Two-way discussion: Studying English

•  What problems do you have when studying English?

Well, English is a foreign language to me and as a French national this is a bit difficult for me to pronounce the perfect English. When I try to speak English, I cannot make the right pronunciations. Besides, my English reading skills are not up to the mark and filled with some local tones. Besides, during the conversations, I cannot speak fluent English. This is a challenge for me to study English. I cannot participate in the conversations with the native English speakers which is embarrassing for me to a great extent. Moreover, when I am to write something in English, I have grammatical errors in the texts. Sometimes it appears that the meaning is entirely changed when I start writing. So, I try to read some English newspapers and then start writing like them. But all the time I cannot write a good form of English for the grammar issue. Vocabulary plays a great role in studying English. Being a non-native English learner, my vocabulary is so poor that I lost words during the conversation or writing. Sometimes I cannot realise the meaning of the words and then seek the words into English dictionaries and reference books and then get the meaning of the sentences or contexts I go through in different texts. With the extensive vocabulary and complicated grammar system, sometimes I am at a loss what to do or say in ‘situations’. So, I am afraid sometimes that I would not be able to learn English properly. Further, my listening skill is also weak. I cannot differentiate between words pronounced similarly like ‘walk’ or ‘work’, ‘sun’ or ‘son’, ‘to’ and ‘two’ etc. As a result, I often misunderstand the words and it takes more time for me to realise the real meaning. The most troublesome part for me is to reply to someone after hearing any conversation. Whatever the troubles are, I try hard to study English and will never give up trying until I grow the four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) perfectly.

•  Do you think that English is the most important language in the world?

Ahhh! It’s a difficult question to answer. I think English is one the widely used language among the non-native speakers. This has gained the status of the best language and also is termed as the international language for it is used by millions of speakers around the world. They use English for communication and effectively they are being served for the purpose of communication. When people of different nations come together in a place and they need to communicate with each other, they cannot use any language other than English. Learning English increases your skills as a bilingual and as a result, your acceptance also increases in everywhere. You can use the language in any part of the worlds if you are unaware of the language of that specific region. Almost all the available information in computer and the sector of technology are written in English. Each of the higher study fields is documented in English. This language has been being used for long and I think even before the age of colonisation. In the present world, the people in all parts of the planet are familiar with the language and have adopted it as their second language. So, when the people of different nation meet together, they can share their cultures and values with each other that help people to learn about newer things which one of the important benefits of English language. Besides, if you want to improve yourself in the modern age and want to use science for your betterment, you are to make friendship with the English language.

Further, English is easier to learn than learning most other languages as it has only 26 alphabets. In your private life, English helps you enhance your opportunity to read books, watch movies etc. For instance, if you know English, you can use the social networking websites. If you know English, you would be able to watch movies without subtitles. If you know English you will have the chances to get a better job with a better salary. So, I think for all those reasons, English is considered as the most important language in the world.

•  What other languages are taught in your country?

Umm! In France, the government is trying to make it a multilingual country and accordingly has started activities to make people familiar with different languages. Even the educational system of France also encourages learning several languages. Usually, English is preferred everywhere in line with the French language. Since the country is enlisted with some of the international bodies, few other continental languages are also taught here like Italian, German, and Dutch etc. The government is willing to make a country a multicultural one and accordingly tries to promote cultures of different levels. Besides, some other languages like Arabic, Chinese, Turkish, Hindi, Urdu etc. are also exercised in the country due to the populations of those states. Mostly the languages are taught in schools and there are some other language training institutes as well who provide with the service for the people who want to learn. As a result, you can find people speaking different languages and it is not a surprise. But often it becomes a bit of troublesome for the people to communicate with the other nations when they are unaware or unfamiliar with the languages they are asked to use. Interestingly, learning English at the primary level is a must for all the students and it helps to make them stronger in using English in their real-life situations.

•  Do you think that age is the most important factor of learning English? Why?

Yes, I do think so because age has many things to do with learning a language. Age is considered as the most important factor for learning a language, especially the English language. In general, people learn a language in two ways and one of those is termed as explicit learning while the other one is known as the implicit learning. The implicit learning is the process in which we learn our mother tongue and in the explicit learning process, we need to learn the language consciously. Explicit learning is a conscious process and different approaches are followed to master the language. So, when it is about learning the English language, we need to learn in implicitly which also refers to the natural learning process. In this way, we learn the language like we are taught our mother tongue. But when you have crossed your puberty, it is expected that you would not be able to learn the language in an explicit manner, I mean you cannot learn it naturally. You have to ‘learn’ the language. You have to learn the rules and manners of the language. You are to be aware of the imposing of the rules in the right places, you are to learn about grammar, sentence construction, and more other grammar issues which are in fact hard to maintain in the adult age. As a result, when you are set to use the language in your real life situations, there are chances that you may fail to communicate effectively with your counterparts. So, I think the tender age is the most appropriate time to learn a language and if you want to learn English, you need to start early. Besides, if you have kids under 13, it is imperative to start teaching the language. Whenever they will cross the 13, it would be tougher for them as well to master the language perfectly.

•  What difficulties would a foreigner have when he learns your native language?

Uhh! It’s a great question. It is a bit troublesome for the foreigners to learn French and if they try for a longer period, it is expected that they could learn the language properly. The most common forms of troubles are mispronunciations of the words and spelling of words. Sometimes the non-native speakers cannot get the perfect accent with the words. People who are entirely unskilled and unfamiliar with the alphabets, it is a bit difficult for them to begin with the language. Moreover, being a fluent speaker of French, it takes more time. Whenever you are going to speak the language, you will discover some sort of unintentional mistakes. Making singular and plural in this language may appear a bit interesting to the foreign speakers. The accents may seem harder to them in the beginning unless they are aware of the basics.

•  What problems would people in your country have when communicating with foreigners?

Ahhmmm! Actually, there are no notable problems in communicating with the foreigners. Most of the French people are now well aware of the communication with the foreigners and as the second language, they use English to reach the other people. Though a majority of the French people cannot speak the perfect English, they could continue their communication in an effective manner. But there are some other French people who can speak the perfect form of British English and you cannot differentiate if they are British or French when they speak English. The dialect and pronunciation they use belong to the natives British. Sometimes there are few misunderstandings with the people regarding communications but the repetition of the statements twice or thrice makes it clearer and the communication is perfect.

•  When would be most suitable for children to learn English?

I think when the children are in their first grade that is the perfect time for to start them teaching English. When they are at their tender age, they can adopt whatever they are taught and language learning methods are most effective when you are a kid. The brain cells are enabled to get the things easily regarding the language learning. So, they can remember the rules and other related issues to learn a language. In English language, it is difficult to some extent to learn it as the learners cannot remember the grammar issues but in the case of the children, they can easily memorise the rules. Sometimes when they memorise, they try to apply the rules in their real life from the memorization and thus they learn how to use a language in the practical situations. So, I think when the children are of six or seven years old, they should be sent to learn the English language.

•  How will translation and interpretation develop in the future?

In future, the development of translation and interpretation may experience a change to some extent. Currently, people translate and interpret languages using their own senses, skills and command over the language. But with the change of technology, someday almost all the languages of the world will be available on the internet and then I think the auto-translation will be available. Though some of the languages are available on the internet and the auto-translation is available, I think in future it will be easier comparing the current days. Translation or interpretation will not take so much labour and efforts as it is required today. Moreover, the quality of the translated copies will be more benefitting for the users. They would be able to use the copies immediately without any corrections or amendments. Currently, when the translations are done with the automated software or services, they cannot provide the perfect copy and the users need to amend the copies accordingly after their needs. But in future, I believe, it will be changed entirely.

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