Theory of New Language Learning Part Two

They say the better you are in language, the better you appreciate the group of people using that certain language. This is the goal of everyone, who learns a new language. It is important now to discuss how one can improve from a "so-so" to very good. This is the second part of my own personal theory of learning new language.

Moving from the threshold to proficient level in learning language is easy said than done. This level is characterized with a high degree of fluency and spontaneity. A person on this level can summarize written and spoken information in a coherent way. Furthermore, a person is expected to express oneself using complex words and structured manner of delivery. In IELTS English test results, C1 is a band score 7.0, while C2, which is equivalent to a native speaker of the language, is band score 8.0 and above.

However, the question is how can one improve. Here is a list of factors that could influence the process:

1.       Appreciation of History and Culture

The appreciation of the new culture may act as a catalyst in learning the new language. Immersing oneself in the society is the fastest and most efficient way to do this. One could also watch documentaries about the new culture and make an evaluation on how the new culture is different or similar from that one originally belongs. Should one can not see the distinction of the new culture, it would be difficult to understand why native speakers of the new language express themselves in such a way, and not the same as one expects them to be.

2.       Increase Usage

To be proficient in the new language one must use the language consistently in conversations and correspondence. Without practice, the person's theoretical and practical knowledge would not improve. Doing written productions and formal communication using the new language is as important as appreciating the new culture. In my case, I improved my English skills since it was widely used in school. Almost all of my books and school activities use English language, so I gradually learned how to express myself more fluently and spontaneously. On the contrary, this is my problem in learning Norwegian. Perhaps you see that I write this article in English, rather than in Norwegian. I hope to use more Norwegian in the near future.

3.       Urgency

The first two mentioned in this list maybe sufficient for one to reach B2 or the upper intermediate level, but one must be compelled or forced with urgency to learn the language to push oneself in learning new language up to C1 or C2 ( the proficient levels). In my experience, I attained this level only after I forced myself to use English as a medium in teaching any assigned subject. I refrained myself from using the two Filipino languages ( Filipino and Cebuano), when talking to students unless it is necessary. In this way, I felt the urgent need to be spontaneous and fluent in language. Furthermore, for now, I do not see a good reason for me to improve my Norwegian language skills. It seems I am contented with it, although it is far from proficient level. The compelling reason will come perhaps.

4.       Academic Exposure

Lastly, the key for one to reach C2 is to be acquainted with academic works in the new language. This was the most influential factor why I was able to enhance my English proficiency. After developing a habit of reading, I learned new ways to express myself and expansion of the vocabulary seems natural. This happened to me after reading more than 5,000 pages of educational materials in English, when I was preparing for my licensure examination; and further improved when I was required to publish a book as part of the requirement for the completion of my master’s degree. With regards to my Norwegian skills, I am trying to start with books that interests me, so I can gradually finish it and learn more Norwegian. I am putting a goal for myself of 1,000 pages in 1 year. This I do not know if I can do. I will try though.

Click here for Part One

After more than 1 year of living in Norway, I am quite optimistic that in the near future I can meet B2 Norwegian. When that time comes, I would be writing blog posts in Norwegian. Wish me luck.


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