The United States of America is the dream country for most of the world’s youth. Young people are trying to arrive to the country and stay there. Studying in one of the American universities or colleges is, perhaps, the most popular solution. Those, who decide to stay in the United States of America, have to pass English tests. English as the Second Language (ESL) is one of the most popular tests. In this work, the author will analyze the interview with one of the ESL students of low intermediate level. The analysis the author will divide into several parts. The first part will contain the background information about the student. The second part of the analysis will contain the short outline of the interview, whereas the third part will be devoted to the analysis of the interviewee’s language.
The interviewee is one of the author’s friends, who came to the United States of America to study. From the very beginning, the author of the analysis thought of choosing a person, who had come from the Latin America. However, most of them study English since childhood. Hence, the author of the paper decided to interview a person, who came to the United States of America from Asia. Obviously, Asian students study English at school. However, the difference between Asian languages and English is rather sufficient.
Jialing Huang is a Chinese student. She has recently came to the United States of America, and does not speak English well. The level of her English is low intermediate. Jialing Huang finished a Longhai school last year. She came to the United States of America to study medicine. Jialing Huang wants to stay in the United States of America after finishing the university. During the interview, Jialing Huang confessed that she adores New York and wants to work there.
The student language is interesting to analyze. The point is that the girl does not know English perfectly and makes significant mistakes. Besides, Jialing Huang visits courses to better her English level.
Outline of the Interview
Although, the task was to conduct an interview, which lasted twenty minutes or half an hours, it, indeed, lasted longer. The duration of the interview is an hour. Jialing Huang appeared to be an interesting person, who has a lot to say. Regardless the quality of her language, the author of the paper liked the interview.
The interview began with a small introduction. First, the author of the analysis introduced oneself and outlined the aim of the talk. Jialing Huang is a smart girl, who understood the main purpose of the conversation. The talk was divided into several parts. It was significant for the interviewer to understand the difficulties Jialing Huang experiences when speaking on various topic, especially medicine. In the first part of the interview, the interviewer asked about Jialing’s family, age and how she had come to the United States of America. The second part of the interview was devoted to Jialing’s life in the United States of America. Besides, the interviewer asked her about her leisure time, hobbies, favorite films and books. In the third part of the interview, the interviewee and the interviewer talked about Jialing’s friends and new communications in the United States of America. Besides, the interviewer was curious to know whether she has fear of communicating with the others, due to the language difficulties she experiences. In the last part of the conversation, the interviewee and the interviewer talked about the medicine. The main discussion concerned how Jialing Huang sees herself in the future, her place in medicine.
The author of the paper has already mentioned that the interview lasted long and was divided into four parts. As sees from the previous part of the paper, the questions of the interview became more difficult with every part of it. Hence, the author of the analysis will divide it into four parts, as well.
Part one. Family, age, coming to the United States of America
The first part of the interview was the simplest for Jailing. However, the girl makes mistakes even in the simplest sentences. For example:
• How long have you been to the United States of America?
• I am live here for seven months. I comed to the United States of America in April.
• What did impress you the most after the arrival?
• Aah… impress? What you means? I… I am sorry, I not know this word…
• Impress means to affect. Well… was there anything, which amazed you? I mean, was there anything you saw and thought “wow!”?
• Ahhh… thanks you very much. I am not know sure. You know, your state is different than my. All that I see is affect me. Ahh… I think the amazingest thing I seed was the high buildings… those, that are really high. There are high houses is China. But in America they are beautifuler.
In this example, it is obvious that the interviewee’s vocabulary is limited. Besides, the interviewee does not know simple constructions. The errors, which the interviewee makes, are the construction of negotiation in present simple tense, the usage of degrees of comparison of adjectives and the past simple tense (regular and irregular verbs).
Part two. Leisure time, hobbies, favorite books and movies.
The second part was more informal than the previous one. The point is that in the first part of the interview, Jailing Huang behaved stiffly. The author of the paper understand such behavior. The point is that the interviewee felt uncomfortable being a part of the language analysis. The author of the analysis tried to better the situation with jokes. However, the situation remained awkward until the second part of the interview. The author of the analysis suggests that Jialing Huang likes the way she spends her leisure time and wants to share her experience and impressions with others. In this part of the interview, the interviewer noticed some other errors in grammatical constructions. The point is that the interviewee asked several question, as well, which made it a more a friendly conversation rather than an interview for inter language analysis. The main problem that the interviewer has seen in this part of the conversation is that the interviewee does not know how to use verbs after such words as ‘like’. Another problem is that the interviewer tries to avoid making up long sentences.
• How do you spend your free time? I know that medicine takes much time. But you need to relax somehow. How do you do that?
• Ahhh… I relax to paint. I like paint.
• What do you paint? Landscapes, portraits, perhaps?
• I paint people faces. I like paint nature also. But you know I not have time to go away and paint. What you do for relax?
• I prefer going in for sport and communicating with my friends. Sometimes, I may spend the entire evening reading a book. (this time, the interviewee hurried to pick a dictionary and looked up the word ‘entire’)
The author of the analysis have already outlined that the interviewee searches for some words in the dictionary. The point is that Jialing Huang tries to write down every unknown word in her small pocket notebook. The author of the analysis outlined such desire to know English as a native speaker.
Part three. Communicating with others.
Communicating with others is the problem Jialing faces every day. In the two previous parts of the analysis, the interviewer outlined the main grammatical problems the girl has. Such problems make her fear to communicate with the others. Jialing Huang confessed that she did not like talking to others because she did not know how they would react on her language. The author of the analysis suggested that she communicated with her fellow students, because nobody would laugh at her for the grammar mistakes she makes. In this part of the interview, the interviewer made the same mistakes as she had done previously. The errors, which appeared in the third part of the conversation, was that Jialing Huang did not know how to use a verb in the third person singular.
• Do you have friends now?
• Yes. I have. She study with me. In the same group. She name is Jessica. She is clever and nice. All boys likes her.
• Was it easy for you to make friends with Jessica?
• (writes down the expression ‘to make friends with somebody’) Yes, easy. She comed to me and asked what is my name. And we becomed friends.
Part four. Jialing’s future in medicine.
The last part of the conversation was the most difficult for both the interviewee and the interviewer. The point is that Jialing Huang is not used to talk so much in English. Obviously, she talks every day with the fellow students and professors. However, such conversations does not last long. Besides, medicine is a rather difficult topic for her. Her vocabulary is not large enough to discuss such topics. On the contrary, the interviewer wanted to explore the interviewee’s language abilities to know the limits of low intermediate learners. The main mistakes the interviewee made were the ones outlined above. However, Jialing Huang tried to use long sentences and complicated sentence structures. The peculiarity of this part of the interview is that Jialing Huang began to use the same sentence structures as the interviewer used. Such analysis showed that a low intermediate learner should communicate with native speakers as much as possible to improve the language abilities.