdiū le)
 
Posts: 2979
Joined: 13 Aug 2006, 18:36
Location: Taipei
51 Recommends(s)
85 Recognized(s)



FRIENDLY REMINDER
   Please remember that Forumosa is not responsible for the content that appears on the other side of links that Forumosans post on our forums. As a discussion website, we encourage open and frank debate. We have learned that the most effective way to address questionable claims or accusations on Forumosa is by engaging in a sincere and constructive conversation. To make this website work, we must all feel safe in expressing our opinions, this also means backing up any claims with hard facts, including links to other websites.
   Please also remember that one should not believe everything one reads on the Internet, particularly from websites whose content cannot be easily verified or substantiated. Use your common sense and do not hesitate to ask for proof.
Next




Proceed to Teaching English in Taiwan



Who is online

Forumosans browsing this forum: No Forumosans and 2 visitors

You don't have to type "http://www" into your Web browser. Just type the remainder: "nytimes.com" or "dilbert.com," for example. (In the Safari browser, you can even leave off the ".com" part.)
More tips from David Pogue