For the beginning, and in this new home, I’ll try to write again in English. Frankly speaking more bilingual or multilingual people in the world than years before, and monolinguals has been declining or dwindling recently. Only some parts of elders or very youngsters who are monolingual. Many people are also polyglot. Speaking more than three or four languages, either actively or passively. Knowing other languages is essential in order to communicate effectively, as well as media for introducing its culture to others.
Well English has been the most widespread language since centuries ago. Almost every countries in the world at least require some knowledge on it for several field, especially international relation. Not just English, many languages are considered as major ones. It depends on you which one will you learn, and based on your needs too. For commerce? Career? Religious affairs? Or just for fun? I bet you.
Now, talking about language learning, let me share about my own experiences. I don’t know exactly how many languages I learn or master because I learn it much alike grasshoppers. Jump around from one to another. Seems like dancing horse, unstable anywhere (hahahah). Allright then, so…which one should I tell you first? Here they are.
English : I was exposed by this language when my cousin taught me singing ABC in English. At the time, I was around 7 years old. But then I forgot it till I went to Junior High School in 1989. My teacher taught us by singing ‘That is a window, that is a floor’ and ‘Row Row Your Boat’. Those were my first English songs I still memorize up to recent. I studied it very well though by up and down mood (I was a very moody learner). I used to attend many English courses, from level 1 until level 5. But then, teenager’s mood defeated my spirit. I couldn’t even finished my last level. However, my English mark was getting better and better. Hahahaha…maybe I was very lucky.
My high school also ever sent my and my friends to an English drama competitions, though we didn’t win (as I was very nervous at the time), I was so happy to do that. Till then I went to English department in a national famous university of Surabaya, East Java.
Actually it was accident. I initially wanted to continue my study to International Relations, but my family didn’t allow me, as they said it was close to politics and it is unlawful for them (what a heck then! Haha). When I chose English, nothing expectations I had, just tried and tried. Thanks God, I was accepted in the university by UMPTN in 1995. Learning there was actually more than just speaking and grammar. I was exposed to Linguistics and introduction to English literature. But then I prefer the first one, Linguistics. My marks were not special and the GPA was ordinary too. In 1996, I started to teach English in small scales, private courses.
The most precious time I got during in university was when I participated to some English news reading competitions, and two of them I won. I still remembered when I mimicked Jason Tedjasukmana on RCTI English News. I read and read a lot…. But the most important thing was I could learn how to present in English.
Afterwards, so many teaching experiences I’ve got so far. More than 16 years, and I am still learning English more and more as language is a very dynamic and change easily by time to time.
For a long time I haven’t written my blog in English since more Indonesian readers and hopefully one day it will be balanced between Indonesian and international visitors here.
In university, I learnt English is not unified as it looks. It has got many dialects and variations depend on the region.
Also, grammar is actually not so important when you speak, as spoken variation is liquid and very flexible than the written form. As far as each other understand, ungrammatical English is accepted. But for myself, both of them are important. Even with Indonesian-flavoured or Javanese-flavoured English..everything is okay. Formerly I tried to imitate British accent as I love it, but after years, I let my tongue become more ‘Indonesian’ when speaking English..but, my students sometimes consider me speaking ‘Dutch-accented English’.
Sometimes I am not confident enough, but as somebody says language must be practiced, I must try on. Error? No problem! Do not be afraid to be wrong, because you are wrong then! Hahahaha..Hell no! From mistakes, you can learn and in the future you’ll be able to minimize the mistakes. You don’t have to imitate until native-like, just preserve your wonderful accent.
English is a must, but not absolute choice. For me, knowing and speaking English is not enough for being global. Choose one or more languages you like and be consistent on it.
This is my experience…part one!