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洛基英语
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中国四六级考试网 >> 经验
Rediscovering English
http://www.china-cet.com        发布时间:2006-05-16 09:01:11
2天记住4000单词的秘密... 点击进入!!
    

学生运动会志愿服务工作,先后作为东帝汶和荷兰王国代表团的联络员,获北京市市级优秀志愿者、志愿服务先进个人等称号。

English learning to me is a kind of natural language learning process.The first encounter with English I made could be traced back to 1989,13 years up to now.Thence, I have received systematic English training,first in the Tianjin Foreign Languages School and later in the Beijing Foreign Studies University.I used to toil on it,learning it as a“language”.However,as my language proficiency grows,the language has become my blood and bone,a media of my thought,just like Chinese,but no longer a“language”to be learnt.In most of the cases,when asked about any tips in English learning,I always offer some“open sesames”pirated from others,the origin and the feasibility of which are often in question.

It was not until very recently that I grew conscious again of the indispensable parts and procedures in language learning,through my learning of the French language,from which,in comparison with and contrast to English,I have learnt more about the common features of language,as well as the learning of it.

For any language learner like myself who could afford 13 years on end bent on one language,who still has much time for improvement,it is less likely that by following the scholastic measures,he would not strike proficiency one day;however,for the avid learners,especially those who expect to make rapid progress,a certain calculating shouldbe involved,and certain procedures to be followed.

Firstly,phonetics,or rather,pronunciation is important at all levels,especially at the beginners'levels.Since I learn French all by myself,only with several tapes as my guide in the sphere of phonetics and lack any proper repetition and reinforcement,I have encountered great impediment in the learning of French as a whole,whether in pronunciation,in speech,or in listening.Language is probably the first thing we learn in the world,and we first get to understand language not by the written script,but by the sound,or rather the articulation of certain words and sentences.Language,whether it be Chinese or English or whatever,is not merely a language,buta media of thought. Each of us thinks in our mind not through a vision of the words,but by a chain of the sounds of them.If we don't know well the pronunciation of the words,we could not speak,nor think well,nor could we understand others well, for the vision of language in our minds based upon the imperfect pronunciation is different and often incompatible at all with that of others.This reminds me that some students who have poor pronunciation are always trying to improve their oral English by practicing indeed very hard,and sometimes could achieve fluency in terms of speech rate, but all based on their own,rather than the correct version of the sound system,then we might say,their practice onlyleads to the reinforcementoferrors,and the more effort they make,the more difficult it will be for them to correct their mistakes in the future.Therefore,as I had thought before, pronunciation lies at the basis of all language learning,and is the first to be polished,the earlier,the more desirable— this is the firsttip in language learning that I have confirmed to be true through my own experience.

The second point is about the rules of grammar.To learners at the premier and medium levels,sometimes there are too many language rules to observe and still many yet unheard of.As a result,either one is afraid to speak in public for fear of making mistakes,or is bold enough to make the mistake that is called“overgeneralization”in linguistics.To solve this dilemma,there is no other way out but to pursue the“more”policy—to speak more,in order to consolidate whatyou have absorbed;to write more and getit checked,in order to improve your understanding;to intensively read more,in order to acquaint yourself with more grammatical phenomena.This is a repetition and reinforcement process,through which one might improve his language skills.If not,one would get“fossilized”,as is often referred to,which means that one's language skill stays at one point and never will move again.To avoid this,one should cultivate very good learning habit that he should spend his effort and his curiosity of learning for a long time on end,without

any break that might undermine his effort.
The third point,oral English,is a real headache to many.In English learning,I have never had such problems myself,but in French I do.I think the difference in the nature ofthings lies in two factors:first,pronunciation,and second,repetition and imitation.As to pronunciation,as we have already stated,it lies at the bottom of all language learning,not only the pronunciation of words,but also the intonation of the sentences and that in line with different occasions.Without a good comprehension of this,we are often too timid to open our mouths,for if not,it is very likely that we would get mocked of.Therefore,imitation and reinforcement concern the way to improve.Preferably,you should have a 24-hour teacher by your side who can often provide instructions,but if not,try listening to the English programs,whether from the radio or the TV,not to comprehend the content,but to feel the pronunciation,the flow of the words,the intonation of sentences as well as the stress and the mode of emotion involved.In addition,it is not necessary to produce very complicated and polished sentences.It is OK so long as itis grammatically correct and suffices to express your meaning well.Many choose to find an oral English partner,or frequent the English corners weekly—these are of course helpful,but sometimes too time consuming.Oneis the 24-hour,never fatigue,and never impatient partner of oneself in terms of oral English.Speaking to myself is my practice in the learning of English,as well as in French. Through this way,it is very helpful not only in practice of oral English Skills,but also a train of my mind.Of course, when you do this,you have to make sure that your pronunciations are qualified;otherwise,it will only serve to reinforce the errors you bear in this field.
Listening comes the fourth—it is determined by the natural sequence in terms of language learning.Quite often, it would be long after we start to learn a language when we would be able to strike proficiency in terms of listening. Unlike the opinion that many hold,listening is not only a matter about the ear,nor is it only through intense training in listening that the skill could be improved.Listening comprehension relates to one's pronunciation and intonation, for if one's pronunciation and intonation is faulty,it is unlikely that he would be able to understand others;it relates to the learner's oral English ability,for if one can not produce coherent and fluent sentences,it is not possible that his mind would adapt to very articulate speech from others; it relates to vocabulary,for in speech,there is no time and chance to brood over the meaning,nor to look anything up in the dictionary.Therefore,the way to improve one's listening skills is self-revealing.Besides the normal approaches,I specially recommend listening to the radio or television program,even though you could not understand a single word.In this way,you would not feel nervous,nor would it demand much attention of you—the approach simply provide you with a feeling ofthe language,a recognition of the stops and stresses,the tone up and the tone down. And as one's language skill improves,one would begin to distinguish certain words,or more words and expressions, until finally,the precise comprehension of all.Another tipis that never get nervous about listening,especially in examinations.I do know someone who each time get over-nervous and make unnecessary mistakes.Just feel at ease whether it is in exams or in the everyday practice.

Nowwe come to the fifth point,which should only be a special consideration after we have fixed the basic problems and concerns,say,pronunciation,grammar,oral English, listening,etc.Vocabulary is not only something that requires memory.Rather,the special effort spent on vocabulary would improve upon not only the language itself,but upon all the fields concerned in English,whether it is oral or listening skills,or grammar,etc.Accordingly,the acquisition of vocabulary requires a great deal more than mere memory,and is indeed very time consuming.The choice of a vocabulary book is vital.In this sphere,one with more related words and ample examples is preferable and do be careful not to get over-hasty over the effort.To really blow up your vocabulary,it would probably cost you one or two years or even more of diligent effort plus efficient method of learning before you could accumulate enough words to cope with normal occasions.

On language learning,there is no short cut.To attain proficiency,not much effort could be spent,even through the most tested and scientific method.However,to learn efficiently,there is indeed a sequence of the things that should be worked and improved upon.I do hope my own experiences could serve and help all learners and I sincerely welcome all critics and suggestions.
北京外国语大学英语外交学系99级常健

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