27. English is not as important as source of income.

 

To be fluent in English, what is more important? Listening or speaking? From my experience, I choose speaking. In my old times, I focused on listening to English using textbooks with audio and video tapes. There was barely any improvement. Meanwhile, when I talked to a foreigner using my poor English, much progress was made. Its because one focuses more when speaking than listening. Besides, speaking in English naturally led to improvement in listening. This is because one cant say everything one hears, but one can listen to everything one can say.

In order to speak fluent English, one has to have at least one of these three: money, knowledge, and joke. The first one is money. Lets say I entered an American restaurant. A server listens carefully to what I say in English because I will be paying money. That money is what I have earned from teaching and studying anatomy.

Second is knowledge. I worked as an anatomy lab assistant when I studied abroad in the U.S. Despite my poor pronunciation and poor vocabulary, the American students thanked me because I was able to teach them how to interpret anatomy in an easier way. Some students thanked me and helped me with my English. I taught them anatomy, and they taught me English.

In my Korean anatomy lab, I do not repeat what I say. If there are 10 groups, I call upon one person from each group to give directions. Then, they go back to their own groups to pass onto the rest of the group. However, in the U.S, I kindly explained the same content to each group. I figured out various ways to explain the same idea, and my English improved in doing so. I was teaching anatomy for the good of myself.

Third is joke. In U.S, I often had meal or beer with the lab students. In that kind of meeting, I didnt want to be academic and it also wasnt the right place to talk about serious topics. The only things that would keep the conversation going were jokes.

 

1Dr. Anatophil 001.BMP

 

I brought up jokes related to anatomy. Why do you feel sleepy after supper? Its because food makes stomach heavy and gravity pulls the stomach downwards. The eyelid goes down with the stomach because there is a ligament connecting the stomach and the eyelid. This wasnt too hard to say in English since I was used to the anatomical terms, and the American students were kind enough to laugh at my jokes. The real physiological explanation is this. After meal, vast amount of blood flows to the GI tract, and less blood goes to the brain. This makes a person sleepy. This explanation is sleepy and boring. In the U.S., boring is a negative comment to a person. To get along in the U.S. and speak fluent English, you must have jokes with you.

Reading up to this point, one might say Money, knowledge, and joke are also important when speaking Korean as well, arent they? Isnt it especially so when trying to hook up with an opposite sex? I respond. Yes. A person who is fluent in Korean is also fluent in English. Hooking up is no different from getting along with foreigners.

Investing in learning English is desirable. However, I suggest that one invests more in one own specialty, in other words, ones source of income. You need source of income to earn money, and if you have knowledge and jokes about your specialty, you can always talk about them in English.

Furthermore, I suggest you focus on writing and reading about your specialty that brings you money, rather than trying to improve your English skills. I drew fun anatomical cartoons, translated them into English, and sold them in an international online bookstore, Amazon. There are numerous people with good English skills, but Im the only one in the world who wrote an anatomical cartoon book in English. The book is not a bestseller yet, but still, I am the only one. This is what I want to say in brief. Dont envy others English skills. Make others envy your specialty, your source of income. Source of income comes before English.