Learning an "alien" language...
IT profession

Joe viết ngày 16/07/2018

Chao cac ban
Hallo Freunde
Bonjour, les amis
print("Hello world")
cout << "Hello world";
Console.WriteLine("Hello world");
System.out.println("Hello world");

As you see, every "language" has its own sense and way of writing. English or Tieng Viet or Deutsch or Français or PYTHON or C++ or C# or JAVA... Each language has its own uniqueness. For many of us "Learning a language" is an unsolvable headache problem.

A psychologist might say "It's the problem of interest". A biologist would oppose that and argues "It's the individual brain structure". And you? What would you say? I myself would say "It's the problem of learning method". You may laugh... Well, let me analyze the "problem of Learning a language".

The psychologist is right with his argument. Without personal interest you learn nothing. You quickly get bored and give up. Years after reading a thrilling book you could still remember most of the thrilling episodes, couldn't you?

The biologist is right, too. People were born with uniqueness (even there're some differences between an uniovular twin). The genes make the difference. Some are linguistically gifted, some are good at mathematics.

Probably you would say "I'm good at natural science, hence I haven't a gift for human science such as linguistics." You're right, too.

BUT no one has ever thought about one "phenomenon": How does a toddler ALT learn the language spoken by its parents? It's too young to say that it keenly has interest on learning the language or it has a gift for language or it is good at human science (and "bad" at natural science.) All assumptions are "adult" view. Unreliable. A toddler never asks its parents for the "meaning" of the spoken words, it just listens and observes the gestures and mimic radiated by its parents (or siblings) and repeats them without fearing of right or wrong. And that is the method I am talking about: Learn by listening, observing and repeating.

The toddler's learning method

My father is French, my mom is German. I couldn't remember how I learned speaking French and German. I was born in San Diego (Calif.) There I went to kindergarten. I also didn't know how and when I started to speak English. So I just speak Français, Deutsch and English as if I was born with. All that must base on the "Toddler's learning method": listening, observing and repeating.

I often see on Vietnamese newspapers articles that the foreign names and words are curiously Vietnamesized. Example: Tap Can Binh (Xi Jinping China's boss), sếp (chef in French), etc. And that is the worst way to learn a language: Translate them untill they lose everything (e.g. pronunciation, nuance, etc.). As I met my a girl who is “half-Vietnamese” and later becomes my girlfriend I've started to learn Vietnamese...using "my toddler's learning method". And it is:

  • I just listen and observe what she and her mom (Vietnamese) talk
  • I repeat their words quietly
  • I use every opportunity to speak with her mom in Vietnamese using the words I've learned
  • I don't question the reasons and the whys
  • I never try to translate the new words into any language I speak (French/German/English). I let them be as they are and as they are spoken
  • I enjoy her correction of my words and my pronunciation

Tiếng Việt không có khó chút nào cả. Tất cả những gì bạn phải làm là lắng tai nghe, quan sát các cử chỉ và lặp lại những từ ngữ. Nói chung là mọi ngôn ngữ đều dễ học cả. Đó chỉ là câu hỏi "bằng CÁCH NÀO"

If you learn English or any other human language you must keep in mind that any “transferring” of words into another language will end up in some loss and, worst of all, in oblivion. If you could permanently keep this thought in your mind any language you learn would become a child's play. And that works exactly with any non-human language: C++, PYTHON, JAVA or whatever. Vietnamezation (or Translation) is the invisible poison to put the learning in oblivion.

As you learned programming have you ever tried to translate the codes into Vietnamese? What woukd you say about the following Vietnamesied piece of codes?

nếu (a == b)
    cngoài << “bằng nhau”;
   cngoài << “không bằng nhau”;

from the original

if (a == b)
    cout << “bằng nhau”;
   cout << “không bằng nhau”;

First: no C++ compiler could process this Vietnamesized piece of codes. Then the meaning (e.g. cout as cngoài) becomes ununderstandable or weird for the others. And that is the greatest obstacle for everyone who wants to learn a language -regardless of human or computer language. Use the words and their meanings as they are. Don't tinker or fumble around with translation or whatever.

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