Sunday, 29 March 2009

Tips on learning foreign languages

Tips Belajar Bahasa Asing is my article written as a reaction to another article "Percaya Diri Menulis Dalam Bahasa Inggris Walau Dengan Kemampuan Pas-pasan". Learning foreign languages sometimes seems very difficult for non native speaker. Sometimes it also made people afraid of trying to write their news in English. A contributor for wikimu wrote his idea to increase one's self confidence in writing an English article by using google translator. Perhaps that would help boosting the self confidence, but we should try to improve the quality of language. Sometimes using google translator would not give us the translated version as it should be. It would be better to try writing using our own words, and asking the help of trusted online dictionary if needed.

For a passive user of a language who has a lot of vocabulary in his/her own self dictionary, it would be easy to track the misleading translation. Yet, for a real newbie...it will be very difficult to know if the translation has a new meaning or misleading intention.

That is why I do need my cyber friends to read some of my "very serious" article before uploading it to OhmyNews. I've learnt from experiences that editor can have misinterpretation as they are not familiar with the real situation. Or, the different way of West and East perspectives on a certain matter can also influence the output of a reading process.

I wrote some tips that I've learnt from my language teachers, from school and from courses, on how to study foreign languages and gain a better result. PPIA/LIA, IPPM, and PPB-UI are places where I gained knowledge for my English language. The Indonesian Heritage Society is the place to practice using it. Centre Culturel Fran├žais(CCF) contributed a very significant input for my process of learning foreign languages. Perhaps I'm not an active speaker of French language right now, but the way they presented the French language to me was very attractive...and it helps me to understand how to teach foreign language in an interesting and attractive way. Their art and cultures presentation, including Indonesian art and cultures, were really enriching my life...

The 4 tips are:
1. Learning in a happy situation will be more rewarding, our brains will absorb more knowledge...so you can try music, or film to enhance your knowledge. It's how Sesame Street gained its smart students. It works for children, it would be working for us too.

2. Use the best teacher, it means that we do need a good dictionary and good books for enriching our language knowledge. (I do prefer using Longman books for teaching as they have lots of books, each series have their own level of price...we can choose which one is suitable to our pocket and functional enough to fulfill our needs).

3. Try to think in that language. This is something I've got from CCF, as I used to translate French into English, while at the same time translating the English word into Bahasa Indonesia. It was complicated...A teacher from CCF asked me to use French to French dictionary, it would help us to think in the language itself. Now I do prefer English-English dictionary, or French-French dictionary, yet in doing a translation sometimes I do need the bilingual dictionary...deadline sometimes make me forgetful of the word I should use in my own language.

4. The last but the most important tip is to keep practising. I become a passive user of French lately as I did not keep practising the language. Studying the language is one thing, but using it from time to time is more important to gain fluency in using the language.

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