And I do agree, the price is very high. Not all students can afford to take such a test. The same situation is with German language test (TestDaF). It costs a fortune and is also valid only for 2 years.
Because we need some 'standardised' tests to assess the level of proficiency. I could bring a certificate from some Ukrainian university nobody has heard of, and the committee / employer may doubt if this certificate is actually reliable. In the case of IELTS / TOEFL /FCE etc., they are all standardised so it is easier to judge the level of the speaker without organising a special placement test on site.
That's a very interesting topic to discuss! I'd rather leave such tribes alone, and preserve their uniqueness. It would be very difficult to include them into a globalised world without destroying their culture and language.
Not being able to express myself in a real conversation with the natives. After all years of German language learning I still feel lost and embarassed at times when I can't find the right words to say what I have on my mind.
Apart from pragmatic reasons of learning the language, one should also think about which language is more appealing to their soul :) I know many people who don't like German for it's grammar and 'harsch' pronunciation, and vice versa - people who can't stand French for it's orthography and phonetics. I believe it's much easier to learn the language if you actually like it :)
In Ukraine (like in many other Eastern-European countries where Orthodox Church is common) we celebrate Christmas on 6/7th of January. In fact, it is rather celebrated by people who attend Church on a regular basis and generally believe in God. However, many people would greet one another with 'Merry Christmas' or more traditionally - 'Jesus Christ is born', and the answer would be 'May he be blessed' (not exact translation, admittedly).
If a native speaker is a well-educated person and has preferably some experience in learning foreign languages himself, then yes, certainly! If not, this native speaker would be very cool to practice speaking with, but regarding grammar he or she may not be such a reliable source of information.
There was also some research conducted in the field of neurolinguistics about the impact of language learning on the aging of the brain. Also multilingualism did not completely eliminated dementia, but in many cases it did postpone the onset of symptoms and made them less acute.
So you do believe that any term or word can be translated with sufficient precision? And what about some cultural/other phenomena that do not exist in other cultures? What do you think about the notion of linguistic lacoons?
I believe it is quite okay to make a decent level of the English language a requirement for university studies. Such tests have been introduced in Ukraine for some Bachelor, and for all Master majors.
I believe this way students have opportunity to access state-of-the-art research results in their field, which are often published in English. They can broaden their understanding of theoretical and applied aspects of the studies if they are able to read and comprehend scientific publications from overseas.
A friend of mine has this theory, that in order to make something a habit or attain a large goal, one should do a tiny little bit of that activity but every single day. That relates also to language learning. She is trying to read a couple of books in the English language, and in order not to lose motivation, she sets a minimum goal of one page per day. One page seems to be nothing, that's why it is easier to complete this task and tick it on the to-do list.
However, having read one page, you sort of break through the wall of laziness, and you read further and further. I believe this is a very helpful method to build a language learning routine.
I think such approach may be very useful when one has already learned a foreign language. In this case the person can consider the factors which might be beneficial for the learning process. Besides, having more metalinguistic awareness enables a learner to better structure the learning process and foresee feasible outcomes.
At one of our classes it was suggested that 'y'all' should become more dominant in the English language, as it provides some variation of forms. Because in standard English there is no formal distinction between 'you' as a second person singular, or 'you' as a second person plural.
I give some English classes via Skype, and such lessons differ immensely from 'normal' ones. I am currently working with two teenagers (11 and 15), and preparation for such classes takes a bit more time.
We do the same things that we used to do when we could meet face-to-face: reading texts, lots of speaking, watching videos and discussing them etc. Regarding the writing skills, I give some short essays as homework, and they ought to send me a word file / scan of their work.
I do believe that grammar is as essential as any other language competence. Even at the very beginning. Admittedly, one should work on basic structures and master the first grammar rules alongside with extending vocabulary and practicing listening and writing skills. But I think avoiding grammar till intermediate level might lead to dismal consequences.
I agree, if language learning is coupled with your favourite hobby, you have much more motivation to learn more. The same may also count for reading subject-specific magazines, like Cosmopolitan or The Economist (or something related to sports/ science/ cooking etc). This way, it won't be boring to read such articles in a foreign language if a person is very interested in the topic itself.
There is also an extremely interesting research on the Piraha language. It is spoken by some tribe in Amazon region. The thing is, they don't have any numerals in the language. If they need to characterize quantities, they may say 'many' or 'few', but they wouldn't be able to tell you an exact number of items/persons. This means that quantities are not of great importance in their culture.
Therefore, I strongly believe that the language we speak may shape our perception of the world.
I agree with the argument that such language acquisition might be sufficient, depending on the goal the speaker is attaining. If it is a simple communication – it would be more than enough.
On the other hand, one may still make mistakes because there are many homophones in a language. I believe it is quite difficult to learn the structure and grammatical rules of the language just by listening to it. Besides, when one decides to acquire writing skills, it might be quite challenging at the beginning.
Do you think, one can acquire a proper C1-C2 level of competences this way?
If there is a chance to attend a language course in the foreign country, I wouldn`t think twice about it
It often happens so, however, that people go to the foreign country to learn/practice the language, but they get stuck within their bubble (e.g. chat only with the people from their own country) , which is not conducive to language learning. Another point, is if a person goes to the country to work there, and doesn`t have time to practice the language (say, they speak English in the office).
I believe it doesn`t make much sense to go to the foreign country with a zero level of the language. It is a huge challenge in all regards. I would rather learn the basics on my own, and then go to the country of my dreams to deepen my knowledge. This way, one year spent in that country would be spent most efficiently.
I believe that it is next to impossible to completely forget a foreign language. The knowledge of vocabulary and grammar may become very passive, but if one decides to brush up on all those structures they have learned before, it will be quite easy for them. At least much easier than for those people who had never dealt with that language.
I believe watching cartoons/series with subtitles is an amazing thing at the beginning. One soaks up new vocabulary and develops listening skills. I used to watch Peppa Pig in German, when I started learning the language. At first I had to watch a video three times just to get an idea. But then it was going better and better :)
It can also depend on how related your mother tongue and the foreign language are. If for instance they belong to the same language family, like Polish and Russian, one may be very tempted to use similar constructions or words in their speech. Besides, being familiar with the structure of the language makes a person more confident in speaking :)
I have always been amused by foreigners speaking Russian with a very thick accent. Well, it was till the moment I actually realized that this is exactly how native English or German speakers perceive my speech.
Since then I have been working much harder on my pronunciation, and I aspire to reach the level of a pure acquired pronunciation :)
From my experience, the autocorect on the smartphone turned out quite useless. But when I try typing some small texts or essays on MS Word, it gives me a hint where I was wrong in terms of orthography, noun case or number etc. I believe, one could check spelling at least :)
That's a very interesting question! I also used to think about it a lot. The problem is, if a foreigner has a poor command of a language but tries to use some local slang, it may just sound ridiculous or inappropriate. On the other hand, if a person speaks the language fluently, makes relatively few mistakes, then using slang must be a good thing.
One should probably consider some aspects of slang: if it is offensive, if people still use it and in which contexts. And maybe first try to use it in a circle of native friends, who would only laugh at you kindly, if something went wrong :)
And that`s fascinating to see how people perceive your native language (in my case - Russian). But I don`t really imagine how to apply this into language learning. Does it make sense to train pronunciation without using real words of that language?
I believe practicing with someone is invaluable in learning foreign languages. Perhaps you could find non-native speakers to chat with. Obviously they might not correct your mistakes, but this could be a way to start. Besides, having some soulmates who support you in your struggling is a nice thing.
Watching movies/series has helped me a lot. On the one hand, your ear gets used to the real spoken language, and you train your listening skills. You are also able to extend your vocabulary, and observe how the natives actually speak. On the other hand, it is not too difficult and you can relax at the same time. Especially if these are the series for teenagers :) Those are extremely easy to grasp, but they are amazing for a start. For example, "Türkisch für Anfänger" in German, and "Muneca brava" in Spanish.
There are many heated discussions on this topic. Some scholars believe there is a phenomenon of "window of opportunity", which closes as soon as a child reaches puberty. This means that children acquire foreign languages as well as accents with utmost success until they turn 12. From that point on, the process of language learning becomes somewhat slower and more complicated.
On the other hand, it is also believed that children learn everything extremely quickly. They soak up knowledge related to their surroundings, so that may not be limited to languages.
When we learn a foreign language, we also acquire some cultural features of the folk. I believe in that sense there might be some subtle personality changes. On the other hand, many language-learners claim that they can express themselves differently in different languages. The same happens to me. For instance, when I speak Russian I tend to be more open-minded and confident, when I use Ukrainian I am rather charming and humorous; when I chat in English I am neutral etc. To me, every language shapes my personality in its own unique way.
I believe that when one learns a foreign language, they might see that there are some subtler ways to convey the meaning than in their mother tongue. Then a so-called code-switching takes place, i.e. using some words or phrases of the one language in the sentence in the other language. Such mixed speech is often deemed as a drawback of multilingualism, however, it shouldn`t be so frowned upon.
Regarding the empathy towards the English learners, I cannot think of it as a side effect. Some time ago I had little patience for foreigners, who tried to express themselves in poor Russian with a heavy accent. Now when I am in their shoes learning German, and speaking with a harsh Slavic accent, I admire them for their bravery, truly!