Do you hate English? You can't stand anything in English or that has to do with the language? Read this

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Note: Of course someone who hates English will not be able to read this article. Not like this, anyways. If you master a language other than English and Spanish, you can translate pieces of this article (or the entire thing) and share them on your website and/or social networks with people who might benefit from it if you want. If you do, a link back to this article would be very much appreciated :D

If you feel the title of this article describes you, then you might get like the lady above whenever anything in English gets in your way.

If you have a friend that tells you, "Hey, let's watch this movie in English!", you tell him/her NO, that you will watch it dubbed in your native language, or with subtitles in your native language at the very least. If someone tries to speak to you in English you answer with "yeahyeah, hello k thx bai" and tell him or her to stop bothering you.

If someone gives you a novel in English for your birthday so that you "practice" your English, you feign a smile of thanks on the outside, while on the inside you fantasize about grabbing the book, aiming at the one who gave it to you, and throwing it at his or her mouth while jelling, "Practice yourself and go to hell!!". And then you put that book under the missing leg of your sofa to finally level it up after the '97 party incident...

Well, if you have no English skills it's not that weird to have attitudes like those. The thing is that in your case, you don't have the slightest intention of improving your English, and as long as you don't have to deal with anything in that language (or about that language) in your day to day life, then everything is good.

Maybe you even think that English is way overrated, that knowing it is not the holy grail everybody says it is, and that you can invest your time doing better things than learning the language of the friggin 'muricans. And if that's what you think... don't worry. That's ok. It's really ok. I'm not here to tell you that you MUST learn English and that not learning it would be the worst mistake of your life, or anything like that.

Not knowing English will limit you in some areas, that's a fact. Without English it will be difficult to communicate with people from other countries who don't know your native language, and the latest scientific findings and technological breakthroughs are published in English, for instance.

But maybe your life's projects don't require English. Maybe you are interested in learning another language, or maybe your work area only requires you to interact with people who master your native language. If you analyze your situation thoroughly and see that not knowing English doesn't limit your life, or limits it but very little, then don't worry about learning it. And never feel guilty about not wanting to learn it. And defend your decision of dedicating your time to other things that are more important to you. Go and live an excellent life without English...

BUT!!

Before you get out of this website to live the rest of your life with zero English... I have a proposal for you.

What if it turns out that not knowing English DOES limit you for things you do want to do in life, but you really don't like the language, it's kind of smelly, and you don't want to learn it?

And whether not knowing English does limit you or not... what if maybe... just maybe... learning English is not AS difficult and annoying and painful and horrible as you think it is? What if... you end up liking English?

Before you roll your eyes and tell me, "Pffttt yeah Santiago, when cows turn super saiyan and start flying around. Can I go now?, let me tell you my dirty proposal. I want to propose to you, that you give English a chance.

I propose to you that you give English the chance to demonstrate to you that he can be someone fun and interesting, that your relationship with him doesn't have to be tortuous as it was before, and that this language can be a very positive addition in your life.

You don't have to commit to be with English forever. Just give him the chance, and see how things work out between you two. Meet again, share for a bit, and if you end up liking him you stay with him. And if you don't, you dump him for a language that you think is more sexy useful and interesting... like French, or Mandarin Chinese, maybe.

What do you say, are you willing to give English a second chance? Yes? Pretty please? :D


Leaving behind the damaging effects of school English


You and English haven't had... let's say, "Wow, such beautiful and wonderful moments!" together. You most likely had terrible experiences trying to "learn" English in your school days, or maybe you were forced to take classes in an English academy when you were little. In any case, you were probably required to do activities you were not interested in as part of your English classes. Things like:
  • Studying the grammar points for the next day's quiz.
  • Go to the front of the blackboard with a classmate and have an awkward and stilted conversation in English.
  • Write the 3 page essay about international news that you read in class, as well as build the freaking poster about your vacations.
  • Or I don't know, maybe your friends invited you to see the dub in your native language of, "My husband is a killer alien part 4: The revenge of the mutant vegetables", but you couldn't go because you had to complete the exercises on the Workbook and study the past participle thing for the next day's exam...
  • Etc. Etc. Many times etc.
As Plato said, "Knowledge acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind". Classes (not just language classes) that we are forced to take in our childhood, even if we have any kind of interest in them, work really well in making us hate the topics that they forced us to work on. Very, very, veeeeeery rarely do compulsory classes generate real skills in the students that have to take them.

If you really don't like English at all it's very probable that your aversion towards the language has to do with those annoying school experiences. But look, what happened, happened. The past is the past. Just because your initial experiences with English were not pleasant at all, it doesn't mean that your new experiences with the language are going to be the same. If you are going to learn English nowadays, you can make the process drastically different to what you had to endure in your school days.

If you decide to have a learning relationship with the English language again, you will not be forced to learn it this time around. You will learn it entirely by your own conviction, and you will be able to stop whenever you want without anybody nagging you or giving you failing grades. Even if you sign up for an English class in an academy or university (which I don't recommend), you are free to get out whenever you want.

Also, thanks to modern technology and the Internet you can access a colossal amount of resources and methods to learn English on your own, which you can try out and mix to your liking. You still have to invest time and dedication to your relationship with English, of course. But with such a huge variety of materials you are not obliged to use content about topics you don't care about just to learn English, which makes things much more bearable. All that matters is that you make the decision of looking up how YOU would want to learn English, and that you do it with discipline.

And you can also abandon your learning if you decide that English is definitely not your kind of language, with the only repercussion of having lost a bit of time, and maybe a bit of money. If you know in your heart that you gave English a chance, you tried to learn it, and you definitely didn't like it, then say goodbye to him, part ways, keep going with your life and all is good.

So put aside all those negative experiences you had with the English language. Don't let your school past affect what could be a beautiful learning relationship in the present.


The reconciliation phase


I suggest you read my three reasons of why learning English is worth it. I also suggest that you think concretely about how English can help you in your life. What cool things would you like to do that you can't do right now because you don't master English?

If you manage to leave in the past those unpleasant experiences with English, and you have in mind the cool things that you could do if English and you end up together, I think that that can encourage you to make peace with English and give it another chance. If you think it thoroughly and you decide that you WILL give English a chance to return to your life, awesome! Start by giving each other a hug and a little kiss. Then plan a "movie night" so you can share together!

... what? I'm serious about the movie night: To determine how you feel listening to spoken English, assign half an hour or an hour a day next week, search for the English version of movies and/or shows you've already seen dubbed in your native language, and watch them. Just play them, and watch the show or movie in English even if you don't understand anything of what they say. It's also a good idea if you get some songs in English in a genre you like, download them to your phone, and listen to them throughout the day.

Yes, you will not understand what you are listening, but if you've seen those shows and movies in your native language before, then you will know what the heck is going on in the story. The idea of doing this is to verify how you feel listening to things in English. Do you like the sounds of the language? Do you feel normal / neutral towards English sounds? Or you think English sounds ugly?

I, for instance, looooove how French sounds, but I know nothing about the language. I like the pronunciation of English and Japanese. To me, Italian and Portuguese sounds meh, normal. But I really don't like how German and Mandarin Chinese sound, so I wouldn't like to learn them.

If after watching those episodes, movies and listening to music for a week you feel that you like how English sounds, or you feel neutral about it, then you will be on the right track. But if you feel that you don't like how English sounds, that it sounds ugly... try listening to some more movies / shows / music in English for one more week to see how it goes. And if you still don't like it... maybe it would be better to stop insisting and just leave English so you both can part ways.


The one month commitment


If you've confirmed that you like to listen to English's sweet voice in your ears, or if at least you don't find any issue in how the English language sounds, then comes the moment to commit to having a learning relationship with English.

The next step then will be to research what methods and materials you can use to start this new learning experience with the English language. As a starting point I recommend you take a look at Inglesk's Table of Contents and Antimoon.com. Take some time to read as many articles as you may need here and on Antimoon, and start looking into what resources to use to start learning English again.

What follows is to look at English in the eye, hold his hands, and commit to be with him for a month. You will promise him that you will dedicate time to him every day during this period, that you will learn new words and their pronunciations while being at his side, and that you will give him your best.

Even leaving behind those negative experiences you had with English, and having your own reasons for learning pushing you forward, that month will not be easy. But I assure you, the coming days will not be as unbearable as what you had to endure in your school days. If you choose tools and content in English that you really like to do your training in the language, then this month will be much, much bearable. Enjoyable, even. I wish you success!

[... 1 month later... ]

Well, if you were disciplined and you know that you invested the necessary daily time to learn English, here's where you have to make a decision:

Even though it was (and it will be) arduous and sometimes difficult, did you like to learn new words in English? How did it feel? Did it feel good about progressing in your English?

How did it feel to decipher texts and videos in English? Do you see yourself doing that for many more months, in spite of how exhaustive (but gratifying) it can be?

After all those activities that English and you shared... are you willing to keep your relationship with English? Are you willing to keep learning it, and eventually master it?

If the answers to these questions are mostly positive, then that means that you did it: You were able to make peace with English despite your past woes. And thus, English and you will have a beautiful relationship of learning and progress from that point forward and you will marry and have children and what not!. That, as long as you keep dedicating time to improve and practice your English everyday. Congratulations! Felicitaciones! おめでとう!

If your answers are too apathetic or negative, if learning new words in English was meh to you, if the process was too annoying... before dumping English, I recommend you review the methods and tools that you used to learn during that period.

Maybe the contents you used are not that interesting to you? Maybe you can change a tool (like a program or a website) that you were using for another one? Is there something you can change in your learning process so that you can get a bit more satisfaction?

Try to change things around, like your learning schedule, or specific activities that you do during that time, or the content and materials you use. Give yourself a couple more weeks to see if you can find a combination of elements that make you feel interest and satisfaction in learning English.

If learning English definitely doesn't satisfy you during that time... I think that its best to leave it in good terms. You can have peace of mind because you know you really tried to make it work. And... well... keep going on with your life. English will be sad and his heart will be broken because he couldn't share more with you... be he'll survive.

A couple of weeks after that experience try learning a different language if you want, one that does give you more satisfaction in learning (the articles here at Inglesk can help you in your learning process too :D). Or try to learn something else you think is interesting, and that can help you in your life projects.


Ok, whether you end up forging a wonderful and renovated relationship with the English language or not, it will have been worth it that you gave the language a chance. If things work out, you keep a very useful and fun language with you. And if they don't, you will have the certainty that you want to invest your time learning a different language, or working on a different set of skills.

And whatever was the result in your case, I wish you great success in your journey! Go and rock in whatever you want to master :D


Summary


If you don't like English, give the language ONE chance to redeem itself with you:

Forget about how horrible it was to "learn" English in school. Learning English nowadays, on your own and by your own conviction, is a drastically different and better process compared to what you had to endure back then.

Give yourself one week to listen to movies / series / music in English. It doesn't matter if you can't understand anything. How does it feel to listen to content in English? If you like it, or if it's normal/neutral to you, keep going. If you don't like it, give it one more week. If you still don't like it, leave English.

Research methods to learn English and follow them with discipline for a month. It will be arduous, but if you use content in English you really like, it will be bearable. If during that period you felt satisfaction by progressing in your English, then keep learning English.

If learning English didn't give you satisfaction, and the learning process was too annoying to you, try changing things about the process you are following, like your schedule, your materials, the methods you are following. Give yourself two more weeks of work and see how it goes.

If after that time you are still unsatisfied with English, leave it. Try to learn another language, or try working on a different skill you do want to develop.


Last updated: May 22 of 2015

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