Sunday, November 17, 2019

My Experience, My Goals Essay Example for Free

My Experience, My Goals Essay I grew up in a country whose native language is not English. So, needless to say, the move from my native country to the United States has been difficult primarily because of the communication barriers I had to contend with. However, while English might not have been my first language, I grew up learning the language nevertheless. In my home, we had access to English shows which I was constantly exposed to at a very young age. This is the reason why I learned English without much conscious effort. The language learning was taking place at the sub-conscious level. Lu (2) said that in the acquisition of oral language, â€Å"young children are active agents†, constantly making sense of the inputs that they get from their surroundings in way that is meaningful to them. From these meanings, children then create their own sense of language rules, constantly refining and redefining these rules through active engagement and communication with the more competent language users in their immediate environment. (Lu 3) I realize that the constant exposure to the English language at a young age is the reason why I grew up knowing how to use it. There was never a conscious effort on my part to use or learn English, because it was already ingrained in my person. While the people in my household are not proficient in the language, there was an effort to know it, perhaps in preparation for our migration to the US. I had access to English books which strengthened my phonological and print awareness of the English alphabet. This happened side by side while I was learning my mother language as well and while my parents and older siblings were trying to learn English as well. As a child with a facility for the English language, I was subject to an excess of attention that I would not have received otherwise, had I just spoken our native tongue and nothing else. There is a prestige attached to the English language that makes people in my country take a second look and listen closely to what I have to say. Such is the high stature of the English language in my country that most people associate it with affluence and breeding. The situation changed once my family made the move to the United States. If you are multi-lingual, you are regarded as ethnic, especially if your pronunciation has a very thick and recognizable accent. You will be subject to stereotyping, and in some cases, be even regarded as second class citizens. While I am not saying that everyone will react negatively to your accent or your use of your mother language, it is a reality that there are some people who regard that with some amount of condescension. It is not necessarily a bad thing, just a natural part of human nature. Because language is one fundamental aspect of culture, it is therefore only natural that we become defined or identified by our native language. Difficulties can arise if we are not fluent in the standard language being used in a particular place. In such cases, when we do not know the standard language, we are immediately labeled as â€Å"foreigners†, or not born native to that place. While to some people this may not matter, the truth is that there are people who will take this against you. If there is any field that multilingualism is always an advantage, in the United States or elsewhere, and that is in the world of business. This is especially true in the age of globalism, where most business have international operations as well. Being multilingual means that I will be able to communicate with my colleagues at work, and at the same time be able to communicate with a client or supplier who speaks my native language. Actually, upon deeper reflection of my experiences, I have come to the conclusion that people do not react to your multilingualism as much as they are reacting to the accent or how you speak the English language. The more neutral your accent or the better your â€Å"American twang†, the better people regard you. And this is true regardless or what place you are in. What we speak and how we speak, reflects our history as an individual. How we speak makes a statement about who we are as a person and a measure of who we could be. Knowing how to speak in a second language will not be of much value if you cannot be understood because of how you say it. Pronunciation can be a barrier in communication, so being able to say words correctly is crucial. The good news is that once, you are fluent in English, the process of neutralizing the accent will come naturally especially in a natural English environment. After all is said and done, there is great satisfaction in not just being fluent in a second language, but also being able to say it properly and clearly. And this is what I am focusing on: working on fluency and pronunciation at the same time. In an era of globalization where English is the language of trade, the ability to communicate in the English language is a definite advantage. However with that being said, the value of the mother tongue should never be forgotten. The respect that we have for our own cultural heritage renders us with our own unique identities. And in an era of globalization, where everything is being homogenized we need to hang on to that identity or stand to lose ourselves. Works Cited Lu, Mei-Yu, Language Learning in Social and Cultural Contexts, ERIC Digest, 1998, Retrieved: April 14, 2008 from http://www. ericdigests. org/1999-2/language. htm

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