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Step 51 - What Should Be Your Main 2018 Goal?
Some people hesitate to set any New Year goals and resolution for themselves; they just find them stupid. I can understand that. But then some others – like me – take them seriously, be...

I Can’t Help Women if They Don’t Want to Help Themselves
Ladies, I can’t cope with you. I really can’t, not anymore. I keep hearing women complaining about men. They complain how badly men treat them, how terribly guys behave towards them, wha...

How To Say Goodbye To the Old Year?
My goodbye to the year that has just ended usually takes on a form of a few hour session with myself. What I usually do is I take my list of goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year to di...

What Does It Mean To Be a True Gentleman
One of my male friends sent me an article arguing that chivalry is not dead and that there are true gentlemen out there who would “make us melt”. The article presented us with 9 things t...

How do I conquer fear?
Fear rules our lives, whether you want to admit it or not. All of your decisions are based on fear. All of your choices are rooted in your fears. You don’t apply for a j...

Step 51- What does it take for you to understand what it’s all about?
I just finished Tim Ferriss’ book, “Tribe of Mentors,” and one of the people featured in his book is a woman named Turia Pitt. I haven’t looked up every p...

Step 50 - Slow Down (Daga). Speed Detox
I just had a few days off. And I was so excited about these days off that I have been coming up with different ideas on how to spend them. I had new ideas almost every day before that week finall...

What changed in me after Tony Robbins’ workshops?
  In March 2016, I attended Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power workshops. I wasn’t going to write about it at all, since I didn’t know what people would think, ...

When I know you’re not a New Yorker?
  I think I’m becoming an expert at recognizing real New Yorkers. What do I mean by that? I love watching people, taking notice of their behaviors and habits. That means I watch New Yo...

“I’m Not…”…? I say It’s Bullshit
I think that many people have no idea how important it is to pay attention the words you use. I believe I have written about that on Just Like NY already, but it’s important to keep talking abo...

Body – dangerous field
This is a difficult topic, but I still want to write about it: body and body image. We all know how the media treats our bodies and what kind of body image is presented to us. I’ve written about...

Step 49 - What’s Your Next Step After You’ve Failed?
My spinning instructor keeps saying: “It’s not important what you do when you’re strong; the most important thing is what you do when you have no strength at all”. And every...

Yes, yes, no... I don't understand

added: 2013-07-23 , category: Living in NY

If you’re afraid to come to New York for fear of your English not being sufficiently fluent (“It was a long time since I had a conversation in English, no one will understand me”), I have some advice: forget the fear. What’s more: the less you try to speak correctly – the way you were taught by your mostly British teachers – the better off you are. Straining yourself to be grammatically correct (“Should I use past simple or present perfect?”) and to pronounce your sentences like you were Queen Elizabeth II herself, will only make you feel more stressed out. Most likely, no one will even understand you. This place is full of people from all over the world, including places that never heard spoken English. You will hear every language there is, as well as every dialect – starting with African languages, Hindi and Chinese, and – when you least expect it – Polish, Russian and the ubiquitous Spanish. Sometimes it will happen that not a single one of your fellow subway commuters will speak English. And none of them will be even a tourist that you are.

It’s often the case that even the immigrants who have lived here for 2, 4 or as much as 10 years don’t know English – which is true for many Poles, too. The truth is that most of them don’t need English to function over here. Transport and getting around are easy in NY; you don’t need to speak any language to do that. Besides, many immigrants live in ethnic-specific neighborhoods among their compatriots, who all speak their native language (same goes for store clerks). All you need is to master some basic phrases you need at work and a couple of indispensable words. That’s why so many foreigners have trouble learning the language properly, and even when they try to use it is often in a simple, rudimentary way (with the present tense serving to describe both past and future) and with no specific accent to speak of – everyone imposes their national accent upon their English.

Things will look much differently, of course, if you end up working for American companies with American colleagues – in everyday life, though, you can get by very easily. All you need to get your message across in a store (or a café, or on a street) are basic phrases, and if they don’t work, you should just smile and narrow your vocabulary down to “yes” or “no”. If you don’t understand something, just widen your smile and say it outright: “I don’t understand”. You can always use body language, too, and simply show what you mean with gestures. If you run across a person who speaks as little English as you do, then (even if you won’t have much of a conversation) at least you will get to smile a lot at each other and finish by wishing each other a nice day (by uttering one of the most useful phrases in American English).



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