…and Brits, once again, showed themselves to be condescending xenophobic snobs.
I’ve encountered this imperial-patronizing-a-colonial attitude when came on a 1-week visit 8 years ago. And here they go again. Just listen to this:
“Based on participations [sic! Dude, how about your English grammar? -ETat]- so far, we’ve already got some decent statistics. Most native English adult speakers who have taken the test fall in the range 20,000–35,000 words. Click here for a full breakdown by age (opens in new tab/window).
And for foreign learners of English, we’ve found that the most common vocabulary size is from 2,500–9,000 words.”
Just look at the choices they offer to a question “Which option best describe your English learning?”
-I am taking an English class now
-I’ve taken English before but stopped
-All my school classes are/were in English
-I’ve learned without taking a course
Listen to me, buddy: all of the above and then some!
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
I’ve started learning Eng in 5th grade – in rural mostly-Russian speaking city. No, all my other classes were in Russian, not in English. Proceeded for 5 yrs, then continued in university – for another 5. That didn’t help me much with verbal skills – the objective, per my Eng teachers, was “to be able to read and translate”. Nobody in Soviet school at the time could have imagined an occasion of actually communicating with a foreigner, let alone – with English-speaking foreigner. So we read and read and read (mostly technical magazines) and sometimes translated.
Then I’ve immigrated – and felt completely flabbergasted (yes, I know the meaning of the word) by the way people talked, and what were they saying – not quite the experience I carried from the few books in English I could find at Udmurt bookstores. Which didn’t stopped me from entering University #2, this time in NYC, and getting second degree in 3 yrs – yes, in “school where all my classes were in English.”
And I continued to read. Have been at it for 20 more yrs. Oh, of course, my accent shows, and the way I construct my sentences, and my idiomatic shooting off in repartee (yep, I know this one, too) have been found wanting. But what I have is immense passive vocabulary. We all do, former immigrants (now citizens) from post-Soviet states. Especially Jewish immigrants. We all are the product of learning system you have demonstrated complete lack of friendly interest of to imagine or comprehend.
Now I think I can understand – a little, just a tiny smidgen – those American colonists, my current compatriots, who revolted from your self-important pompous rule.