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How do you think people should learn English? What do you think of the way most Chinese students learn English? Your suggestions?

I think the traditional way for students to learn English is unbalanced, exam-oriented, etc. Is there a way that can help students raise their cultural awareness while learning English? Are there other attractive curriculums or methods to help Chinese people learn English?

  • Jun 22 2012: The best way, in my opinion, to learn a language is to dive straight in. Surround yourself in that language i.e. live it, don't study it. My mum moved to Germany in her twenties without any basic knowledge at all. All she had was a little book of german vocabulary to reference new words.
    Once you familiarize yourself with even a few words you can start to pick out sound patterns in speech; distinguishing syllabes and then words.
    The hardest way is to learn it in a classroom. I always find it amazing how fast the brain can adapt to a new enviroment.
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    Jun 22 2012: She Lin, I have been fortunate to be able to travel and I find that immersion is by far the hardest but also the most effective. The problem that Americans have is that most of the worlds languages are sing song. Learning American type of English is made difficult because it has more rules that any other language and exceptions to every rule. Almost every language congegates the verbs. We are Americans let em fly.

    The goal of any learning process should not be the accumulation of knowledge, but rather the application of the materials and lessons you have received.

    A test in languages should not be an exam but a conversation.

    All the best. Bob.
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      Jun 23 2012: Dear Robert,Could you please explain to me what do you mean when you say "The problem that Americans have is that most of the worlds languages are sing song. "? And could you share some stories of your travel that inspired you about learning other languages? Thank you!
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        Jun 23 2012: By "sing song" I refer to the voice inflection used. Many languages have fewer words but they have many meanings when said rising or falling in tone and dependent upon what is used prior to or after. Viet Namese comes to mind. I used Co in a sentence and everone laughed. I thought I was using it as a young unmarried girl and instead made a joke about a dog. This had occured to me often as I am pretty basic American and do not roll my R's in spanish and have trouble hearing the right way to say things. Some people understand and try to help and some get mad and tell me I am insulting and to stick to English.

        Woe shay shay ne ( I mean thank you very much) Ty chin (good bye) learned in Taiwan spelled in American.

        Forgive the westener who means well. All the best. Bob.
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          Jun 23 2012: Thank you so much! I was inspired by your last two examples of Chinese sentences, have you come to the mainland of China? If you have the plan to go to Beijing in future, I would love to show you around and teach you tons of Chinese if you want : P
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        Jun 23 2012: Shen Lin. I am honored. You have made a kind and generous offer. For this I am grateful. If I come to the mainland will have the best guide and teacher in China.

        All the best. Bob.
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    Jun 21 2012: May I suggest the following edits for your post?1) Your second question (in bold letters) should read: "What do you think of the way most Chinese students learn English?"2) Line 2 of your non-bold text should be: " . . . oriented, etc. Is there. . . ".3) Line 3 should be: "students raise their cultural awareness while learning English? Are there. . . ".4) Line 4 should be: " other attractive curriculums or methods to help Chinese students. . .".In my opinion the most efficient way of learning to communicate effectively using a language not your own is to communicate with people whose own language is the one you wish to learn. For example, a good way to learn English is to participate in TED conversations in English. Shay Shay!
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      Jun 23 2012: Your suggestions are very useful and I re-edit my questions : P Could you please tell me more about how to engage students participate in TED conversations in English? Thank you so much!
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        Jun 23 2012: Good job Shen! You still have a few corrections to do. You can use the exercise of finding them on your own. As for engaging others in TED conversations using English, I think you should simply continue to post candid, relevant questions and ideas. Thank you!
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          Jun 23 2012: I changed them again, please help me correct it if there's still mistakes. I think it will be a good lesson for me and my students.
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        Jun 24 2012: Sure Shen,
        In line 3 of your text change "English, is . . . " to "English? Are. . .".
        In line 4 change "Chinese to learn" to "Chinese people learn".
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    Jul 20 2012: It might be a good thing to see more dedicated support for a constructed language (Esperanto, Interlingua, Ido, etc.) since English is, as most will agree, a very horrible language to learn, especially at L2 or above. Only the current generation would have to make an L2+ investment, and not everyone at that. But English dominates now and will probably keep on doing so (we're not inclined to adapt unforced; even something as simple as metric failed in the American mainstream). Maybe Globish is the compromise, but at that point it seems why not just standard English entirely.

    As to the actual topic, I agree that total immersion is the single best method of learning a new language, or as near-total as circumstances allow.
  • Jul 6 2012: Hi Shen lin
    I am curious as to how the Chinese learn English. I read a report about 6-7 years ago that said 240,000,000 Chinese study English every year. And I have heard about "Crazy English" and the man who teaches it and also the visual aids, giant ones, that are used in schools around China. I do not know just how accurate these reports were.

    I don't know if this will make much sense but first I am assuming that when you say 'learning English' you mean speaking English, not necessarily reading and writing English.

    Anyway, I do think that not being uptight, or uptight mentally or with ones' ears is crucial to being able to speak English. What do I mean by this is simply that even though an individual may not understand the meaning of what is said, IF one can clearly hear what is said, then one can clearly repeat it back and that is speaking a language.

    To be able to do so, makes it easier to remember and also to remember the context in which it was spoken. This is particularly hard for me, even when I know the vocabulary and the structure, I cannot "hear it" in recognition when it is spoken to me or in front of me. I think my ears are uptight about it.

    What do you think?