Should English Be the Lingua Franca? | @EnglishWithVeronikaMark (1)
Hi, today I am speaking with Veronika Mark.
I've spoken to her before and, uh, she is a bit of a globe
trotter, as we will soon discover.
And we are going to talk about English as an international language.
And, uh, Veronika...
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Nice to see you again.
Yeah, hi thank you.
Thank you for inviting me here.
So, uh, let, first of all, let's catch catch up on your history
since the last time we spoke.
So many of our listeners won't realize just by listening to you that you're
not a native speaker of English.
Your English is phenomenal, but of course you're not a native speaker of English.
You're an example of international English.
And, which is gonna be the subject of our conversation, but update us on, on what
has happened to you since we last spoke.
So since we last spoke, I moved to a different country because um, yeah,
last time I was living in Russia, in Moscow, I was actually learning Chinese.
I was still a college student.
Right now, I'm not a college student anymore.
I graduated from college and, uh, I'm just working on YouTube, making
videos for people to learn English.
And, uh, right now I live in Mexico City.
So a lot has changed.
Yeah, what is the, uh, name of your YouTube channel?
So I have two YouTube channels.
The one where I teach people English is called English with Veronika Mark.
And uh, the second one is just Veronika Mark, just my name.
and what, what's different between the two channels?
The difference is, uh, English with Veronika Mark is focused on teaching
people English, so I share tips on how I manage to improve my English.
I help people improve their English, and Veronika Mark
is just lifestyle, basically.
I speak English there too, but it's more like, oh, I went traveling there,
you know, follow me or I did this.
It's more like lifestyle content.
Okay, so, and you said you were learning Chinese.
Are you still learning Chinese and are you learning any other languages
or do you speak other languages?
Um, no, not anymore.
Actually, when I graduated from college, I stopped learning Chinese just
because I, I had to move to a different country, Mexico, and I didn't speak
Spanish at all at first, so now I'm learning Spanish, like every single day.
So this is definitely my goal to learn, uh, Spanish.
how good is your Spanish right now?
If you go out into the street, if you need, uh, you know, help in finding
your way, or you walk into a store or perhaps friends that you have, are
you able to function in in Spanish?
I'll be okay.
Yeah, my Spanish is not amazing.
I've been learning for like six months now.
, Uhhuh, but yeah.
Yeah, I, I know my way around it, I would say.
. Oh, good.
Now, it's interesting, uh, I was just chatting with someone and how
the most commonly spoken languages in the world are, of course, the
languages of the imperialists, call it.
The empires, you know?
Why do people, so many people speak English, French, Spanish,
Portuguese, Russian, uh, Quechua even in Latin America, which
was spread by the Inca Empire.
So, uh, empires tend to spread their language.
uh, but perhaps no language has become as dominant as the English language.
So, because for me, English is, it's essentially my native language.
Although I was born in Sweden, but since the age of five I've lived in
Canada, so as a non-native speaker of English, what is the attitude
of the person learning English?
Do they learn it out of necessity?
Do they learn it out of interest?
Uh, what's the attitude towards this idea that this language above all others, a
language which is no better than any other originally spoken by people who live on
this foggy island in the North Atlantic?
Why do we have to learn English?
Like what is the range of feelings that people have when they are
confronted with having to learn English?
I think right now it's mostly out of necessity because uh, even when
it comes to your hobbies, if you're interested in, um, cooking, there
is so many recipes in English.
If you're a professional athlete and you wanna like advance in your career,
you will have to learn English just to be able to travel, to communicate
to different coaches, for example.
So I think right now, Even if a person is just like, oh, I like English.
I'm interested in English.
But one day they will have to, they will con...
like they will have to, um, I would say they will, they will be
in this situation where they will like, okay, like I need English.
I need English for work, for, um, Studying.
I wanna study at a better university, or I just wanna move to a different
country and I need English.
Now the sort of learning out of necessity, that's not necessarily a great motivator.
It's at least it's not a positive motivation.
It's almost a negative motivation.
So does the average, from your experience, and you have a lot of
people who follow you on YouTube, are people able to find some positive
motivation, something positive about learning English that encourages
them, encourages them along the way.
Yeah, that's, uh, very interesting actually, because I feel like this
is something that I'm experiencing with Spanish right now because I
started learning Spanish because of necessity, because I had to, in Mexico
City, yes, you can just live with English, but it will be very difficult.
So I would say that yes, it's not enough of a motivation to learn
in languages because of necessity.
And I think, uh, people who follow me on YouTube or Instagram, most of them
learn English because of necessity.
But I think what makes the journey a lot more enjoy...
enjoyable is finding resources that they like.
For example, um, what helped me, I learned English because of necessity,
because of my, um, education in college.
I had a lot of subjects in English, so I would, at home, I would
like watch YouTube in English.
And for me that was something that would give me a lot of enjoyment
and pleasure and satisfaction.
I'd be like, oh, I love it.
This is the way I like learning English.
So even though for most of my subscribers, yes, it's like, I
need English because of my work.
However, the paths they take are often like different.
Some people are like, oh, I only wanna focus on business English,
but are the people like, no.
Like I'm okay with exploring different subjects, different,
using different resources.
So I guess it just depends on the person.
And I would say too, that if you really try to just focus on business English,
you won't succeed in other words.
We have to have a general, broadly based sense of the language before we can start
focusing in on, on business English.
I, I always laugh when people are, we're gonna teach you business English.
You've gotta learn English.
Um, and it, it's quite true that, that in every language, you know, if you're in
the beginner material, a lot of the people who write textbooks try and push stuff
at you that they think you should know.
You should know these Japanese festivals.
You should know, you should be interested in this or that people might be interested
in something completely different.
So nowadays you're able to find stuff of interest and uh, you know, I always
quote the French expression ... the appetite comes with the eating.
And once you get into a language, then you discover things
that are of interest to you.
But it remains that English is the language with perhaps the greatest amount
of content available on the internet.
Spanish is not bad, is very good.
Russian, by the way, has a lot of stuff.
Uh, you know, and, and particularly for me that I enjoy 19th century
literature, you can find books for free.
And, uh, excellent quality audiobook produced in Russia.
And so different languages...
on the other hand, Persian and Arabic is a lot harder to find stuff.
And, um, it, it is important and it's very helpful when there's an abundance
of, of content, hopefully with audio and text available that something in
there is gonna be of interest to you.
Another subject on English, you know, sometimes you hear, well, you know
this Anglo-Saxon imperialism and everybody speaking English is no good,
so we should all learn Esperanto.
I have trouble with that because I personally find Esperanto, like I've
never met a native speaker of Esperanto.
Now people are coming on oh, yes I know so and so, he raised his kids
on Esperanto, but that's not true.
Uh, there's no culture there.
There's no food, there's no place called Esperanto land.
So we're kind of, we're we're left with English.
And if you get on a plane, as happened to me, I was in Brazil flying from
Iguazú to Rio, and the fellow sitting beside me was a Ukrainian who had been
living in Brazil and we spoke Ukrainian.
You're, you're not gonna sit beside, you're far more likely to find
someone sitting beside you on an airplane who speaks English than
just about any other language.
And so, like it or not, you know, we're stuck with English and it is kind of
useful, uh, but I can see where people who are not native speakers feel it unfair.
Do you sometimes think it's unfair that everyone has to learn English?
Why doesn't everyone learn Spanish or Russian, or Chinese?
Oh, well, this question of whether or not it's unfair, I just think
that life is unfair in general.
Like when people try to be like, oh, it's fair, or it's unfair.
I mean, it is how it is and there is nothing we can do about it.
If you just sit there and say, oh, it's unfair, like we have to learn English.
Why not my native language?
Well, you either just sit there and whine about it, or you actually
go and learn English, because English will always be there.
People will always be learning English and uh, Yeah, that's it.
Like unfortunately, that's the reality we'll live in.
So you either learn English or you don't learn it.
I mean, it's your choice.
You miss the point.
Yeah, and, and it's not really a political statement either.
If a, if a Japanese person meets someone from Brazil, they're gonna speak English.
It's just a practical matter.
This is, how else are they gonna communicate?
The Brazilian is unlikely to speak Japanese.
The Japanese person is unlikely to speak Portuguese.
So it's, they can use their hands and, and gestures, or they can speak English.
So, yeah, I agree with you.
It's, it's a practical solution.
There are regional languages like, but even there, I think in Latin America...
yeah they can speak to each other in Portuguese and Spanish, and they
more or less understand each other.
So that's, that's okay too.
So what are your plans now?
You're going to continue with your platform on YouTube.
And you're gonna learn span Spanish.
When you become as fluent in Spanish as you are now in English,
are you gonna start, uh, YouTube channel for learning Spanish?
Um, I haven't thought about it yet to be completely honest.
Uh, when it comes to English for sure, I wanna continue making videos because I