Is it popular to learn English in your country?
English learning is common in China. English has been a compulsory subject in school for the last few decades, and if you take a stroll in major cities in China, you will find loads of English training institutions as well. I guess it’s because China is growing to be more and more global nowadays and Chinese people wish to connect with the world. Given that most foreigners don’t speak Chinese, then we just practice English to be able to communicate with the outside world. Apart from the communication needs, many people learn it for education, or business, or tourism as well.
What are the difficulties of learning a new language?
In my experience, I’d say it’s the lack of the language environment. For example, in China, many people have learned English for years and can read competently. But they can not have a proper conversation with a native English speaker because they simply never had the opportunity to practice it in real life. And the other challenge is the culture behind this language. A language is only superficial without the cultural background knowledge. Some people can use the language proficiently but they don’t seem to fit in with the native speakers. Well, so that’s what I see most challenging in gaining a foreign language.
What’s the best way to learn a new language?
I think you should mingle with the native speakers and dive into their culture for some time if you really want to master a foreign language. Like I said, language is only superficial without the cultural background. The most efficient way of gaining a language would be to hang out with people from that culture; listen to them, and participate actively in their conversations. Of course, if very important that you are not afraid to lose face. Sometimes you make silly mistakes but just get over it and keep going. Eventually, I imagine you would be a proficient speaker of that language.
What can people do to learn a second language?
Ah, I guess they can start by watching movies in that language, where you can see how the language is used in daily conversations, and maybe also pick up the tone and accent while watching. Then reading magazines or novels is also helpful. ‘Cause it’s important that you read interesting things to keep up your enthusiasm for this language. Apart from those, when you are only a beginner, I think it’ll also help if you can afford a language training course. After all, with a teacher’s guidance, it’ll usually fasten up your learning speed.