Yes, the significance of learning a second language has been discussed a lot for decades. As for me, I didn’t realize it until one year ago, when it occurred to me that I had never actually taken anything seriously, just reluctantly dealing with assignments and examinations without passion. Therefore, as many years ago a thought stroke Murakami that he should write novels, I started to learn English, which is becoming globalish, on my own.
I’ve been on the endless bilingual journey for about one year, and I want to write down what I’ve benefited from learning English as a second language.
In fact, this post talks about two aspects. First, learn on my own. Second, learn a new language, which is, for me, English.
Learning is therapeutic
As a sensitive person who usually can’t help but overthink, I think I’ve benefited a lot from taking action. Taking action calms me down. The moment I get going, I begin to focus on real world, and new experiences ensue. The moment I take action, I gradually find it is not as difficult as I expected.
And learning, which posts a challenge to me, is an act of creating.
It requires concentration, encouraging me to immerse myself in what I am learning. It inspires me to think, to interact with knowledge.
It gives me new knowledge, new perspectives, and new tools to cope with everyday life, broadening my horizons.
What the most fantastic part of learning is, all I’ve learned is achieved through my efforts! How inspiring! It builds up my confidence.
Knowledge is not like makeup, money and luxury items. It mostly works wonders for our inner world. Once we master something, it’ll keep us company for the rest of our life.
What’s more, learning a second language is not a loading bar, instead, it’s a long wonderful journey. I have something new to learn everyday. Each day there’s something fun awaiting me!
As Mr Chen said in the Psychology of Self-development, there are two kinds of happiness. One is happiness of consumption, and the other is happiness of creation. Both can make us happy. The latter one, however, is generally more difficult to achieve, and it will last longer than the former.
It allows me to explore my learning style
To be frank, I’ve got sick of the learning mode at school, though I admit there’s something worth learning about it. However, for me, the learning mode at school in China is far from fascinating. What I can remember is sitting with my classmates, listening to teachers, finishing assignments before dealine, and trying my best to get close to standard answers… I confess that I learned very passively during my school days, and I was never into English before.
Things have changed a lot since I realized the importantance of self- teaching and began to take English seriously. I started to take responsibility myself, and got more positive when learning. I feel I can take more control of my life.
Self-teaching is difficult. It is more than learning a second language. It is about self management.
No one pushes me. No one forces me to repeat and go over what I’ve learned. No one gives me assignments and quizzes. No one tells me what to learn and how to learn. No one makes plans and schedules for me. With freedom comes self discipline.
It was not until I began to be on an English kick that I realized there was something wrong with my learning mode and then I started to explore and adjust.
It was not until I began to hunker down for English that I found repeating and reviewing was a significant process of study, and it was not as terrible as I thought before as long as I became patient and creative.
It was not until I started to dig into English that I got many useful tips and tricks about learning English from some great English teachers online, such as learning phonetic, paying attention to my mouth shape, my tongue position and placement when practicing speaking, and using the method of echo when practicing listening etc… Some useful tips can be applied to learning other languages.
It was not until I started to take learning English seriously that I found making mistakes was not that horrible.
It is not just about learning English, becoming bilingual, or learning per se.
It is also about getting a good habit, managing my time, learning discipline and also, exploring myself and taking responsibility for my own life.
A new world!
I always believe that languages are bridges connecting people, countries and cultures.
Thus, learning a foreign language is more than the language itself. It’s about learning culture, like customs and ways of thinking, and people there.
Cutural difference is intriguing!
What the difference I found between Chinese and English, is that we tend to put the most important thing in the last position when speaking Chinese while we tend to put the most important thing first when speaking English. This is the difference of ways of thinking, which is showed in languages! To some degree, Learning a second language helps me get a deeper understanding of Chinese and Chinese culture.
In addition, believe it or not, learning English affects my personality and make me more rational!
Let me explain. I am learning American English mostly from Coach Shane‘s free videos. Coach Shane is a great English coach! He is very humorous, optimistic, and passionate, which impresses me a lot. And American English, somehow, sounds enthusiastic and energetic to me. So when I speak English or write in English, I feel myself more energetic, positive and extroverted…… Weird, but it’s true! I don’t know if you feel the same way.
But how come learning English makes more rational?
I think it’s because it’s my second language! I don’t have a very large vocabulary. I can’t transfer from Chinese to English very quickly. Instead, when thinking in a second language, I have to slow down, search among the expressions I’ve learned and try to express myself as accurately as possible. It gives me more time to think, especially think in a different language. Instead of getting overwhelmed by emotions and responding quickly, I have to wait. I feel as if I’m both an observer and a bystander when I’m using English. I start to figure out why Murakami likes to write his draft in English and then translates it into Japanese.
However, as an ESL student, I can’t get the nuance of English like native speakers. I’m not sensitive to the nuance when I use English. If I sound offensive or inappropriate sometimes, please forgive me. I don’t mean it. 🙂 And feel free to point out my mistakes!
Of course, my journey isn’t lonely. I feel as if I’m surrounded with a bigger world. So many amazing people. A lot of interesting information. My journey has got more and more wonderful since I started this blog.
And it’s thanks to you, my friends on wordpress!
I really appreciate every like and every comment from you. I really enjoy visting your amazing blogs and talking with you. I’m so happy to meet you on my journey. I can’t thank you enough!
Are you learning a second language, such as English? Or are you going to learn a second language? What’s your story of learning? What do you think of learning a second language? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comment!
Thank you for reading my ramble all the way through. Happy learning! I wish you all the best!
Vera from China