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Study in the USA Blog

Learning the Language

Posted on February 2nd, 2010 by Lindo Lindo

Studying in another country means immersing yourself in a different environment.  An international student should adjust in order to survive.  And so, learning a language of the country you want to study in is one of the important factors to consider to make the adjustment easier and to maximize the study abroad experience.

Language—a means of our communication—may be a stumbling block to an international student’s effective learning. The necessary skills of reading, speaking, writing and listening should be given attention to completely understand not only academics, but more importantly the people and the culture of the country per se.  Sometimes, it requires painstaking efforts do this task, but in the end you will reap the rewards. It does not hurt to be fluent in two languages, right?

In my case, using the English language is not a big problem at all. This is so because English is widely used as a second language in the Philippines. You can even hear Filipino say random English words during normal conversations! Furthermore, it is the medium of instruction in schools more often than not. Even people from other Asian countries would study in our country just to learn English. In general, we practice and understand the English language and it has been an integral part of our daily living.

Even though I have developed the skills in understanding English, I still encounter some difficulties. Speaking English demanded careful practice because Americans speak in different accents or modes of pronunciation. Try to acquire their twang or speak in an esoteric manner particular to your place. Avoiding the perception of speaking gibberish—you have to twist and twirl your tongue in order to master the skill. Well, that was a bit exaggerated…

Ready your Dumbo ears because some Americans speak way too fast. Now and then, you would notice mouths motionless as they speak. Just put a puppet beside them and you will get a ventriloquist! Pay attention to every single sound and corresponding word. But if understanding the person is insanely difficult and calls for a divine intervention, better tell him or her to stop! Pardon yourself and ask the person to repeat everything in a slow and understandable manner, perhaps the most neutral accent.

Based on my experience, as I go along and mingle with people, I get accustomed to their way of speaking and eventually speak the way they do. Exposure is the key. One thing that could help is by listening to US radio or watching US television programs. I would watch DVDs with subtitles at times because it would improve my listening comprehension(not to mention my reading comprehension). I also mimic the dialogues, so I can exercise my mouth and get an idea of how a statement or sentence should sound or be said properly.

12 Responses to “Learning the Language”

  1. Ekta Poudel Says:

    The tips you have given in the last paragraph are really good. But if the people who were born in other country, they would still carry accent and can’t speak like American. I was not born in America but yes, I went to English medium school when I was in my country. I think I watch television and English movies more than my other American colleagues. But I can’t speak as fluently and comfortably as they are. I don’t mean that I hardly talk English and understand them. I do talk and understand them. But my American friends and teacher wouldn’t understand although I pronounce it well. Now, I spend more time with my American friends to practice. If had come US when I was a baby, I am sure I would carry any accents. Now, it is a long

  2. Lindo Lindo Says:

    Thanks for the comment, Ekta. Same here! I still carry a Filipino accent at times. Like what I said, exposure is the key. At the same, if you keep on practicing,you will definitely gain the accent and have consistency in using it. You cannot doubt the human potential.

  3. Jonathan Says:

    Very interesting post. Be aware that you can enrich the web going to Crabzy.com as well.

  4. Marty Says:

    I can really relate to this blog post. Having been uprooted from my home in the Czech Republic to study in the states, I struggled to adjust to the change of common tongue. However, once I got the hang of English, achieving an American accent was difficult. My being in Pittsburgh was a challenging ball game of its own. On one hand, I tried to familiarize myself with general American colloquial. But in addition, I had to learn a special dialect “Pittsburghese” as my ‘Burgh companions called it. For general guidance in English, I watched TV and movies (boy, was “A Beautiful Mind” a challenge for me!). To learn about the Pittsburgh tongue, I socialized with, albeit, half-drunken college students at football games.

    Overall, this blog post was a very refreshing read!

  5. Kolitha Says:

    Useful blog..Thankyou

  6. Kenneth Says:

    I’m from Nigeria. I understand American English very well but the problem is i don’t have the same pronunciation with them. If i may ask how can i enrol in one of their school?

  7. Language School abroad Says:

    It’s a very good learnable blog.thanks for sharing.

  8. Lindo Lindo Says:

    Marty– a professor once told me that speaking a language is best learned when you socialize with a native speaker. Good luck on your Pittsburghese!

    Kenneth– I would suggest you write down a list of your prospective schools. You can check the school’s website, or even contact their international admissions office to inquire on how to enroll.

  9. J alahakoon Says:

    It is very important information yuo have given to students from abord,
    thank you very much

  10. Richard Says:

    Agreed, getting making a number of native speaker friends will help your English immensely. You will be exposed to vocab, pronunciation and the all important nuances that are difficult to learn if you are only using books.

  11. Lindo Lindo Says:

    Hi, Richard.

    I second that, once more!

  12. Net Online Says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience in the US. Your information is also valuable to other students who are thinking about studying in the US. Do you have any suggestions for English speaking instructors in the US classrooms that would help you with your academic success?

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