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June 23, 2011 / owbEe

Learning a Language

I was looking through some Tagalog site when I chanced upon a short essay about learning a language. The essay is about the qualities of a good and bad language learner. The essay is written in Tagalog/Filipino.

Ang Pag-aaral ng Isang Wika

Ang pag-aaral ng isang wika ay madali sa ilang tao at napakahirap sa iba.  Sino ang nahihirapan at sino ang nadadalian?

Ang nahihirapan ay mga taong mahiyain at mahina ang loob.  Ayaw nilang magbukas ng bibig dahil natatakot magkamali.  Ayaw nilang mapintasan ang maling pagbigkas o maling pagsasamasama ng salita.  Hindi sila magsasalita hangga’t sa palagay nila ay tamang-tama na ang sasabihin nila.

Ang nadadalian ay ang hindi nahihiyang magkamali.  Kahi’t balu-baluktot, pinipilit nilang magsalita.  Malakas ang kanilang loob.

Madali ring matuto ang mga taong mahilig makipagkaibigan.  Dahil gusto nilang makipagkaibigan sa mga mamamayan ng bayang kanilang binibisita, nagsasalita sila sa salitang banyaga.  Kahit a la “ako Tarzan, ikaw Jane.”

Anong uri ng mag-aaral kayo?

Here’s my rough translation in English:

Learning a Language

Learning a language is easy for some people and difficult for others. Who is having difficulty and who is at ease?

Those who find difficulties are those who are timid and faint-hearted. They refuse to open their mouths for fear of making mistakes. They don’t want their wrong pronunciation or wrong construction of words criticized. They will not speak unless they are sure that what they are about to say are completely right.

Those who find it easy are not ashamed of making mistakes. Though [their words are] crooked, they strive to speak. They are strong-willed.

Those who like making friends also learn easily. Because they want to make friends with people from the country they are visiting, they speak using a foreign language. Even if they sound “I Tarzan, you Jane.”

What kind of student are you?

This essay struck me for it clearly pointed out what type of language learner I am. It also used the right words to describe me as a person. I have always been this way even while I was learning English. I remember when our teacher would ask us to give sample sentences, most of my classmates would raise their hands and give out short simple sentences. I, on the other hand, would think of a longer one but would later dismiss it, thinking that it’s full of errors. I know this type of attitude would surely bring me nowhere but I continue to have this kind of thinking. 😦

As of the moment, I’m trying my best to change. This change may not be seen in my Korean learning as of yet but I noticed that in some way I’m improving my English speaking skills. I noticed that I’m not stuttering that much at work now. I try to converse more in English even with my Filipino co-workers. I also try not to mentally correct myself when I speak in English for it distracts me more. Having confidence in myself is a plus too. (Do I even have to mention that? :lol:)

Let me ask you this before I go, what kind of language learner are you?



Leave a Comment
  1. john tugano / Jun 28 2011 10:05 pm

    I find English language easy since I started to learn the basic at an early age.I think there’s no one who can say,speak or even write in this language perfectly without errors on it that even those English speaking countries also commit mistakes.Its just a matter of practice or I mean correct practice that we learn to overcome our mistakes especially in grammar.Being confident also helps though our words are crooked still we need to blurt it for us to develop..
    I think I;m also like you..taking learnings slowly but surely..

    • owbEe / Jun 28 2011 10:26 pm

      Hi John. Are you a Filipino too? Yeah, I agree. I’ve also been exposed to English at an early age and English has been in our televisions, books, radios, etc. I do agree that proper practice makes us improve our skills.

      Anyway, thanks for leaving a comment. 😀

  2. john tugano / Jun 28 2011 10:47 pm

    Yes I am..Pinoy na Pinoy..

  3. meloncreme / Jul 15 2011 8:45 am

    Hello! New reader her. I found a link of your blog from Shanna’s site.

    Wow! Reading the short essay made me feel inferior of myself. I don’t participate much in class as much as my classmates do. I’m shy and I stutter whenever I recite something in front of the class. Whenever I want to recite in class and say the sentence I created, fear stops me from doing so. I’m afraid I might say a sentence which is not grammatically correct and get ridiculed for it. I’m trying to get rid of this attitude now that I’m learning Korean.

    • owbEe / Jul 17 2011 12:26 am

      Hi nice to meet you meloncreme. 😀

      I do understand how you feel. I feel ashamed of myself too. I know I’m not in the position to tell you to keep on studying or to not keep your hopes down for I myself don’t follow the same advice. Anyway, good luck in your journey learning Korean. It’s nice to meet a new Korean learner.

      By the way, I checked your blog. Will be visiting your blog often. See you around! 🙂

  4. Aneta / Jul 17 2011 5:12 am

    The whole essays highlights a lot of important factor of a good and bad language learner. The whole I-don’t-want-to-sound-as-a-stupid-person-so-I-won’t-say-and-write-anything is a major problem for a lot of us. Not only language learners, it happens in all the aspects of life. The sooner we let ourselves make mistakes while learning a language, the faster we will actually learn it. At least I think so :>

    I’m glad to hear that you’re becoming more confident with your English! ^^

    P.S. “Even if they sound “I Tarzan, you Jane.”” I was laughing so hard during this part.

    • owbEe / Jul 17 2011 7:35 pm

      I think it depends on the learner. I really don’t like committing mistakes especially with the basics so I guess that’s the reason why I’m not progressing much. I try to make simple sentences but I keep it to myself so I don’t receive any comments on how to improve myself. I know my problem but I still keep on doing it. :/

      Yes, I’m trying to converse more in English at work. It’s not that I can use any other language but I try to make myself understood well. Most of the time I use short simple sentences but it doesn’t matter at least I get my point across. 😀

      About the “I Tarzan, you Jane” line, we have this movie in the Philippines that uses that way of speaking so it’s pretty common. ㅋㅋㅋ

  5. Cariad_82 / Jul 17 2011 1:07 pm

    As I read your translation of the essay I realized that I might have a crazy mind.
    you might ask yourself now “why does she say that?” But the answer comes right away.
    I started learning English the same way you did. I was shy about what I was trying to say and rather said nothing than something wrong. But that all changed after I visited relatives in the U.S.. Though I have to say it was really helpful that my cousin there does not understand German (my native language). So I had to speak English. And after that experience I stopped being afraid of using a language I am learning.
    And now I am sometimes just blurting out things. And though it might be embarrassing sometimes most reactions I got were positive and the opposite started a conversation. When I didn’t understand what was said I just said so and it was repeated in German or English.

    • owbEe / Jul 17 2011 7:41 pm

      I’m getting exposed to English that way too. I have a very good understanding of English and I can also construct sentences but I don’t have much confidence in speaking the language.

      Like you, I also get positive reactions from native English speakers. They often say that I don’t have the strong Filipino accent at all, which makes me really happy. I’m really trying my best to sound like them though there are times that I fail.

      Yeah, I do ask them to repeat what they say especially if I didn’t catch something. I don’t want them to think I’m stupid to just keep on saying yes when yes is not the appropriate answer.

  6. koreanwannabeako / Aug 23 2011 5:43 am

    Nice post! Just like others here, I’m always afraid expressing myself using different language because I’m afraid others will laugh at me. I want to change my attitude since I’m studying Korean now. Thanks for this post! ^^

    • owbEe / Aug 24 2011 12:15 am

      I guess everyone has that kind of inferiority. We just don’t trust ourselves that much. I can give good advices but I just don’t seem to be a good follower just a listener. 😀

      You’re welcome. I hope this post will motivate us. 아자 아자! 화이팅!

  7. alodia / Dec 19 2011 12:44 am

    Although I’m a # 1 (afraid), I’m also # 3 (love making friends from different countries). So that balances it out? ㅋㅋㅋ Nice essay though. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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