Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Learning a Language

I am enjoying the class I take on Tuesday and Thursday nights very much. Well, maybe not the part of the class we are discussing right now - how to write a scientific research paper. My writing of preference is personal essay; observations and opinions, no right or wrong, or referencing others thoughts and words (You should make references if you are going to publish and you actually quote someone - even if just your mother). You can be wrong, but who is to know for sure, its about how you feel, what you saw, and how blue the sky is.
In this class with all the other students being teachers, I enjoy hearing everyone's comments and problems about learning language from the perspective of the teacher. I am learning, through the research I am doing, lots of information about how we learn a second language. There is a big difference, in the minds of those who know about language acquisition, between learning your mother tongue, learning a second language, and learning a foreign language. Because I am living in a foreign country, where there is need to use the language everyday, in many situations, I am actually learning a second language - I am, of course, using the word 'learning' here in a very broad sense. To be more accurate, lets say that I am trying to learn a second language.

So if you have just moved to a foreign country it is important to look into these concepts just a bit before choosing a course for language study - some schools (I wanted to say all - but have just learned about the scientific method of reporting called hedging) teach a second language with the immersion method - or as I read in one article the 'submersion' method. They "throw you in and you sink or swim." You learn quickly if you can swim, but in the time it takes the slow learners to figure out how to swim, while the teachers are standing on the side of the pool gloating that this method is the best for you, it can prove to be a very unpleasant experience.

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