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OFF-TOPIC MJ's books are so hard to read as a foreigner because of the informal tone of his sentences.

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genesisk5

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I'm from Korea and Korean is one of the farthest languages in the world from English, like Japanese. just like Europeans can learn each other's languages relatively easily Koreans and Japanese are like so to each other so from how different Japanese, the more popular one than Korean, and English are you might figure out as well how different Korean is from English. I have no problem with the formal English. I can read, listen, write and speak but when dealing with the spoken-English style of materials I really have difficulties with all of reading, listening, writing and speaking.

since not all books are translated to Korean let alone the quality of translation(actually the Unscripted was quite notorious for its poor translation in Korea.) I often have to read the original version in English. I don't usually have much difficulty with it because most books are written in formal tones, vocabularies and expressions but for all 3 of MJ's books I had a huge difficulty with them to the point where I ended up returning them and bought the Korean versions knowing their poor translation qualities except for the Great Rat Race Escape which isn't a translated yet. there were so many informal words and expressions that I couldn't stop searching every single one of them on my dictionary.

I'm not complaining and I know that anyone has the right to write a book in whatever tone or style they want and that they don't necessarily have to consider even foreigners when writing a book but I'm just wondering why are his sentences so difficult for me as a foreigner to understand and what do you guys think I can do to be familiar with such style of English, vocabularies and the expressions.
 

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OMJ

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what do you guys think I can do to be familiar with such style of English, vocabularies and the expressions.
Go to Itaewon and hang around the bases.
 

woken

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I am a foreigner too.


I didn’t find the first two books hard. TGRRE I found a bit harder because of its complexity, not because of the words.


there were so many informal words and expressions that I couldn't stop searching every single one of them on my dictionary.

You know, at some point, MJ rans out of informal words and expressions :rofl:
That’s on the last page.

i understand what you’re saying but I would’ve found it a bigger challenge and see it as a way to improve my vocabulary.

What you can do to “be familiar with such style of English” is continuing to read the books in English. Simple as that
 

genesisk5

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I am a foreigner too. I didn’t find the first two books hard. TGRRE I found a bit harder because of its complexity, not because of the words
what's your mother tongue? I envy you for having no difficulties with them.

You know, at some point, MJ rans out of informal words and expressions :rofl:
That’s on the last page.
lol! that's so funny. you agree with me that MJ is the master of the informal English haha.

i understand what you’re saying but I would’ve found it a bigger challenge and see it as a way to improve my vocabulary.
that's what I thought too. one day I will use his books as a textbook for studying informal English lol.
 

Kid

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Stick to English forums (not just FLF but any kind).
People mostly talk in "spoken" English there.
Its easier to look up words with computer/phone
than from physical book.

Good luck!
 

Andy Black

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Forums and podcasts likely have more informal language than books and blogs.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Sorry I write as if I'm speaking to a friend, or my own son/daughter. I don't write to sound like an academic or corporate trainer.
 

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Plenty of other people, from countries all around the world, that speak broken English because it is their second language, have enjoyed and gotten value out of MJ’s books, this forum, and any number of books written in the English language. Even other people from Korea. I can think of a couple right off the top of my head that actively participate here.

Stop telling yourself it’s too hard and figure it out, or don’t. It’s not MJ’s fault an English book is too difficult for you. It is your’s. Just like it’s my fault that a Spanish book, beyond a simple children’s book, would be too difficult to me.
 

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I'm from Korea and Korean is one of the farthest languages in the world from English, like Japanese. just like Europeans can learn each other's languages relatively easily Koreans and Japanese are like so to each other so from how different Japanese, the more popular one than Korean, and English are you might figure out as well how different Korean is from English. I have no problem with the formal English. I can read, listen, write and speak but when dealing with the spoken-English style of materials I really have difficulties with all of reading, listening, writing and speaking.

since not all books are translated to Korean let alone the quality of translation(actually the Unscripted was quite notorious for its poor translation in Korea.) I often have to read the original version in English. I don't usually have much difficulty with it because most books are written in formal tones, vocabularies and expressions but for all 3 of MJ's books I had a huge difficulty with them to the point where I ended up returning them and bought the Korean versions knowing their poor translation qualities except for the Great Rat Race Escape which isn't a translated yet. there were so many informal words and expressions that I couldn't stop searching every single one of them on my dictionary.

I'm not complaining and I know that anyone has the right to write a book in whatever tone or style they want and that they don't necessarily have to consider even foreigners when writing a book but I'm just wondering why are his sentences so difficult for me as a foreigner to understand and what do you guys think I can do to be familiar with such style of English, vocabularies and the expressions.
You should look at this the opposite way from your current view. I spent years visiting Suwon City. I had to immerse myself in Korean culture to understand it. I ate your food, stayed at your hotels, and studied your business strategies. The sentence structure was hard for me, but unless I understood how a Korean business man thought, I would never be able to understand Korean business. I had to study first the difference in philosophy and even how people negotiated.

You can't start by analyzing his word choice, because he didn't structure his words the way you normally would in Korean.

The vocabulary and sentence structure in MJ's writing style may be the single most important thing for you to learn about Western culture. For you, understanding the mind of the Western business man might be more important than the purpose of the book itself. Study the culture first, and then you will better understand the content and context.
 

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genesisk5

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Mar 25, 2020
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42
south korea
Stick to English forums (not just FLF but any kind).
People mostly talk in "spoken" English there.
Its easier to look up words with computer/phone
than from physical book.

Good luck!
Forums and podcasts likely have more informal language than books and blogs.
I do quite a lot of Reddit but I've hardly ever seen expressions or words MJ used, I mean I haven't felt that much difficulty from anywhere else except for when people(natives) talk to each other. maybe any other dialogue written down in text I will have the same problem with it.


Sorry I write as if I'm speaking to a friend, or my own son/daughter. I don't write to sound like an academic or corporate trainer.
now I remember at the beginning of your books you mentioned that. so it turns out that I'm much weaker against the spoke English obviously because I've practiced my English in my room most of the time so I'll need to get outta my comfort zone and approach natives to practice the spoken English. hopefully after some entrepreneurial success so that I become someone who's interesting to talk to for them.
and I don't deserve to hear sorry from you it's just the frustration to my self and my English ability but what I wrote sounds like whining. sorry for that MJ. but I've read two of your books in Korean and that's why I'm here. you're my life saver. can't thank you enough.


Lived and worked there a long long time ago.

King of Soju & Apkujongdong.

And I know my kimchi.
ah you know you should know kimchi to not upset Koreans! you must've been here haha.
 
Last edited:

Kevin88660

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I'm from Korea and Korean is one of the farthest languages in the world from English, like Japanese. just like Europeans can learn each other's languages relatively easily Koreans and Japanese are like so to each other so from how different Japanese, the more popular one than Korean, and English are you might figure out as well how different Korean is from English. I have no problem with the formal English. I can read, listen, write and speak but when dealing with the spoken-English style of materials I really have difficulties with all of reading, listening, writing and speaking.

since not all books are translated to Korean let alone the quality of translation(actually the Unscripted was quite notorious for its poor translation in Korea.) I often have to read the original version in English. I don't usually have much difficulty with it because most books are written in formal tones, vocabularies and expressions but for all 3 of MJ's books I had a huge difficulty with them to the point where I ended up returning them and bought the Korean versions knowing their poor translation qualities except for the Great Rat Race Escape which isn't a translated yet. there were so many informal words and expressions that I couldn't stop searching every single one of them on my dictionary.

I'm not complaining and I know that anyone has the right to write a book in whatever tone or style they want and that they don't necessarily have to consider even foreigners when writing a book but I'm just wondering why are his sentences so difficult for me as a foreigner to understand and what do you guys think I can do to be familiar with such style of English, vocabularies and the expressions.
Most business content do not use 100% formal English either.

Like most start-up blogs and books it has always been a mix of formal and informal English, when it comes to creating a connection with the readers.

Think of the typical words like "hustle" and "grind" that are frequently used the way they are used in business. If you use it in an English essay your language teacher might circle them as inappropriate.

The core market of readers for MJ's books are native English speakers who are sitting on the sideline whether they should start their own business to be on fast track to wealth. That is why it is full of stories and analogies.

I personally prefer to read the more technical style of writing that is more common in the start-up/business blogosphere, which uses more commonly known buzzwords that the community is familiar with. But of course this isn't the exact target market MJ is speaking to. MJ seems to target a wider audience that is interested in personal finance, business and self-help, not podcast listeners who spent hours listening on "myth and realities of product-market fit".
 

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I m not through the Unscripted often enough to get all the info hidden. Every read brings new info. This info slowly reaches my brain.
@MJ DeMarco writes as if You sit beside him on a mountain, taking a break and talking to each other. I read on the Ipone. Very many words I search the meaning, as I m soo bad in vokabulars.
B
Its a bit hard for me, too, and if I would talk to him, every second sentence I d ask „huu?“
If you want the info, than reread every chapter until you have no more problems.

Edith: I m in Greece for a time and mostly its English to speak. But I allways feel like a primar schooler, when I start to speak. My wife allways is amused.
 

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