LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||07/MAR/2010 12:11 AM|
Speak American: A Survival Guide to the Language and Culture of the U.S.A. by Dileri Borunda Johnston (Paperback - Apr. 25, 2000)
The above book is not the usual collection of idiomatic expressions, slang words, etc. On the contrary, it has vocabulary that one usually learns by living in the USA, spending lots of time with Americans, etc. I don't know if it is available in Brazil, but it can be purchased through Amazon.com. The book is excellent. It's not as good as a year in California, but it's better than a sharp stick in the eye. (Better than nothing.)
Books are fine, but there is no substitute for being among native speakers. If possible, try to make friends through clubs, the church, etc.
I often think of the words of a friend of mine. John said he thought he spoke Spanish until he helped a Cuban family move. What he meant was he not learned how to say "Hand me the Phillip's screwdriver" and a thousand other common things despite years of study. In the classroom we are taught to talk about the weather, where our aunt's pen is (it's always on a table!), or why one author is better than another. The practical everyday language is much more elusive. It has to be learned in situations, and situations arise in life. If you step one someone's toe, what do you say? How do you say goodbye? What is a proper handshake? When can a nickname be used? If a waiter puts the bill on your table before you have finished eating, how do you react? (No, you do not react as in Brazil!) How do you tip? What do you say when you tip? It isn't enough to speak the langauge. You need to know when to say what in which circumstances. And for that you need human contact.
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