Intercultural communications - the foundation in the process of learning a foreign language

24 мая 2013 -
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Rashid Gabdulhakov

преподаватель Международного университета в Центральной Азии

Department of International Relations

Bishkek

        

         The further we progress in history, the faster our life pace seems to become. All processes in the world are taking on a rapid speed: we can send messages in an instant; we can travel to another country in the matter of hours after we decide to go there, we even grow in our quantity much faster, with the global population growing three fold since the 1950s. With such a rapid growth and speed of process, the exchange of information becomes a crucial element in all spheres. It is common for people to speak at least one foreign language, it is essential. A person with the most amount of tools and the most accurate information is in advantage in this world – languages are the foundational set of tools. Merely knowing a foreign language is not enough, however, a person must know the cultural peculiarities associated with the language, understand all the nuances to the point of being able to make coherent jokes in that language, comprehend the humor and use the full potential of the language different than their own. This task of comprehending a foreign language to the fullest requires specific methods.

            There are several issues associated with the school programs throughout the world:

1)   Lack of teachers who are native or close-to-native carriers of the language.

2)   Abstract topics that are memorized by the students, which have little to do with the everyday life of the student.

3)   High emphasis on the grammatical composition of the language.

These issues can be solved though a mechanism that would put an emphasis on the student’s speech. Public speaking, intercultural and interpersonal communications must be set as a fundamental part of the language learning process. Public speaking is an art form and many students lack the ability to coherently express themselves even in their native language. Furthermore, the mentality of the students must be changed in their attitudes towards language learning classes. Even in the United States, I witnessed students who refused to learn Spanish in school because of ethnocentric ideas. They would say, if Mexicans want to do business with us, they should learn English, why should we learn Spanish? This is a tragic view point. The more languages we know, the stronger we become, there is no one single most important language.

Generally, there is no better way of learning a language than to submerge yourself in it by traveling to the country where the language is spoken. If this step is impossible, it is helpful to watch movies in the foreign language, even with the subtitles. It is essential to read book in the language you are learning, and make note of new words, memorize them, use them in sentences. Language is a kind of knowledge must constantly be utilized; otherwise it is easy to lose it.

In today’s world, there are many self-proclaimed language teachers as well. People who know the foreign language, but have never been professionally trained in the methodological side of the process. One can possess the knowledge, this knowledge is of little significance to the students without the professional tools and methods of sharing it with others in a way that it would be productive and beneficial.

I am not a language methodologist, but in my experience, it was easy for me to learn a foreign language due to the following contributing factors: 1) I had set the goal of learning the language, I wanted to learn it with all my heart. 2) My educators utilized interactive games, movies, books, dialogues, and topics that related to my interests and everyday life, thus I did not feel alienated from the subject I was learning. 3) A trip to the United States sealed by comprehension of English language, because I had no other choice – I had to speak the language. It took me three months in the United States to start thinking in English, something I could not image before.

               In conclusion I would like to state that language learning process is a dynamic between the educator and the student. The educators must be professional, kind, and patient, all these characteristics come with professional training and experience. It is the task of the educator to spark the interest and love for the language that the students are learning. Students should not be terrified of making a mistake. As my father, Farid Ahunovich Gabdulhakov says (the best methodologist of language learning process known to me): never be afraid or ashamed of admitting that you don’t know something, celebrate the opportunity to learn a new concept, and don’t pretend to know something you don’t know. The students, in the meantime, have the responsibility of putting their efforts into the process of learning the foreign language, after all this will benefit them!

 

 

References:

Gabdulhakov, F.A. Ocherki Metodiki Obucheniya Russkomu Yaziku. Namangan, 2013

Karaulov, Y.P. Russkiy Yazik i Yazikovaya Lichnost'. Moscow, 1987

 

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