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Dear My Precious English Language Learning Friend 2

You don’t know me well enough, my dear friend. I’ll never take it corny or slushy if you say that your beloved writers have kept motivating or urging you to be a better writer. I tell you that I’ve always been pursuing what I consider as "ideal" and wishing to absorb all the language that my iconic English speakers have demonstrated. Yes, I totally understand that you never feel obliged to anyone but yourself, and those accomplished professional writers urge you to do more and push further, which eventually enables you to obtain a good control on your commitment. I do hope every English language learner is blessed with such an intrinsic motivation generator. I have absolutely no idea of why I've been so "obsessed" with learning English, actually. It could be learning French, Spanish, or Chinese. I sometimes wonder why it has to be English, and never reach a satisfactory, convincing answer.

Regrettably, I have to admit that I don’t know much about those hardcore TOEICers or TOEICoids even though it’s highly possible that people who visit here regard that I'm in the same camp. I’m not going to defend them either, but it seems to me that those people would like to acquire a better command of English in their definition anyway, and what they’ve chosen is to study in the form of being TOEICers or TOEICoids. (Oh, I can hear you say "No, No, No, No!") I suppose that if they ever acknowledge that writing 400 words a day for 2 months is effective for their score gain on TOEIC or whatever they’d like to realize, they’d be happy to do so. Or... oh, yeah, it’s just as simple as "Sex, TOEIC, Rock 'n Roll" kind of thing. If all of the pretty girls on the face of the earth were to go for the guys who write extremely well in English, all of the guys who're learning English on the face of the earth would definitely start writing in English right away. That’s for sure. Oh, just for your information, I’d definitely fall for the guys who write extremely well in English.

The argument you brought up in the previous letter in regards to "Game aspect" is very intriguing and worth elaboration. It’s true that "Game aspect" gives us a reason as well as a powerful drive to endeavor, compete, and grab whatever the victory. It’s very effective or even addictive for a short-term goal, but it's not the case with a long-term objective, namely English language learning which inevitably requires a life-long commitment. There would be no such effective and enduring "external" factors to keep pushing you to pave your endless way of English language learning. To be honest with you, it doesn’t matter to me much whether the motivation is intrinsic or extrinsic. The most important thing for me is to keep reaching out to what is being sought and pursued, may it be to achieve 800, 900, 950, or even 990 on TOEIC to accessorize your CV beautifully and flawlessly, or dare to keep marking 985 for the sake of a long-lasting "external" motivation.

I’m glad to know your belief that the blogospherical friendship can support and encourage other English language learners to keep writing in English. Your argument sounds solid because you’ve already realized one successful case.....Me! You once told me that you’ve never said anything in an attempt to encourage me, but you DID in a good way. I remember when you asked me if I ever write a blog post in English. My selfish and immodest interpretation of your question was that there exists at least one person in the blogosphere who would be interested in reading whatever blog post I write in English. And the rest is the history! Since then, I’ve been even more intrinsically motivated in English language learning including L2 writing, but also started bearing more serious respect and responsibility for the commitment to my sedulous efforts. I cannot thank you enough, really.

Now, let me bring up the orientation of our future talk. Our next discussion topic is going to be how we process phonetic information of the language, how we compensate "lost" information in the course of the language processing, and how we eventually improve the listening ability, right? I might be repeating myself, but let me opine here again. I think it possible or even effective for English language learners to memorize or recite what they heard without understanding every single word in the phrase or sentence, nor analyzing the grammatical construction thereof. I suppose that’s the way we try to remember the lyrics of our favorite bands' songs when we were in our early teens, and it did construct the very basis of our English language ability. I believe that until a certain point of learning, it’s necessary to swallow the language as it is with all the logics and analyses behind. I guess you’d agree on this to some extent.

OK, then, here's the thing. What do you say to a learner who claims that he catches all the phonetic information, knows all the vocabulary, and analyzes all the grammatical constructions, and yet cannot comprehend the "meaning" of the sentence? Do you have any thoughts for why that happens? Or, to be more general, how have you realized your present listening ability? Have you read English phrases and sentences aloud to absorb the whole language? Have you immersed yourself in authentic spoken English 24/365? Do you think that dictating all the words you hear is effective? Honestly, "The West Wing” is a little difficult for me to follow depending on the context and the speakers. But overreaching is good, right? I'll definitely keep trying, my friend.


The West Wing of the White House
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