My name is Aybuke. I am from Turkey where Turkish
language is spoken. This language is my native language, and I did not spend
time to learn this language, I acquired it unconsciously.
Now I would like to write about the English language, how I started learning the
language, and the results of this learning.
I started learning English when I was eleven years
old. When we consider by today’s standards, it is late. Because today’s young
English learners start learning the language in their very young ages. While I
was learning English language, at the beginning, only grammatical rules and
vocabulary were given to us in order to teach basic rules of this language. During
the following ten years, it continued in
the same way. But I think it should have been learned with skills other than
grammar, and vocabulary. Because those were all based on memorizing, and they could
not help to learn the language profoundly. So, my family and I realized that
local schools did not teach English effectively. Since I wanted to improve my
English, and I started to take private English lessons when I was sixteen years
old. After both learned and studied grammar during years at school and spent
extra time to study for it on my own, my grammar skill was quite sufficient.
Because of that, my private lessons were based on four skills – reading,
writing, listening and speaking. At the same time, I started to learn German
language at school. I thought that English and German language’s grammar rules
and sentence structures are quite similar to each other. Therefore, I learned the
German language by finding and matching common rules and words in both languages.
There are several language levels are used: six main levels introduced in
Chapter 3: A1 (Breakthrough), A2 (Waystage), B1 (Threshold), B2 (Vantage), C1
(Effective Operational Proficiency) and C2 (Mastery). (Lightbown & Spada, 2001).
Lightbown and Spada states that A1 and A2 levels are considered as basic user,
B1 and B2 levels are independent, C1 and C2 levels are proficient user (2001).
According to this, in my high school years, my English language level was B1 (independent)
and as an independent user, I could understand the main points of daily routines
and could deal with travelling in an area where the English language is spoken.
Moreover, I could produce simple talks on topics which are familiar for me and describe
experiences and events and opinions about them (para.6) On the other hand, my
German language level was A2 (basic) and as a basic user, I could understand
sentences in basic conversation about daily life and could communicate in
simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information
on familiar and routine matters (para.7). When I realized that English and
German language have a lot of common rules and structures, I decided to take
private lessons for German to improve my both language equally. But at the
university, since I focus on English language by choosing ‘English Language
Teaching’ department, I cannot pay enough attention to German language right
Next, I would like to share how I have been learning
English and several effective methods to learn English from my point of view.
Consistence is the most important
thing to learn a new language. During my language learning process, I have
always tried not to lose my self-consistency. Without exaggeration, I have
studied consistently. Because studying for thirty minutes every day, and regularly
is more effective than studying two hours once a week.
People who want
to learn English should be sure to study several areas of English language rather
than focusing on just one topic. If they want to
become fluent in English and learn it profoundly, they should try to learn
English without not focusing on the grammar. I have studied every English skills. For example, firstly a
little grammar, then do a short listening exercise, and read an article and write
something on different topics. The people do not have to spend too much time,
twenty or thirty minutes on different types of exercises are enough.
Everyone should use different
learning methods when they learn English language, and they should not use one way to study English.
Using a variety of methods which will help all the parts of their brain.
Because we all have different best learning ways, we cannot learn English with the
same methods, it might lead to getting boring, consequently ineffective.
Reading about multiple intelligences helps them to learn which methods or
techniques is effective for their learning way. I have visual intelligence, and
the best way to learn is that visualize everything for me. For example, I learn
vocabulary by writing them in different colors, and memorize them color by
color. The people also can activate the creative side of their brain by trying
to describe a photo or other image.
What is a language for if not to communicate? Making
English-speaking friends is really useful for learning English. Because
speaking English conversationally is a great way to get confidence, and people
can pick up new words and phrases. What’s more, the people can learn colloquial language which
language books do not tend to teach them But if they do not have any English
speaker around them, they can meet and text with their friends on the internet.
It is simpler, quicker and certainly cheaper. While real-life English-speaking
friends help in developing their conversational English skills, corresponding
with email will help develop their writing skill in English. Therefore, the
people will get practice both in writing and reading skills when they receive
their friends’ response.
should figure out what motivates them. Because If they want to learn
English language effectively, they need to find what their motivation is.
Why do they want to learn English so much? Maybe they want to improve their
current learning, get a better job, attend university, or enjoy their life
in an English speaking country. They should find what motivates them, so they
can use it as encouragement as they learn the language.
In conclusion, by using above mentioned methods I
have improved my English. I found them very interesting and effective way to
learn English. However, these methods were based on my educational and cultural
backgrounds. From my English learning experience, I realized that huge effort
and consistency have great impact on the process.
Bilingualism is commonly defined as the use of two languages by an
individual. It is a term for children and adults who have a proficiency in two
languages (ASHA, 2004). Bilingualism is common and it is on the rise in many
parts of the world. Moreover, one in three people being bilingual or
multilingual (Wei, 2000).
It is estimated that there are more second language speakers of English
than native speakers (Genesee, 2009), and there are as many bilingual children
as there are monolingual children (Paradis, Genesee, & Crago, 2011). It
means that many children are being raised as bilinguals. Sometimes bilingualism is required for them, because the children’s
parents may not speak a dominant language fluently. The dominant language is the language that is the someone’s
strongest language, and people feel more comfortable when they are speaking,
reading, and writing in that language. Therefore, the child may learn
one language at home and he/she can learn another at school. But sometimes
bilingualism is a preference. Because parents may want to expose their children
to another language, even if they do not know and speak a second language.
Children usually learn to be bilingual by hearing
and speaking two languages. Children might hear one or more languages at home,
or they may learn only one language at school, or they may hear more than one
language at home. Any of these environments will provide children an
opportunity to learn two languages. Additionally, it is important that families
should use the language or languages which are most comfortable for children to
communicate with one another. Providing that children have many opportunities
to hear and speak both languages in everyday situations, they will learn both
acquisition can take place in one of two main ways:
Firstly, simultaneous acquisition occurs
when a child is raised bilingually from birth, or when a second language is
introduced before the age of three (Paradis, Genesee
& Crago, 2011). Children who are learning two languages
simultaneously get through the same developmental stages as children who are learning
one language. While bilingual children may start talking relatively later than
monolingual children, they still begin talking within the normal range (Meisel,
2004). From the very beginning of language learning, simultaneous bilinguals
seem to acquire two separate languages (Paradis, Genesee
& Crago, 2011). Moreover, they can differentiate their two
languages, and switch languages according to their conversation partner (e.g.
speak French to a French-speaking parent, then switch to English with an
English-speaking parent) (Genesee & Nicoladis, 2006).
Secondly, sequential acquisition occurs
when a second language is introduced after the first language is acquired well. The sequential acquisition may
be experienced if children immigrate to another country where a language is
spoken rather than their own language. The sequential acquisition may also occur if
the children solely speak their native language at home until they begin
school, where they see any other language for the first time.
The core difference between these two types of bilingual language acquisition is that
simultaneous bilingualism refers to
acquire two or more languages at the same time, and sequential bilingualism
refers to acquire one language and then subsequently acquire another one.
When bilingual children use both languages in the same sentence or
conversation, it is known as code-switching (Paradis, Genesee & Crago,
2011). Parents sometimes worry about this mixing, since they think that this is
a sign of language delay or confusion. However,
code mixing is a natural part of bilingualism (Goldstein & Kohnert, 2005) Moreover,
it is important to understand that code-switching reflects that bilinguals
often know certain words better in one language than in the other. Many researchers
think that code mixing is a sign of bilingual proficiency. For example,
bilingual children adjust the amount of code-mixing they use to match that of a
new conversational partner (Genesee,
2009). It has also been suggested that children code-mix when they know a word
in one language but not the other (Genesee & Nicoladis,2006). Furthermore,
sometimes code-mixing is used to emphasize something, express feelings and
ideas, or to stress on what someone else said in the other language. Therefore,
code-mixing is natural, and should be expected in bilingual children.
It is believed that there are many cognitive benefits of being bilingual.
For example, the ability of children with two languages gives rise to control
over problems. Therefore, the problem solving process is different from others
used previously at a young age by children who have only one language.
Furthermore, the interference between the two languages causes the child to
develop strategies which accelerate linguistic, and cognitive development.
Finally, I will show my own bilingual profile.
Bilingual profile based on proficiency, function, alternation, and interference
In conclusion, bilingualism is in all parts of the world, at all levels of society, in
all age groups. In general, people become
bilingual because life can require the use of two or more languages. This can
be due to immigration, education, or marriage with someone from another
country. Especially, bilingualism is so common among children,
and early years forms a critical stage in children’s language development. For
children, learning two languages at the same time in their early childhood is
called simultaneous bilingual. On the other hand, sequential bilingual refers learning
one language later than the other as a result of living in a new country or
formally learning a second language at school. Therefore,
in order to support young children to learn in the most effective ways, and to
achieve the highest possible results in English, we should provide varied and continued
opportunities for using home languages across the early years phase and
into primary and secondary schools.
An international language refers to a language in
widespread use as a foreign language or second language (Richards et al.,1992,
the years, the English language has reached a status of the international
language, and has played an important role around the world for economic,
education, scientific and entertainment exchange between nations and
particularly between people, and commonly is characterized as a lingua franca.
According to Crystal (1997), today, more people use English than has used any
other language in the history of the world. Additionally, almost 380 million people
have English as a first language, but more than a billion people use it as a
second language. Even if people from different backgrounds such as cultural and
linguistic meet, they need to communicate using a particular language as the lingua
franca. English is now a world lingua franca used by people in almost every
part of the world. Graddol (2006) states that
The English language finds itself at the center of
the paradoxes which arise from
globalization. It provides the lingua franca
essential to the deepening integration of
global service-based economies. It facilitates
transnational encounters and allows
nations, institutions, and individuals in any part
of the world, to communicate their
world view and identities. Yet it is also the
national language of some of the most
free market economies driving economic globalization,
and is often seen as representing
particular cultural, economic, and even religious
There are many reasons of why English is an
international language. One of the major reasons is that because Britain is the
leading industrial and trading country by the beginning of the nineteenth
century, English was the language of the leading economic power in the world.
Additionally, there are major reasons for the initial spread of
English such as colonialism, speaker migration, and new technology contributes
to making English an international language (McKay,2002, p.16). Moreover,
it is also used in new communication technologies such as the telegraph and telephone
which used in international politics, international industry, and business. It
is also used in mass media, such as newspaper and radio, which used in
technology and science and in education areas. Therefore, the most important
factor in the spread of English is that it has been in the right place at the
Throughout the history of English
experts have proposed many models to try to classify English speakers.
Especially, Kachru’s model proposed in four decades ago. Kachru (1986)
identified three circles of English using nations. Firstly, he used the term
“Inner Circle”(IC) to refer to countries where English is used as the primary
language, such as in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and
Canada. Secondly, he used “Outer Circle”(OC) to refer to countries where
English is used as a second language such as India and Singapore. The last one
is the “Expanding Circle” (EC), which is reserved for countries which English
is learned as a foreign language such as in China, Japan, Korea, and Egypt. Kachru’s model is valid in the sense of
earlier history and politics, the dynamic progress of English in the world, and
the roles and standards in current global interactions. (Kachru, et al. 1996,
but not least, there are many positive and negative aspects of English as an
international language. Firstly, no doubt that English has reached the top position in
the language hierarchy. For example, most of the scientific, technological, and academic production in the world
today is performed in English. Moreover, thanks to using English people communicate with others
in almost all countries all over the world. The
ability to speak English as the world’s lingua franca creates opportunities to
find jobs, to travel and to entertain for people that have not available for
those opportunities. Additionally, learning the English language gives an easy,
and direct access to the various fields of a very rich culture: literature, the
arts, the sciences, the humanities.
Besides the positive aspects of it,
there are also negative aspects of English as an international language.
Especially, the main concerns about the negative impact of English are closely
related to the threat to other languages and/or minority language endangerment
(Crystal, 2003). Language is a part of every
culture, and upgrading English as the global lingua franca causes fear
of loss of the cultural and social values of nations. If everyone speaks only one language, the other languages will disappear
by degrees. Then, there would be no cultural diversity. Furthermore, the
global dominance of English in domains such as internet, advertisements,
commercials, music, and film leads to excessive use of English.
In conclusion, English is evidently
regarded as an international language because of its large number of native speakers,
being one of the five most widely spoken mother tongues in the world today.
Additionally, the position of English ,as
a lingua franca, is undeniable, and it
is believed to open doors that local languages do not. Moreover,
English is growing as a strong
language day by day, and its future seems bright.