LEARNING A SECOND LANGUAGE 4
Learninga Second Language
Learninga Second Language
Myexperience of learning a second language was both interesting andfrightening. Considering that I was fairly young at that time. Ilearned my second language when I was about seven years old. Being amiddle child in a large family made it a bit easier for me because itmeant that communication and interaction was not so much of a problemto me. I had learned the aspects of communication that are delicateand intricate and hence applying that knowledge to a foreign languagewas not so much of a problem.
WhenI started going to school, the interaction between the homeenvironment and the school environment enriched my perspective onlanguage in general. It was in school that I started learningEnglish. Interaction with other students was a bit challenging seeingthat some of them already knew the language. I was always mortifiedwhen the teacher picked me to answer a question. This made me veryshy and uncomfortable. I remember this one time when the teacher toldme to read the word ‘London’ and I gave it my mother tongueintonation. Such were the challenges of learning a new language. Attimes I could mix up English with my native language for I did notknow some words in English. The easy part of the process was inknowing that most of us were not also very fluent in the languagehence there was safety in numbers (Ellis & Fotos, 1999).
Inlearning a second language some words lost their meaning on me. Everylanguage has their nuances. For instance, it is easier to accuratelyexpress disgust in your native language than it is to do the same ina second language. Things like the intonation of voice will not feelright to pronounce. When I eventually started grasping the language,I could communicate in it well enough but there was still the feelingthat the meaning came out better if I reverted to my native language.Now, I am considerably fluent in English but even in the workplace, Istill find that some of my colleagues are not well conversant withit. It is easier if we revert back to our native language because Ifeel more connected to an individual who can relate to me culturally(González, 2004).
Therewere some interesting ways that my teachers used to resort to inorder to make us grasp a concept. Sometimes they could use figuresand models, other times they would turn a series of words into songsbut most of the time they said the words in English and translated itin our native language for easier understanding in school. These arejust but some of the common methods that was used to help me in myjourney of learning and acquiring a second language (Littlewood,1984).
Overtime, I developed a keen interest in the language and started goingthe extra mile on my own. I had a habit of reading everything, be iton cups, plates and even clothes. This must have been due to the keeninterest the teachers showed those who were excelling in English. Istarted striving wanting to be like them and even better. The generalattitude of my teachers was pleasing and thus it encouraged most ofus to seek more knowledge. During the process of learning, there werea lot of mistakes pertaining to pronunciation, spelling mistakes anda lot of errors. This made the meaning become distorted sometimes tothe point of not being understandable. With progress, it becamebetter over time.
Ellis,R. & Fotos, S. (1999). Learninga second language through interaction.Amsterdam Philadelphia: J. Benjamins.
González,V. (2004). Secondlanguage learning: cultural adaptation processes in internationalgraduate students in U.S. universities.Lanham, Md: University Press of America.
Littlewood,W. (1984). Foreignand second language learning: language-acquisition research and itsimplications for the classroom.Cambridge New York: Cambridge University Press.