Thursday, April 1, 2010

Speaking the language one learns

As I was trilingually educated, I was taught three languages when I was in school. Mandarin is my mother tongue while English and Malay are the two extra languages which I learnt besides Mandarin.

I find that one has to speak the languages to be able to master the language. From my personal experience, I had a lot of chances speaking Mandarin but I was only able to speak English and Malay during language classes for both languages. Hence, I joined the English Literary and Debating Society and Malay Society to have more chances of speaking the languages. I used to take part in Elocution contests in English and Malay.

When I was with the English and Debating Society, I enjoy the impromptu Speech activities organised by the society. We were given a topic on the spot and were asked to speak after five minutes. It was through such sessions that one realised the need to have the appropriate vocabulary to express well.

After graduating from a teachers' college, I was posted to Pahang where I spoke the three languages daily. There was one Mandarin teacher who spoke Mandarin most of the time and I talked to him using this language. Most of the colleagues were Malays and I got the chance to speak to them in Malay. As for outstation teachers, they were mostly English-educated and I conversed with them in English. Besides, I was teaching Integrated Science in English and Malay at that time.

Hence I believe strongly that one has to speak the language one learns to be able to master it better.

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