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September 18, 2020 02:00:00 |  Mufti Jameel Farooq

On language acquisition

Some good weeks ago, a friend-cum-class fellow, had written an article regarding languages and its usage, in RK entitled, ‘Speak Up’. The author of that article had touched some delicate and diligent points of language acquisition; especially of second language acquisition. The writer, of the said article, had linguistically tried to make people aware about psychometric issues which the learner of second language undergoes. Although, the writer seemed very much convinced by the theories and hypothesis which exist in the purview of linguistics or have been promulgated by the linguist?

The author, besides being convinced by the theories had cited many examples of worldly renowned personalities who were the victims of ‘glossophobia’ (stage-fright). The author, had stretched the term, ‘glossophobia’ by and large, and even had gone to the extent in discussing in detail the remedies and tonics to overcome such fears and frights.

But, the unpleasant truth is; language works differently! You might have come across a phrase, ‘Language is caught but not taught.” Means, a person has to indulge into that particular language which he wants to learn, otherwise, mere reading and increasing vocabulary won’t help at all. A person who wants to learn any particular language has to create that sort of atmosphere for himself where he can speak freely until he achieves some level of confidence; which is why it is said, by standing before the mirror and speaking loudly increases the confidence of a speaker to face the audience, further the learner of the second language has to listen and speak frequently that particular language which he wants to learn so that he becomes used to it. He has to meet those individuals and speak with them without obstruction; that he considers good speakers of that language. The learner of the second language (L2) must not shy away or be afraid of criticism, he has to have a firm conviction that language comes by and by, so by and by hehas to keep progressing; as rightly said,” Rome was not built a day.”

A month back, I came across a student enrolled in Delhi Public School, who stunned me and gave me goose bumps with her English language skills, her language was so sweet and polished that she would hardly feel short of words or would stammer while speaking in English. The girl had come to learn some lessons of her text book and a portion of grammar which was prescribed in her syllabus. Although, while teaching and dealing with vocab, the girl seemed almost cloudy and hazy, she in addition to the above difficulty appeared ill-informed about the ‘English Tenses’ and its usage, which thus ignited in me the curiosity of research.

Although, it is universally acknowledged fact and also proven by the linguists that any language for that matter, is an outcome of environment that plays a pivotal role in honing one’s language skills. Nonetheless, you may have come across different verities in a certain language community; let’s cite an example of Kashmiri- language, which has different verities. A person belonging to south-Kashmir speaks unalike a person from North-Kashmir, and people from centre-Kashmir have altogether different style of speaking Kashmiri language. Which means, the influence of language community will always remain with the person he belongs to, the pronunciation of the words, the accent, dialect and idiolect; they all will determine a person and his community.

Now, understanding the above communities profoundly, we can figure without any trouble how languages work? A speaker of any particular language is bestowed with LAD (language Acquisition Device) which according to Noam Chomsky is present in every human being. You might be stunned to figure out that the person who is dumb is also deaf- The fact being; the deaf becomes dumb because he is inept at listening/ hearing sounds. Listening, is the first and foremost component oflearning any language, be that L1 or L2.

It might have astounded you how a child at home at times uses different embellishments which make you dumbfounded besides forcing you to ponder upon the creativity of brain, but, in reality, it’s not the creativity of child with which interweaves different lexis, but, the power of listening.

That’s why the master of masters; Prophet Mohammad (SAW) would lay stress upon the right usage of lexis, because the child listens considerately the words and actions of their elders; which thus comes in the form his speech and actions.

Now the question is how would one learn language?

There are some simple techniques which can help a person to learn the target-language, the first being, paying less emphasis on syntax of that language, increasing lexis besides learning its usage. The speaker of the target language should try to learn that language like mother tongue while creating an atmosphere for himself; by watching movies, plays and reading novels.

Reading novels may sound outlandish but, the fact being, novels carry the day-to-day usage, which would certainly help in snow balling the lexis and playing with the words.

To deduce, the learner of target language should not be afraid of people or criticism, rather, he should pull his socks up and be bold and speak at liberty whenever he finds chance to speak until he achieves some command over it, as practice makes a man perfect and rest is rust!

mufti.jameel97@gmail.com

 

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September 18, 2020 02:00:00 |  Mufti Jameel Farooq

On language acquisition

              

Some good weeks ago, a friend-cum-class fellow, had written an article regarding languages and its usage, in RK entitled, ‘Speak Up’. The author of that article had touched some delicate and diligent points of language acquisition; especially of second language acquisition. The writer, of the said article, had linguistically tried to make people aware about psychometric issues which the learner of second language undergoes. Although, the writer seemed very much convinced by the theories and hypothesis which exist in the purview of linguistics or have been promulgated by the linguist?

The author, besides being convinced by the theories had cited many examples of worldly renowned personalities who were the victims of ‘glossophobia’ (stage-fright). The author, had stretched the term, ‘glossophobia’ by and large, and even had gone to the extent in discussing in detail the remedies and tonics to overcome such fears and frights.

But, the unpleasant truth is; language works differently! You might have come across a phrase, ‘Language is caught but not taught.” Means, a person has to indulge into that particular language which he wants to learn, otherwise, mere reading and increasing vocabulary won’t help at all. A person who wants to learn any particular language has to create that sort of atmosphere for himself where he can speak freely until he achieves some level of confidence; which is why it is said, by standing before the mirror and speaking loudly increases the confidence of a speaker to face the audience, further the learner of the second language has to listen and speak frequently that particular language which he wants to learn so that he becomes used to it. He has to meet those individuals and speak with them without obstruction; that he considers good speakers of that language. The learner of the second language (L2) must not shy away or be afraid of criticism, he has to have a firm conviction that language comes by and by, so by and by hehas to keep progressing; as rightly said,” Rome was not built a day.”

A month back, I came across a student enrolled in Delhi Public School, who stunned me and gave me goose bumps with her English language skills, her language was so sweet and polished that she would hardly feel short of words or would stammer while speaking in English. The girl had come to learn some lessons of her text book and a portion of grammar which was prescribed in her syllabus. Although, while teaching and dealing with vocab, the girl seemed almost cloudy and hazy, she in addition to the above difficulty appeared ill-informed about the ‘English Tenses’ and its usage, which thus ignited in me the curiosity of research.

Although, it is universally acknowledged fact and also proven by the linguists that any language for that matter, is an outcome of environment that plays a pivotal role in honing one’s language skills. Nonetheless, you may have come across different verities in a certain language community; let’s cite an example of Kashmiri- language, which has different verities. A person belonging to south-Kashmir speaks unalike a person from North-Kashmir, and people from centre-Kashmir have altogether different style of speaking Kashmiri language. Which means, the influence of language community will always remain with the person he belongs to, the pronunciation of the words, the accent, dialect and idiolect; they all will determine a person and his community.

Now, understanding the above communities profoundly, we can figure without any trouble how languages work? A speaker of any particular language is bestowed with LAD (language Acquisition Device) which according to Noam Chomsky is present in every human being. You might be stunned to figure out that the person who is dumb is also deaf- The fact being; the deaf becomes dumb because he is inept at listening/ hearing sounds. Listening, is the first and foremost component oflearning any language, be that L1 or L2.

It might have astounded you how a child at home at times uses different embellishments which make you dumbfounded besides forcing you to ponder upon the creativity of brain, but, in reality, it’s not the creativity of child with which interweaves different lexis, but, the power of listening.

That’s why the master of masters; Prophet Mohammad (SAW) would lay stress upon the right usage of lexis, because the child listens considerately the words and actions of their elders; which thus comes in the form his speech and actions.

Now the question is how would one learn language?

There are some simple techniques which can help a person to learn the target-language, the first being, paying less emphasis on syntax of that language, increasing lexis besides learning its usage. The speaker of the target language should try to learn that language like mother tongue while creating an atmosphere for himself; by watching movies, plays and reading novels.

Reading novels may sound outlandish but, the fact being, novels carry the day-to-day usage, which would certainly help in snow balling the lexis and playing with the words.

To deduce, the learner of target language should not be afraid of people or criticism, rather, he should pull his socks up and be bold and speak at liberty whenever he finds chance to speak until he achieves some command over it, as practice makes a man perfect and rest is rust!

mufti.jameel97@gmail.com