1. Language Acquisition Interview (experience as a whole)

and hello guys!!!!!!

Before that, watch this first 

We were given a task to write 3 blog posts regarding Language Acquisition that we learned in Linguistics by analyzing a Korean guy who can speak 4 languages.

Thanks  Mr Nazriq for the pictures !

Firstly let us introduce our group members. Our group members are Nur Insyirah bt Ishak, Nur Kamilah Amnani bt Ismail, Faiqah Amni bt Mohamad Fathi and Ainaa Amirah bt Mohd Nohd.

Now, I can not wait to share my fantastic moments!!!!

We were very eager to participate in the 'press conference' on that night, thus, we have prepared a few days before to get a better understanding on language acquisition. We also divided different tasks to each group member. Aina and Faiqah were in charge of taking pictures and recording video of Mr Lee Woong Ho while Amnani and Insyirah were assigned to prepare a few questions that will be asked for the session.

Wow! It was such a wonderful experience having the chance to interview the Korean regarding his proficiency in speaking four different languages! We had to compete with others to seize the chance to ask him questions on how he managed to speak Korean (his mother tongue), Japanese, Chinese and English fluently even though he is only 31 years old! We really envied him! On top of that, we have to thank Mr. Nazriq for bringing his Korean friend to CFS lest all of us would not be able to meet a perfect subject for our assignment on Language Acquisition (the other plan was to bring two representatives from each class to a kindergarten in Damansara to observe how the kids acquire language with their teachers. It would be immensely frustrating if only some us were given the opportunity to carry out the observation and the rest of us would just do analysis from the data collected by our class’s representatives L )

Oh, by the way, we had so much fun meeting Mr.Lee Woong Ho, who was formerly working as an engineer but because of his fond of language, he went to Japan for a one-year exchange program when he was 20 and to China when he was 21 as a language student  for only a half year.

“I was so excited for the ‘press conference’ that I joined both first and second sessions. It really helps me to get the idea of what questions one should have asked. And I find the interview that was conducted with two Japanese for our presentation also helps a lot to get the idea about what language acquisition is" –Amnani-

We could see that the students of the first session were very enthusiastic to get the information about Mr.Lee Woong Ho! Even Sir Nazriq did not have to call for questions as everybody was raising their hands one after another. 
Whereas during the second session, everybody was not as enthusiastic as the first group. However, we were pleased as this has allowed us to ask as many questions as we want. As the saying goes, whenever we were given an opportunity, we should never let it go. Afterall, everything went smoothly as everybody was very eager to meet a foreigner especially when he is from Korea. The girls really like Korean guys, right? :p They even managed to come to the event on time, without wasting even a minute! Wow!

So that was our experience :)

2. Language Acquisition Interview (Observations)

Hey guys! Still remember our first post about a Korean guy was coming to our CFS? Interesting, is it? Well, it was a once in a lifetime chance that should never be wasted! Here are some details about him. Hope you can feel the excitement that we felt when he came here, listening to his life’s experiences.
He was born in Korea and can speak fluently in that language. He was exposed to Chinese language when his mother sent him to a Chinese primary school when he was 6 years old for a year. Unfortunately, he started to forget how to speak in that language over the years because nobody was there to talk to him in Chinese. He was later exposed to English language when he was 7 years old, as his family went to Scotland for a year. He never spoke using those two languages afterwards because of the same reason. As I mentioned before, he went to Japan when he was 20 years old and he knew nothing at all about Japanese language! Luckily enough, all lectures were conducted in English so it was a wee bit easier for him to understand the teachings of his lectures. He was then started to learn simple Japanese words so that his daily life would run smoother. Well you know.. not many of Japanese people know other languages except their mother tongue! So, you can imagine right how difficult was it for him to interact with those Japanese people when they cannot speak English. He took 3 months to learn basic Japanese like the names of food and daily conversation.


Mr Lee Woong Ho said in that session was
‘As far that I remember, I didn’t suffer at all learning languages before puberty but I had to put a lot of effort learning Japanese and Chinese when I was studying in Japan and China few years back.’

Eric Lenneberg’s Critical Period Hypothesis :

‘There is a time limit when acquiring language which is before puberty and it is easier to learn the language before puberty as any languages which are learned after the critical period (second language acquisition) will be much influenced by his or her first language.’

Let’s say our first language is Malay and our second language is Arabic. That means, whenever we want to speak in Arabic, we are more likely to think in Malay first and only then we will translate it into Arabic before speaking.

Some of us even asked Mr.Woong Ho to speak in the language that he knows and we were all impressed with him as we only know Malay and English. Some of us even have learned Arabic for six years but still unable to speak proficiently in that language. Such a waste! He delivered the talk fully in English but we could see that his Korean language is way better which means,it is more fluent than when he spoke English. The worst was Mandarin as he admitted he rarely use Mandarin in his daily conversation. So, whenever he wants to speak in Mandarin, he needs to think in Korean first and translate it into Mandarin. While his Japanese language is more or less is of the same level with his English.

Like what Noam  Chomsky said, in order to acquire a language, a child needs an exposure. As Mr.Lee Woong Ho does not get enough exposure to Mandarin because he rarely speaks to Chineses, he loses his proficiency in that language gradually. We believe he can improve his Japanese and English over the time by practising to speak in those languages with native speakers everyday. This is because he acquired those languages after his critical period. Unlike Korean, he grew up with that language. That is why he has no problem keeping that language and even if he does not use it for a long period of time, the language will still be with him. If he is passionate enough, the languages that he just acquired can be as good as when he speaks Korean.

3.Language Acquisition Interview (Reflection)

Ok now, after engaging ourselves in the 'press conference' last Thursday night, we finally realized the aim and purposes of our lives. Looks dramatic right? Who cares?
He is already thirty one years old but is still learning and really enthusiastic to learn languages. Can you imagine how can he survive in his life ( I mean study hard and strive for excellence)  while other guys at his age are busy settling down their lives and have finally found their 
true love. Submitting their love towards their-long-lost-soul-mates who can take care of their children and give them loyalty in their marriage. He is really fantastic right?? Such an awesome man he is!!!!

Based on Eric Lenneberg’s Critical Period Hypothesis, Noam Chomsky on Language Acquisition, and personal experiences of Mr.Lee Woong Ho, we are now become more enthusiastic to conquer other languages in the future! As we are now majoring in English Language, it would be a very good investment for the future if we manage to learn languages like Arabic, Mandarin and Japanese because we know even if those aforementioned countries do not know English, they still manage to lead the world.  

Thus, in order to be like them, we have to learn their language and their cultures too! It is impossible to understand a nation without knowing the reason of why they do this and that. For instance when we were analyzing a short story of The End of Party, we could get the real idea of why the word ‘guardian’ was used instead of ‘nanny’ and where was the geographical setting  of that story by the use of the word ‘tea’ (tea is popular among people in the UK) and not ‘coffee’ (which is often used in the United States of America) as when we know about the culture of people in Britain, we can know British people would prefer tea than coffee. How would we manage to analyse the short story without knowing its background culture? There you go. Now you can feel the excitement and the power of language is not it? Guys, come and join us! Haha still have the chance to promote our course ya! :p

Besides, if we know many languages, the chances of being hired by international companies are more broad as they need people like us  to forge international relation with other prominent countries. But then, there is a flaw if people can only speak in one language as we still think they can go farther if they can speak in other languages too (especially the languages of the countries they are dealing with) as there is no need of hiring translators and the process will be a whole lot smoother (But wait,oh no! We will lost our job if nobody ever needs our help to translate the proposals and others! What will people like us do if they can master many languages like we do? Wait,wait! Ahh they should focus on their mother tongue only so that we can be their savior!!! )

 You can see right, acquiring many languages other than our mother tongue will help us a lot especially if you like to travel. So you will not be like Amnani, as when her family and her went to France last two years, they were lost in the middle of the big city as they know nothing about its language. They thought the journey would be as easy as when they were travelling to the UK on the same year. They could survive in the UK by depending sorely on the map. But in France, neither anyone would speak English nor her family could speak French. Eventually, they ended up crying at the train station!

So now that we have realized the importance of learning as many languages as we can while we are still young by studying hard and gaining as many experience as possible. This opportunity should be grabbed when we are still capable of doing it. In Islam also there is a quote that encourage us to find knowledge as much as we can  although we need to go to China.

 It is prominent to learn languages so we can preach to others about Islam and also other things no matter where we go. There was a poem from Sheikh Safiyuddin al-Hilli, an Islamic scholar who knew several languages. He says in his poem :

   “The more languages a person knows, the more he is able to benefit.
       These languages come to his assistance at the time of calamities.
       Hasten, then, in learning new languages.
       For every language, in essence, is another human “

So from the poem, we can relate it with the interview session that has been conducted with Mr Lee Woong Ho that  knowing many languages are the key to success. Languages are also a key to enhance the progress within nations. They have become a key to mutual cooperation which has become prominent in life. Thus, a person’s right will be guaranteed when he mixes with other nations no matter where he goes. 

Thanks for reading :)
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