Master the language | By: ryszard krasowski | | Category: Short Story - Life Bookmark and Share

Master the language

Master the language

I am discovering America!

Using my hands and grimaces on my face wasn't enough to make myself understandable anymore. People got frustrated, listening to my "explanations" and so did I. What's more, my illiteracy had caused me a lot of stupid and funny misunderstandings. I'll give you one example: Once I got a job as a stock man at the hardware store in Brooklyn. It was a good chance to improve my poor English, because it was an American store and people who visited that store were Americans, too.

Mopping the floor, putting small price labels on new products with the "gun" and filling up the shelves with them, I followed customers with my eyes, hoping that they would ask me for something.

A few days passed by and nothing happened. I didn't have a chance to impress anybody with my English. But one day a feminine voice behind my back diverted my attention from unpacking a new delivery.

"Are you working here?"
I couldn't believe my ears! Somebody had spoken to me!

"Yes! May I help you?" I was in seventh heaven, answering the question and offering my help.

"I need an Arm and Hammer." The lady's request sounded strange to me, but I didn't show any confusion, saying:

"Certainly, could you wait a second, please?"

Going far inside the store, I tried to figure out what she was asking for. But despite "thumbing through" all the pages of the dictionary in my mind, I couldn't solve the puzzle. After a while of being in two minds, I approached "my customer" with a hammer!

She looked at me and I looked at her and we both had been trying to answer the same question: "Why are we staring at each other? "At last the lady broke the tension.

"Where is your boss?" she asked.

"At the counter." I pointed to the place where my boss had been counting money.

She took the tool from my hand and twirling it as if it were a sword, proceeded in the indicated direction.

Two minutes later she came back to me, showing a box of - baking soda! The only way I could think of to cover up that embarrassing misunderstanding was to say "I am very sorry!" And I did it! But my "sorry" wasn't enough for my boss. I was sent downstairs to the basement with a new order: Clean that whole place!

That "incident" made me think that English was indeed a very difficult language to learn and that I had to take serious steps to master it. At least on the basic level.

Studying books that I had bought in order to attain my goal, I cursed people who had invented such a "something" to make others feel miserable. Although I knew that letters were put together to make words, I couldn't read those words. It sounded stupid when I tried to pronounce them the way they were written. Asking somebody who knew English to read them for me, I heard entirely different words.

It was hard for me to understand why, for instance, two letters "D" and "O" were read as "DOO!" And when I had "G" and "O" together I had to pronounce them as "Gou!" The same problem was with "M" and "E." To me the sound should be: "MA," but for the English speaking person it had the sound "MEE!"

Learning the English alphabet by heart, I got mixed up with some of the letters from it. I couldn't figure out why "B" was "bee," "C" was "sea," "R" was "are," "T" was "tea," and "U" was "you."

The difference between spelling and pronunciation of English words made my hair stand on end. If I took a picture of myself, I had a "photograph" instead of "fotograf!" So why was a "face" and not "phace?" I opened the "door," stepping on the fresh clean "floor!" But I hung my coat on the "hook" and I "took" a "look" on the freshly painted "wall!"

There is a Polish saying: "The farther in the deeper!" and probably I went too far in my 'discoveries.'

"Saw eye" have nothing "two ad" except that "eye" now "no" how "two reed" book "end" if "eye" spend an "our" a day, learning a "knew" language, "eye" won't make a "full" of myself anymore. Well, maybe one "our" is "two" little. "To ours" in the morning "end to ours" at "knight" will "B" better. "Eye no" that "for ours" a day is "knot" enough "two" master something "knew," but "U sea eye" have "know" choice. "End eye" think that "eye" have "two meat" more people "two here" the "reel" English. "Two B" honest "Eye knead" their help!

Thank "U."

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