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QW 040112 “What we can do with a language”

It’s so basic, essential, and fundamental that we almost forget or become unconscious about: What can we do with a language? I’m learning English simply because it’s something I like doing most in my life, and also because I need to keep brushing on my English skills to be a better English teacher than I was. On the other hand, as long as I live in Japan where I was born and raised, it’s nothing wrong if my English skills are left unimproved or totally lost besides the consequence that I’ll lose my job as an English teacher and need to find another job. I’m perfectly okay as a monolingual here in Japan. In other words, if I live in a country whose common language is not the one I speak as my first language, proficiency of my second or third language matters much more than just losing a job that I’ve been engaged. During my visit to Korea in which neither my first language nor my second language is commonly spoken, I kept thinking about the things we can do with a language.

Both that I was able to make an appointment to see Mr. Dae Kyun Kim and to talk about many things and spend good time together, and that I got to know my American friend who has a teaching job in Korea and to see him again in the suburb of Seoul are through my second language, English. I could’ve never asked the same questions in Korean that I asked Mr. Kim in English. I could’ve never thought of seeing my American friend in Korea had I not been an English speaker. I’m not boasting my English skills or anything here. I just wanted to state that I was able to do many things as well as avoid possible troubles and inconvenience by the use of my second language, English, in a country where I’m “language-challenged”. It might be nothing new and special to those who do business worldwide or have lived in many different countries, but to me it was.

Honestly, I had long forgot how practical it is to be able to function as an English speaker until I visited Korea. It might be nothing new and special to English learners in Japan. They might be sick and tired of hearing this, but let me just say: Learning a language, may it be English, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, will make your life even richer. Learning a language means learning to be able to function as a user of the language. Functioning as a language user meads to be able to speak and write the language, in other words to be able to “use” the language for purposes. Here’s what I recommend to anyone who’s learning a language in any circumstances with any styles: If you’ve found the purpose of learning your target language, you can go for it. If not, you just can quit learning the language, try finding a practical purpose of learning the language, or redefine what language learning means to you. It’s not so bad to reconfirm where you are and where you’re headed.

(60 minutes / 523 words)

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Mr. Dae Kyun Kim and Aya
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Aya

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上記広告は1ヶ月以上更新のないブログに表示されています。新しい記事を書くことで広告を消せます。