Understanding Language (A Short Part of Future Learn’s Course)

Taking a short online course at Future Learn about language has somehow helped me to understand language better. This course is useful for those who either want to learn or teach language. How far have we understood language or second language acquisition? Here I would like to share what I have got from taking the online course on http://www.futurelearn.com

1. What is language? How do we acquire language? What factors affect language learning?
In my opinion, language is the robot of science. It is used to communicate with different people in the whole world. The first language is acquired at the age of 1 by listening and mimicking before it turns out to speaking, reading, and writing. Second or foreign languages can be acquired at various age. But it is crucial to learn second or foreign language as early as possible. Adults who learn a second or foreign language tend to be passive users: they often are well-received but very weak to deliver the languages. So, age is one of the factors which affect language learning process. It is the critical one. Another important factors are Environment, motivation, and the intensity of practizing the language itself.

Professor Roumyana Slabakova, in this course, said that the ability to learn and use languages is Tour most prized human ability. The ability to acquire and use language refers to lingualism and the ability to learn and use many languages throughout our lifetime refers to multilingualism which is another fundamental dimension of the human condition.

2. How do you use language in your life? And what do we know when we learn language?
Well, as I come from Indonesia, where most of the people are multilingualism, my mother tongue is Sundanese. At the age of 5 I started to learn Indonesian language and began to use it in the formal situation only. However, I do not think I have already mastered the two languages. At home, my family and I speak Sundanese, while outside I get mixed between Sundanese and Indonesian, and sometimes English. I have learned English since I was 10 years old. And I have been insisted to speak English in this globalization era. Recently, I have learned a little Russian, but I am safely able to speak in three languages: Sundanese, Indonesian, and English.

Professor Slabokova, here, explained that ability of the speaker is not only to produce an infinite number of sentences, but also to distinguish them from the ones that are not acceptable. Not only a sentences but of larger and smaller units of language, such as phrases or conversation. There is nothing genetic about language and it is the language acquisition ability that is genetic. But the Pacific languages come from the inputs that we are exposed to throughout our lifetimes. And learners have to be surrounded by linguistic input.



  1. Course : http://www.futurelearn.com
  2. Image : http://mltawa.asn.au/2014/07/australian-curriculum-languages-officially-released/

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