By Hynek Urban
I’ve been learning English for four years at school so far, all of which took place at the high school – thanks to the entrance selective test, this semester is my first semester of English at the university. Even though four years might appear to be a bit too little, I had quite a lot of opportunities to practice English outside the school (staying abroad or – passively – at home while reading).
I must confess to the fact, that I don’t really like English. I consider it to be a very practical language, but at the same time pretty ugly. Without a doubt, the good thing about it is that it can be used almost anywhere in the world. I think there are two main factors which caused that. First of all there are many native speakers of English in the world, and their countries are wealthy, powerful, and influential (for instance in the area of culture – the flood of Hollywood movies coming to Europe simply has to leave some consequences). The second main factor is the relative simplicity of this language, which allows nearly everyone to learn its basics without great effort (compared to other languages).
Of course this worldwide spread of English has its negative effects, too. The worst one, I think, is the decline of other languages. Here in the Czech Republic, it’s not that bad yet, but in countries where English is used and understood more than here, it’s becoming a language disaster. Sometimes when I watch the Bavarian TV and hear how the people from the street mix English and German, I just can’t stand it.
I didn’t expect much from this English course, as I generally don’t like learning languages at the school. However, I was fairly surprised by the last lesson, where quite an interesting discussion took place. In my opinion, such discussions are much more beneficial in terms of real talking and using the language than grammatical drills. Of course it’s on the teacher to decide what is more important; I’m just being honest in my opinions in this last paragraph as I was in the previous ones. Anyway, I’m hoping to extend my vocabulary in technical areas in this course, and to have opportunity to practice real discussion and argumentation in English.