Student writing for G.B.C. Why are non-native speakers silent in meetings?

Keep writing!

Students at the English Farm write some amazing G.B.C. answers, and we like to share the best of the best.

This piece has had minor corrections by a teacher, but the logic, structure, and word choice are the student's.

Today's question:

 Some non-native speakers tend to be silent in meetings in which foreigners are present. Do you agree? Why do you think this is?

In my experience, this definitely happens. I remember when I participated in a meeting between Japanese and American university students a week ago. Only the Japanese students who had lived in the U.S. before expressed their opinions actively. One reason the other students tended to stay quiet was because speaking in a language that you aren't used to is like fighting without a gun in a battlefield. If a soldier doesn't have a weapon to beat back the enemy, then it's rational to avoid even the battle. Similarly, the more fluently you speak, the more likely you are to convince someone. So, non-native speakers tend to be silent in meetings in order not to be argued down by native speakers. All in all, for non-native speakers, it would be better not try to be perfectionists, and to, instead, try to get involved in meetings by expressing their opinions—not only by speaking but also by nodding and writing on the whiteboard.

I find this to be a great answer for a few reasons.

  1. It incorporates a variety of evidence: both an anecdote and an analogy. This helps to engage the listener or reader and explain the author's idea.
  2. The author shows clear reasoning by explaining what the analogy means, "Similarly, the more fluently you speak, the more likely you are to convince someone" And, by relating it back to the claim, "So, non-native speakers tend to be silent in meetings in order not to be argued down".
  3. Transitional phrases are used often and effectively. For example, they are used to introduce the argument "In my experience..." To give evidence, "I remember when..." And, to conclude the argument, "All in all..."

Keep writing so you can clearly and naturally state your opinions more, like this example. For comparison, take a look at this piece of writing on the same topic from last year. 

If you are preparing for an upcoming G.B.C. test, or if you just want to express yourself clearly and strongly, then writing often will help.


anecdote /AN-ek-doht/ [noun]—a very short, interesting story.
analogy /an-AL-oh-gee/ [noun]—a comparison between one thing and another.