A2 Basic US 65 Folder Collection
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OK, Thank you all for coming
for this presentation.
Loretta is in town from New York City
So I thought I would take advantage of that
and for anyone who's interested
to hear how she became fluent in Japanese.
L: Hi!
I'm going to talk today about Language Acquisition
and the idea of speaking, more than anything,
Because that's obviously one of the hardest things
that we all try to learn to do.
Writing, Listening, Reading...
those are all different functions but
speaking is particularly difficult most of the time.
And, it shouldn't be!
So, when I first started studying Japanese
I decided to start a YouTube channel
under the name "KemushiChan"
and one of the most common questions I got
now that I was publically speaking Japanese was:
"Why do you study Japanese?"
Why are you studying Japanese?
The answer to that has changed over time
but the was a theme. Basically,
this idea that:"I want to become fluent."
And it only dawned on me a year ago
which is basically 10 years into it,
I don't know what "being fluent" really meant.
I came to the point where I can speak conversationally
I can enjoy going out with friends
but when someone asks "Are you fluent?"
I still don't quite know
if the answer is yes or no.
I didn't even know what "being fluent" is.
But I think it's important for all of us to think of:
Why do you study language?
To think of the goal of what we're studing.
Not just saying "I want to be fluent!"
But what is it that you want to achieve
by studying language.
So I actually want to ask you guys.
Why do you study English?
That's a very big reason!
Like, to be an actor?
to be like... cool?
the personality?
English.... British?
English... American?
Any English is OK. :)
Well, like we said, basically,
the main topics that people tend to focus on are:
There are so many people who will say
"to be fluent!"
to be able to live in this world
and to be fluent
not having any obstacles.
But what is that?
We may not know what being fluent is
but we do know what it is
that get's in the way of becoming fluent.
We all have these common hurdles that we face.
So that's really what's difficult.
You can study all of these things
but still, what is the small bit that is correct?
And how do we keep using the correct ones
and not the incorrect ones.
What this is called is "Native Selection"
But this is something that we want to acquire.
We want to acquire that intuition.
"I know it sounds wrong but I don't know why."
We all try to acquire this skill
but that in itself is very difficult.
So I want to ask a quick little quiz!
But the other ones are a little awkward.
But if you ask a native speaker why
they may not know the rule or the reason
but you just know, that for some reason
these two sound wrong.
Here's another idea of Native Selection
this intuition for what sounds correct:
Past tense!:)
But still, native speakers just know
"Oh, it's HELD not HOLDED."
Another interesting one is this idea of Phonology
what we hear and know what's right and wrong.
For example, in English:
You know that that's not a word
but you know its possibly, it could be a word.
Whereas BNICK is not a word
and could not be a word in English
BNICK is not a sound that would be made in English.
In Japanese, I made these up,
"HASUMERU" ... is not a word.
but it could sounds like Japanese...
whereas, HA-MEU
it definitely can't be a word in Japanese
and it just doesn't even sound like one at all.
Even if these are nonsense
but they still sound possible.
and that intuition of "ITS POSSIBLE"
is what we're trying to zoom in on.
So how do native speakers know this?
Where does this intuition come from?
What is this actual ability that seems so impossible?
Here is our champion!
Noam Chomsky is a philosopher
that's known as the "Father of Modern Linguistics"
and he had this idea that
native speakers have sort of a machine
in their brain that knows exactly
it knows all the rules, this machine can
spit out all the words that are correct
and keep out all the words that are incorrect.
So what is it that's missing
from a non-native speaker?
What is this X-Factor that would make us native?
If it's this automated grammar machine
if it's knowing every rule like the back of your own hand
then maybe, just memorizing grammar
would be the way to become fluent?
Is that right?
NO!
It is NOT correct!
We have so many friends who study from textbooks
they study rules, they study grammar
but the first time they're in a natural speaking environment
Suddenly, all of that doesn't work.
It sounds strange
and that idea that GRAMMAR is not the key
is one confusing element because we think
if we study grammar, we'll be come fluent!
So what is this X-Factor difference?
Is it memorzing grammar?
Is it knowing vocabulary?
But a native child doesn't have a complete vocabulary
they don't know every word
but yet they're still fluent. They're native.
They still have an intuition in their head.
So it's not vocabulary either.
If native speakers don't know every word
and every grammar rule perfectly
Then what is fluency???
If it's not vocabulary or grammar
WHAT IS IT?!
I believe that it is that intuition
that idea that you know something is wrong
you hear it because you have a connection
in your brain of something you've heard in the past.
So for example,
you know that there's a certain
grammar or certain pattern
and you just apply new words
if it's a new vocabulary you can just
insert a new word and still understand
from the context of what you already know.
You have those connections.
There is also the idea of "Ritual Usage"
This basically means that there are
certain times when no matter what
even if the sentence is grammatically correct
it is still not correct in the situation.
For example,
If someone said "Will you marry me?"
This is a set phrase.
But if I said
"It is my deepest desire
to spend the rest of my life with you."
That's another way to say it
that you may not learn in a textbook.
But its situationally from a different context.
A different time, a different context.
For example, Slang.
There are many times
when you'll hear kids say 'WHAT'S UP?"
They may not necessarily
say that in formal situations
so the idea is that
you cannot just simply force yourself
to memorize these grammars and phrases.
And just become fluent.
You have to immerse yourself in these situations.
How do we get to this intuition?
How do we get to this fluency?
One of the most imporant things
that I found in my study
is the idea of realizing that goal
And being very specific with it.
So not just saying you want to be fluent
but specifically,
"I like to cook! "
So I want to be able to cook and explain how I cook
in Japanese.
Or "I like to Knit! "
I want to be able to knit a sweater
and talk about it in Japanese.
Something like that, this idea of
you know exactly why you're learning this language
and you so you do not waste time
it stays very personal
and exciting to you.
Language is personal.
It should always be personal.
and that's the best way
to keep it alive within yourself.
On top of that,
you have to improve your study methods.
Here we have 4 functions of language:
Speaking, Writing, Listening and Reading.
Some of you may have heard this before.
But these two on the top
SPEAKING and WRITING are things you create.
These are all proactive.
Whereas LISTENING and READING
are all passive.
These are things where you sit and take it in.
And that's it.
End of story.
What really helped me with my studies.
was focusing mostly on active learning.
So no matter what,
even if I was reading something
I read it aloud.
If I was listening to something
I would still mouth along with it
or repeating.
Or doing something like that.
If you sit here and take in language.
But you never use the muscles
that actually need to produce the language.
If you never use your tongue to speak
if you only use your ears
it's not going to work.
These are separate!
So it's very important to make sure
to always be proactive
when you are studying.
Always bring in new sources.
And find ways to repeat them, mimic them
I have a lot of friends who will ask
How do you speak without thinking about it?
How do you speak without processing it.
It's because I'm NOT thinking.
It's in my tongue's muscle memory.
So I don't have to think!
it's a loss if the 1st time you say something
and you stutter is only because
you've never actually said it aloud before.
If you know the phrase
then you should be able to say it.
and the way to say that is to practice it.
Like Robert De Niro?
If he's your favorite,
then If I were you
I would copy him everyday.
I would copy his every word.
I would memorize his movies.
I would know the lines.
And somehow I would take him on
and become myself.
But that's how I do it.
Thank you! :)
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Am I Fluent?

65 Folder Collection
Takaaki Inoue published on May 19, 2020
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