Bulgaria State Employees to Become Fluent in English
The European Social Fund of the Operational Program "Administrative Capacity" is going to finance the English language classes. The English education project in Bulgaria is known as "Preparing Bulgarian State Administration Employees to work Effectively with European Institutions".
Over 15 thousand state employees in Bulgaria will take an 8-moth intensive course in English. The employees, after passing a final test, will be given a certificate and a language passport, known as "Europass".
While in Varna, Minister Vassilev also meets children participants in an astronomy workshop organized by Varna planetarium, whose project ranked second among 156 other participants in an International competition organized by NASSA.
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Perhaps the "corrections" were not as appealing to you as the original article. However, they were corrections based on the formuli in Warriners Comprehensive English Grammar. Admittedly, this style is somewhat "passe" but it still is accepted as standard English usage.
If your studies have provided you with the ability to offer an alternative, the submission would be gratefully and respectfully received.
What? No. Slang is slang and if you follow language trends, you won't have any trouble to follow that language. Hell, Brits use slang even more liberally, I've noticed.
Slang and idioms are more than shibboleths used by people to differentiate "us" from "them". They convey a treasury of meaning hidden in the culture itself. If I were to write about "pastede on", and "fanwank", and "crystalwank", and "bukkits" and "vodak", and maybe "2girls1cup reaction videos" you wouldn't get my meaning but thousands of people on fora all over the world would. (And yes, these words started in English). In fact, each of these words conjures up a whole host of images and memories which enrich the conversation held between two people who are aware of the phenomena.
Same with off-line slang, like "third base" and "out of left field" and "something-gate"... If you know the history and the culture, you'll get the slang.
I know what you mean. When I was in school, we had English classes, and most of the students hated them.
I learned more German in six months here than I had in 1 semester in college, which I nearly flunked! I still have my accent, but it sems to be improving, because I'm more often asked if I'm English, and a couple times if I were Dutch, which I took as a compliment.
On Capri, I met a British woman who worked as an interpreter at the NATO base in Naples. She said that Americans speak too much slang, which leaves the officers of other countries--who have been trained in British English--simply can't follow them.
I asked her if she could give me an example. I can't quote her exactly any more, but it went something like this: Gentlemen, this whole rat race is going down the tubes, and if we don't get on the ball, we're going to lose the whole schmear.
She asked me, "Did you understand that?" I told her I did. "That's the point", she said, "Only an American would."
Not just textbooks. After all, native speakers learn certain stuff from textbooks too.
It's books and being among speakers and movies and TV... In fact, almost none of my friends from high-school speaks any English any more, just because they had no vested interest in learning it after graduation. The ones who live in the States and the UK know it well enough but will always speak it like foreigners because they are either among other Bulgarians at home or just don't read books.
On the other side, there is another Bulgarian I talk to online whose English is just amazing just because of the time invested in reading things and communicating. I'm not sure what his/her accent is like but I'm pretty sure it's indistinguishable from that of actual Americans from what I hear.
"Then again, most of the people with highest scores are non-native speakers of English."
You've hit an important point here. In my experience, people who have to learn the language from textbooks often speak the language better than the "natives". Here in the Saarland where I live, there are so many dialects that the "natives" admit to not understanding each other! Since I speak High German, I can make myself understood wherever I am in the country, but I don't count on understanding the answers.
You were making a gross generalization about a lot more people than Mr. Whateverhisname. And since I belong to that group of people who feel it necessary to correct the reprehensible quality of English in the articles, well, your comment concerns me. Thus, the need to respond.