LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Autor:||Ricardo - EMB -|
|Data:||05/JUN/2003 6:18 PM|
|Assunto:||Re: The Ricardos of Brazil|
I may have good pronunciation but I will never sound like a native because I started learning late in life. When I was 27 years old and still monolingual, I experienced a 4-month immersion in an English-speaking environment for the first time. Two years later I immersed again for a period of 11 months and 7 years after that I attended graduate school in the US for a year and a half. So, my total exposure to English has been approximately 3 years. Also, I don’t think I have any talent for languages beyond average. I’ve never had any talent for music, so my ears aren’t the greatest and English is the only foreign language I’ve learned thoroughly, and I’ve never had a great motivation for the language itself. My focus in the beginning was always on other subjects. I became interested in languages only when I started teaching English in Japan, at a time when I was already fluent.
We know people have different degrees of talent for languages and different learning speeds as well as different learning strategies. However, I don’t think there is a way to learn English as a foreign language other than through the ears. All linguists agree that language is primarily speech. It is because our sight is such a developed sense that we tend to resort to it so much. However, when it comes to learning foreign languages, especially English with its low correlation between spelling and pronunciation, we should replace the popular saying “seeing is believing” with “hearing is believing”, in my opinion.
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