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Posts Tagged ‘listening first and then speaking’

FOUR STAGES IN LANGUAGE LEARNING

Four Stages in Language Learning

Majid Wajdi

Listening first then Speaking

When we are going to study English for the first time, from the beginning, what should we do? Principally when someone wants to study any languages, whether it is English, Indonesian, Japanese etc. the most important step to do is listening. Most of us are familiar with four steps in language learning. If you never hear someone else, whether they are native speakers or non-native ones, speaks the language your studying, it will be uneasy for you to measure the mastery of the language you are learning. Here I would like to underline that the most important thing to do in studying any languages is ‘listening’. The question is why listening. When you were under five years old, you practised listening activity, in learning your first language. Here I would like to differ between first language and mother tongue. If your parents speak Balinese (the language of Bali) and they speak Balinese to you and you are able to speak it, it means your mother tongue is Balinese. On the other hand, we can also say that your first language as well as your mother tongue is Balinese. If your parents speak Balinese in their daily life, but speak Indonesian to you every day (and you cannot speak Balinese, you only speak Indonesian), it means that your first language is Indonesian (Indonesian language), and we cannot say that your mother tongue is Indonesian. In my opinion, you do not have any mother tongue. You only have first language.

When you were under five years old, the way you learn your first language was through listening. At that time, you just maximize your ability to listen, to pay attention to others when they were speaking. You listened to your mom, your dad, your uncle, your aunt, your elder brother, your elder sister, your neighbours, and others. You imitated every word they uttered. Here, you practised speaking the language you were going to master. You tried to speak or uttered a certain word around you. Although, first, you speak or pronounce wrongly, but you keep trying again and again. When under five years old, or under three years old, you had been unable to read yet either write. Your ability to communicate is through listening and speaking. You listened first and then you speak by uttering one or two words. When you said ‘cucu’, it meant that you needed some milk you are thirsty. When you said ‘mimik’, it meant that you were thirsty and you want some drink.

You grew up as  a good child when you were under five. Your curiosity to learn was undeniable. You became a faster learner. You learned your first language or your new language well. Every one loved you, because you were nice enough before them. They loved the way you speak. They loved the way you uttered a new word. Because you had not been able to write yet, you never tried to memorize a new word by writing it. Your ability to take a note was not dug up. You just memorized every words you heard and you used them every day. You directly practised your new words every time you had an opportunity to do so. The way you learned your first language is through listening and practising, in this case, speaking.

A friend of mine told me that his wife did not know English. Although she had studied English more than twelve years, but she never practised it. She was un able to speak English. A lucky opportunity was on her. Her husband went to America to study there. He and his wife lived for five years. Every day, she heard every body spoke English. She had not had an opportunity to listen to Indonesian or Balinese word. English was the main menu she had every day, during five years. What a surprise, she finally was able to speak English. She was finally able to speak English, because she listened English every day. Listening is one of the most aspects in learning a new language.

When I was at senior high school in Purworejo, Central Java, one of my neighbours (read my uncle’s neighbours) had a nice experience. He was a contracted teacher in Malaysia in 1969 to 1979. He and his family lived there and he taught there for ten years. His two sons became good at English. Why? Because they only heard and listened to English during their living in Malaysia. When they went back to Indonesia, they were seen their ability to use their English. Of course, they became ‘stars of English’ in their Indonesian classroom.

What is the conclusion? If you study a certain language (it can be English or other language), you will  have to listen to the new word of the language you are studying. Listen to your teacher when speaking. Listen to your classmates when uttering a certain word, a certain sentences etc and try to imitate them. Listen and practise speaking the language you are studying. If not, it means that you are a passive learner not an active one. LISTENING and SPEAKING have became two  in one activity. Try and try to practise listening and speaking every day.

FOUR STAGES IN LANGUAGE LEARNING

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