According to the Book of Genesis, in ancient times, people who migrated from the east after the Great Flood and spoke a single language got united to build a tower “with its top in the heavens”. Having seen what the human beings attempted to do, with the fear of the power, wisdom and solidarity of human beings, God decided to confuse their languages. As a result, people were not able to communicate with each other anymore and eventually they were scattered abroad upon the face of the earth speaking different languages.
This legend is supposed to provide a reasonable explanation for the fact that there are various kinds of languages in the world today. However, the truth is that nowadays it’s not an unusual case for a person to master or even have a good command of a foreign language.
Actually, many famous authors have also mentioned their own experience in learning non-native languages in their works. For instance, I read Mother Tongue written by an American-born Chinese author Amy Tan and My English by Julia Alvarez several days before. Although both of them came from families whose mother tongue are not English, they still overcame many difficulties and became awarding-winning authors in English writing.
Julia’s parents, her grandfather and even the servant at her home(I guess so because she mentioned that “I had just enlisted yet one more patient servant to listen to my rendition ”) are able to speak or at least understand English while Amy’s mother is not even able to speak grammatically correct English. In this case, to some extent, there is no doubt that Julia has some advantages over Amy because she grew up in a half English-speaking environment. No one can cast any doubt on the importance of environment in learning a language, especially when one is learning a foreign language. When it comes to me, I have to say that I’m fortunate enough to be brought up in a family like Julia’s. Thanks to my...