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Re: Talking back; foreigners speak their minds, By Eric Smillie and Marta Ďurianová, Apr 19 - 25, Vol 10, No 15

I think Slovaks can speak much better English than ever before and we are improving. If you wander around Slovakia, you can be pretty sure you will come across people who can at least understand basic English and would definitely be willing to help.

What worries me personally is that we are not improving quickly enough. Everybody I know agrees it is definitely a very good idea to study English and especially to teach our kids the language. All children study English (or German) at school nowadays, but do not have the chance to use English in their everyday life, especially in the remote areas of eastern, northern, and central Slovakia.

Now, I know it is difficult to speed up learning for both kids and adults, but there are some basic things that could be done so that at least everybody who is willing to improve had more opportunities to listen, read, and talk in English.

Firstly, we need a public radio station that broadcasts in English. Nowadays you can hear only the BBC and only in the biggest cities and their surroundings. We have to persuade the BBC to extend its broadcasting all over Slovakia (though it is a very boring station for the general public - good for me, but absolutely a waste of time for my kids), or create a local radio station where at least 50 percent of the broadcasting would be in English.

Television should follow, or at least they should stop translating every stupid movie into Slovak. I know that it's a nice job for interpreters and actors to dub films but it is absolutely useless and brainwashing for the general lazy Slovak population.

Radio and television have the advantage of not forcing anyone to study but attract many to do so. If Slovaks could speak better English, it would bring more industry and tourism into the country almost immediately, so why not invest in English first?

Jan Koprda,
Trnava, Slovakia

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