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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

WR 8.2. Annex1. My personal Quest for English

Annex 1. Writing 8.2. Quest – a history.

Text A.
Task. Write a 200 word text about The Quest for English

In old times,wise knights gathered around a round table and decided to set off for the quest of the grail, the holly goblet. It is written that they spoke English, not the modern one but the ancient one.

Nowadays, we know that the Grail was but a symbol, but the adventures those knights carried on have brought us many good pages of literature, the basis of modern novels and a reference to English language. Centuries have gone by and that language that was spoken by the inhabitants of a small kingdom has become the most important one in the world, the international language, and many citizens around the world are in the quest of English language knowledge. It’s a quest without swords, without horses, without bloody battles but with pencils, books, disks, .. The goal is not anything material, but a more useful tool, the knowledge of a language, English in this case.

QUEST …An old fashioned or literary word. A Quest is a long and difficult search for something, especially something that you value.*

*Definition from COBUILD COLLINS Dictionary

EDITING Text A.


In old times, wise knights gathered around a round table and decided to set off for the quest of the grail, the holy goblet. It is written that they spoke a local tongue, not Shakespeare’s variety but the Anglo-saxon one. Nowadays, we know that the Grail was understood as a symbol, but the adventures those legendary knights carried on have brought us some unmistakable landmarks: many good pages of literature, the basis of modern novels and a reference to English language.
Centuries have gone by and that minor language that was spoken by the inhabitants of a small kingdom has spread worldwide, becoming the most important lingua franca in the world. By learning it, many citizens around the world are in the quest of English language knowledge. It’s a peculiar quest you start riding with no horses, neither carrying swords, nor fighting bloody battles but equipped with light luggage: pencils, books, modems, USB pencils and so on. The goal is nothing material, but a more useful tool, the knowledge of a substancial resource: English in this case. Talking of which, I browsed my COBUILD COLLINS Dictionary and found this: “QUEST …An old fashioned or literary word. A Quest is a long and difficult search for something, especially something that you value” and will unveiled my personal quest for English in our next assignment.





Annex 2. Text B. First version handed in
Task. Write a long composition 600-700 word text about My personal Quest for English

There is a moment in our lives that we decide to go in reach for something we want. Be a friend, money, a goblet, a wife, or anything else... at that moment, the quest has started already and we don’t know where it will lead us.

When I started my quest for English, I had no idea how the way would be, and honestly, I thought it to be easier. I remember well the year, it was 1992, the Olympic games year. Unforgettable. The reason was a non common one, I think. I wanted to read in English. I was fed up with translated books and wished to read the original versions.

First fights were with words, pronunciation, listening,… the elemental things you must learn at first level. By then, I still had the illusion of learning fast. I thought I was cleverer as I really am. I won some battles that gave me confidence, I could understand some English at least and acquired the ability to communicate with my classroom mates in English. Of course the words were the easiest ones and the sentences the elemental ones, but I was even able to read in English, and from 0% to some English there was a big progression. I thought it would have been always like this. This was the prelude of a big defeat.

Three years later I landed in the UK. Armed with few words, some colloquial phrases, a dictionary and the believing that people spoke there a bit better than my classmates, I was eager to communicate with native English speakers.

I didn’t think that that battle would be so hard and the enemy so arrogant. People there spoke to me with a language I didn’t understand. The enemy was fierce too. He didn’t want to make any effort to understand what I was trying to say with my, I can say it now, poor English. After three days I had to accept the defeat, my scarce weapons were not enough to deal with native speakers. I needed more practice, that was sure. The aim of the quest was further than ever.

Since then I have taken it very easy, and what I have done the most, it is the easiest thing for me, that’s to say, to read. I have read many books in English, and I have realised that best sellers use a more simple language than literary works. They are usually easy to read. And I read many of them So, I think that I do understand written English much better than I can write or use English language. At least one of my goals are fulfilled. Of course I can’t read everything, but I am happy with my level, though I will not stop learning and improving my skills.

Speaking and listening also are some of the battles yet to be won. I am in the point that I can travel everywhere around the world without big problems which has been a great achievement, but I feel it is not enough. It’s very difficult for me to understand native speakers and if they have accent, its depressing. It goes without saying that many times I just understand few words. I didn’t know that there were so many accents in English, the strong American one for instead, it sound as if they were all the time chewing gum! I didn’t expect this that hardness. I think that the only way to improve fast in this skill is going to live in a place where people would speak English, but meanwhile I try to watch at as many films as possible in its original English version.

Speaking has been also a long distance race, and I feel I am in the middle of it. Little by little I have been able to communicate with people from around the world and also with native speakers if they have the patience. Many bad pronounced words can lead to funny situations, and I have been the main character in some of them. I can recognize the meaning of many written words, but I am not able to pronounce them properly if they are not frequently used neither to use them in current conversations.

Despite all these hazards (Oh I forgot grammar! But never mind it’s a Freudian oblivion) I have found in my quest, I might say that it has been worth. Every new word, every new learned expression and every new conversation in English is a victory to a final battle that, fortunately, it will never happen. There is no end in the Quest for English.

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