Learning a Language Is Difficult

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Learning a Language Is Difficult

By | October 2008
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Listening, speaking, reading and writing are four of the most essential steps for people learning a new language. English is not my first language, it is my third, and I have spent a lot of time and effort to going through these steps. As an individual learning a new language, I can definitely say it is hard. Believe me, there is no way that a person can learn to run before he learns how to walk; the same applies to learning a new language like English. One of my English teachers from De Anza College said, “English is one of the hardest languages in the world, so you guys don’t need to be too frustrated as all of you did pretty well in this essay.” I really appreciated my English teacher who always encouraged us, as international students, to try our best on our essays. Moreover, at De Anza I have met a De Anza college student named Christine who told me, “Non-native speaker is not an excuse for doing badly on your essay, as all of you guys are in America now, and we speak English.” I think I need to thank Christine because she made me realize that English is only a basic skill for me to survive in America. Although I cannot speak perfect English so far, I believe one day in the future I will speak better English. Also, I really enjoy learning English. I read essays from Amy Tan who is the author of “Mother Tongue” and Chang-Rate Lee who wrote “Mute in English-Only World.” They both did a great job on describing and giving the examples and I understand that learning a new language is difficult.

Amy Tan, writer of "Mother Tongue," is from a Chinese background, but grew up in California. Tan, of course, speaks English very well, but she also speaks in another language, her "Mother Tongue." Tan has reluctantly described it as "broken," "fractured" or "limited." But that is how an outsider’s ear hears it. To Tan, her mother’s English is "perfectly clear, perfectly natural" (121). This dialect, Tan says, became their "language of intimacy, a different sort of...

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