A British Voice in Taiwan 

I should begin by introducing myself a little, which were it in person would begin with a traditional handshake, a smile, perhaps a polite 'good to meet you' or maybe even an informal 'alright', which would immediately give away my country of origin to another native English speaker. 

If these were not clues enough for you, my homeland is famous for Shakespeare, the Queen, Tea drinking, Pub culture, areas of scenic beauty, bustling cities and living history. Four nations form the whole, and their cities are some of the most culturally diverse in the world. Musicians & artists from the island continue to be driving forces on the world stage, with Beatlemania, Punk and New wave/rave culture all originating here. The nation's favourite sports are not the usual American/Taiwanese fare of Basketball and Baseball. Instead we'd much rather play football, tennis, rugby or cricket depending on the season and weather, the discussion of which is another famous trait. Although our culinary skills are considered poor in comparison to our other fellow European nations, some of the best chefs and restaurants in the world are to found here, but at the end of the day I can't deny that fish and chips is what we're best known for! At their best, my country's people are known for their sense of humour and charm, although in Hollywood films we are more often than not cast as the cunning or quirky, loveable or dastardly bad guys! 

Whether or not the generalisations are true, I hope you will have guessed by now that I am British, English if we're being exact. In this coming semester I will be joining the Foreign Languages Division of NTU as an IELTS instructor of spoken and aural English, and do hope I may have chance to see you in my class!   

As a previous MA graduate of Edinburgh University in Chinese studies, and therefore a second language learner myself, I am well aware of the obstacles that face English language learners in Taiwan. Besides helping my students to develop their comprehension and conversational abilities, I look forward to sharing further the culture of my country, and of course helping them develop fine spoken English.

It cannot be ignored, that many people here in Taiwan mistakenly believe that American English is somehow 'better' or more highly regarded than British English internationally. To those of you who may wonder what differentiates the two, well the truth is essentially very little; some spellings and pronunciation of certain words are the most notable examples. In Britain, we are well versed in American culture and vocabulary through constant exposure, but ask an American what a 'jumper' is, what it means to be 'poorly' or if they would like to go for 'a pint' and you'd probably be met with a blank look of incomprehension!

There is no competition here; both forms of English well mastered will take you far, expanding your cultural horizons and opening many doors of opportunity for both now and in the future.

But for those wishing to prepare for time abroad in the UK, gain a 'heads up' on the culture and vocabulary of Britain, are inquisitive to learn through exploration and discussion, or perhaps wish simply wish to give their spoken English a more 'English' flair, well I look forward to seeing you in the coming semester!

筆者為任教於台大語文中心外籍教師 Alex Ives








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能自然而然地聽懂外國人在說什麼,是每個英語學習者所希望達到的目標。如果覺得聽一般制式的考試聽力實在很無趣,不妨聽聽網路上的廣播,尤其具有訪談性質的節目。這個網站有英美重要的作家、藝術家、文化工作者與主持人的訪談,朗誦自己的作品,也娓娓道來個人的生活體驗與社會觀察。這個網站的好處是可以將訪問錄音下載到個人電腦裡,便於反覆聆聽。同學可以尋找自己熟悉或是好奇的人物,分享他(她)們的人生歷練。這邊所選擇的人物是知名的華裔小說家譚恩美,談她所出版的半自傳體小說《喜福會》(The Joy Luck Club),同學們也可以連結到該網站的首頁,看看站主推薦了哪些作家和文學作品。 


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