Learning An Additional Language Unisa Report

2622 words - 11 pages

Currently, Australia has been acclaimed internationally for its development of language policy. The National Policy on Languages has asserted that learning at least one language in addition to English would be “an expected part of the educational experience of all Australians” (Lo Bianco, 1987, p,120). With the realization that language diversity would contribute to cultural diversity, economic interests and national prosperity, Australia has shown an open and encouraging attitude towards the study of a second language. As Clyne (2005) stressed, in a global context taking bilingual or even multilingual abilities as its norm, just being an English speaker is not competitive enough. Chinese, as one of the nine most taught languages in Australia, is always considered extremely hard to be acquired. Orton (2008, p.5) has noted that to achieve the level of proficiency in Chinese, it is required 2220 hours, contrasted with only 600 hours for French. The purpose of this interview report is to analyze the main factors which may facilitate or debilitate the learning of Chinese, with a specific study object who has learned Chinese for about one year and a half and then, try to propose a few suggestions which are expected to be applied to learners with similar backgrounds and levels in order to promote further language development. The main methods used for this report are data collection, individual interview and sampling analysis.Most of the data is derived from previous research conclusions.
The learner interviewed is a twenty-two year old Australian girl, who will be referred as Amy in this report. She began to learn Chinese one year and a half ago and the reason why she decided to learn Chinese is because she believes that this will make her more competitive in the employment market. She used to major in Japanese and French which may facilitate her Chinese acquisition since she may have developed better vocabulary learning strategies comparing with other learners. She regarded listening and speaking as the most difficult part considering the four tones in Chinese difficult to be differentiated and always get confused with the words which differ in tones but similar in pronunciation. She was not very confident to speak in Chinese and a little bit shy, therefore, she always spoke English during the interview. It is observed that she is better at reading and writing section as sometimes she did not understand certain spoken questions but got the meaning immediately if the questions were written out. She studied in China for about six weeks partaking in an exchange program, which according to her, helped with her Chinese acquisition a lot. She also considers studying in a native-speaking environment as the best way to learn a language. In the college, the professor who teaches her Chinese is a native speaker but is not very fluent in English, which always makes her confused especially when it comes to grammar. Therefore, she has to read some grammar...

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