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Don't agree: Language skills reveal real genius, English is no more than a tool for them.

English learning will never be too hash for genius. If it will, I doubt the true ability of them. Besides, people born in a non English speaking country, like me, could keep our own culture, our own pattern of thinking while taking English as a kind of tool to paricipate in a global competition or coorporation. As for me, I have just passed the TOFEL test, through which process, I've learnt a lot not only about language skills but also some new ideas, amzing thoughts, and useful experience to communicating with people. Right now, I am preparing for the GRE test, and hoping for the best...

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      Evan G.

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      Apr 8 2011: Fantastic comment, Nichola.

      "Far faster than it is changing the world it is being changed BY the world."

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      Apr 10 2011: I agree with you Nichola, about that the change and evolution of language is a inevitable. But maybe because my native tongue is such a small language, I believe in the power of professional translation.
      Basic skills in a foreign language (and a little beyond basic, too), are something any intelligent person can acquire. But in order to really be a master of that language you need to be born with a certain gift, as with any great talent. If someone who has an idea first have to struggle with writing it in a foreign language (English) and then has only readers, who also might know English only as a second language, the whole meaning of that idea might be lost! The world needs more understanding, not more misunderstanding. And a really good translator can help an idea to spread much faster!
  • Apr 4 2011: Liangfeng Zhang, with all due respect, it may not be a "genius" that makes the contribution that can dramatically help the world. For instance, what if an uneducated, impoverished farmer knows that a particular plant is called, in his language, "The Eye Plant"--and that gives us a clue that this plant might have properties that can fix eye problems?

    That is, while knowing English is certainly something to be proud of, when a language languishes, we may be losing some ancient clue, some ancient bit of history, that could have bettered our own world. While a genius may easily overcome any English requirements, there are millions who, for any number of reasons, will be unable to. And with the death of their language, comes the death of some very interesting takes on nature, life, and reality itself. It MIGHT be that if we can just puzzle it all together, we will find incredible insights that would have been hidden to us otherwise.
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      Apr 8 2011: I wholeheartedly agree with Apple Whap's point of view. Just curious, do you happen to know the German scientist that she was referring to in the video?
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    Mar 31 2011: Language skills reveal real genius - I would say that the process of learning a language can reveal real genius.

    What it means for me - through the process of language learning, I have discovered the love of learning, which is a skill that I find more important than the actual knowledge of the languages that I have studied. The love of learning also helps me master the knowsledge of and about the languages that I study.

    English is no more than a tool for them - Yes and No. Most certainly English has been instrumental in many ways (business, international exchange of ideas, education, research and development, etc). However, I think that other languages can take this place. I strongly believe that other languages will become more and more important on the international arena. Chinese and Arabic, in my opinion, will become more and more important...

    PS: Congratulations... and Good Luck!!!
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    Mar 31 2011: I fully agree Liangfeng Zhang that all people should love and keep their own culture but have the courage and curiousity to open their hearts to other cultures and ways of thinking as well. English is just one language in a big world. I hope to learn Mandarin in the next year and I hope to travel to China to do so. While there I would like to teach English, not with the goal of changing anyone's thinking patterns but of helping two parts of the world understand each other better. Congratulations on passing your TOFEL! Good luck with your GREs I am sure you will do well!
    • Mar 31 2011: Hi Debra, thank you for your affirmation. I am also glad to hear your plan of travelling to and teaching English in China. I am sure you will find Mandarin a very interesting language to learn, also a little bit difficult of course. Well, I suggest that you start your plan on campus where lots of university students, like me, will be very happy to help or to communicate with you, and find improvement on both.
  • Apr 8 2011: i don't understand why they want toefl marks to enter an engineering related course(like MS) in US. they should check our technical skills and understanding in the engineering subjects and decide on taking us into their university. we are not studying and literature there. a person bad in engilsh might be able to do great job in engineering. all that a person needs is basic speaking and writing in engilsh to be in a english speaking country university.
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    Apr 3 2011: I just know that my thoughts run in a different way when I use English, than when I use my native Swedish. Every language has it´s own sounds. They require different ways of breathing, using your tongue and your lips. Thinking is very close to motor skills, for example when your thoughts are stuck, you might benefit from a walk. And researchers have discovered that during thinking, inner monologue, the root of the tongue is moving, but the movement is so small we don´t notice it.
    The human race has produced all these languages in different places and during different times. They are a great natural resource, that we might loose if all translation stops. Right now the intelligentsia in most countries is forced to publish thoughts mainly in English, if intending to reach outside it´s own sphere.

    And while writing this post I have to stop many times to check my spelling and my grammar, if I want the text to have the same high quality as a Swedish text I wrote would have. It is sometimes fun and challenging, but many times a drag...
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  • Apr 2 2011: This is just an aside to the dubious argument on display here.

    I think there is some MRI evidence that the brains of people who grow up learning letter based languages are organized differently, or maybe process language differently, than those who grow up learning ideogram languages. Something about aural vs. visual processing, but I’m not sure I’m remembering this correctly. I think it was differences in the way deaf people in the two cultures learned and/or processed sign language that led to the research. Anybody know anything about this?
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    Apr 2 2011: I'm not quite sure you got the point: what is at stake here is not whether English is difficult or not, rather whether one has to pass a formal language exam to be a member of the scientific or scholar community. Granted that for practical reasons only one lingua franca is indeed a very handy solution, the problem still holds: those non-native English speakers that don't get through the barrier of a language exam are cut off from a possible brilliant career on the grounds of something that may have nothing to do with English.

    As for geniuses having no problem in learning English, this may be true, but we are talking about brilliant people here, not the very restricted nuber of geniuses (whatever that means); and it is well known that especially for non-indoeuropean speakers it is rather difficult to learn English. It is a well known fact, for example, that Japanese and Chinese students have a very poor proficiency in English. Those who finally learn good enough English are the lucky or rich ones who can afford to go and study the language in an English-speaking country.
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    • Apr 3 2011: Firstly, I do agree that language does not cover all skills like mathematic skills, yet we'd have to admit that it is indispensable. Secondly, there is good reason for people with brilliant language ablility to take the test, or as you said, to set the barrier for them. Since we have no menas to know anything about their language skills in the first place, some kind of test seems reasonable under this circumanstance. However, the solution you suggest that language should be required as a curriculum rather than a mandatory test of admission seems plausible to me. You can see the Japanese have done it well by not requiring Janpanese certification during admission, which welcomed by lots of students who wants to study in Japan.