Thursday, May 1, 2014

Our Experience

Well to be honest, when we were told about this assignment, 3 of us were quite 'lost' (because we have never done something like this before) but excited at the same time. Interview... Sounds fun!


So obviously Geena loves Koreans and she was glad that Mr. Lee was able to come that night and listening to him talk in Korean and other different languages was fun and interesting at the same time. It's totally different from what we've seen on television.

Listening to how other speakers from other countries talk in various languages has always been something that we've been curious about. Sadly, he hasn't acquire Malay fully yet so we didn't get a chance to hear him talk in Malay fluently. We've always been interested in languages, there are specific ones of course but all of them are still fun and unique. 

Meeting Mr. Lee was kind of an eye opening because we have been trying to learn other languages and it's so hard. Geena tried learning from books, online and videos but it takes a lot of time and she thought it was impossible but Mr. Lee knows 5 languages, including Arabic and most of them, he can speak fluently and that is pretty amazing and impressive! This shows that nothing's impossible if you put your effort and heart into it.

Korean is, of course, Mr. Lee's mother tongue. He learned Chinese when he went to a chinese primary school at the age of 6. He started learning English language when he was 7 years old. His first English word was "apple." He went to Scotland in the year 1990. He told us, he stepped on the Scotland Airport on August 5th, 1990. He said he knew nothing about Japanese language until he went there for an exchange student program when he was 20 years old. That was the time he started learning Japanese which is after his critical period.

Well, Sal thinks Mr. Lee is a cool guy. As you can see from the night when he came, he only wore t-shirt and shorts along with sport shoes. He prefers to keep it casual. From our experience in spending about 40 minutes with him, we could see that he is quite a funny guy. I think he is a bit weird (just like you Mr. Nazriq! But in a good way) I also noticed how he makes long pauses before he starts talking.

In spite of knowing how to speak the four languages - Korean, English, Chinese and Japanese, Mr. Lee also knows how to write in these languages. But he finds it a little hard to write in Japanese and Chinese compared to the other two. He knows the old classic Chinese writing.

Sal asked him if he is learning Bahasa Malaysia. He said "Yes, I have to." Mr. Lee is studying in Universiti Malaya doing his second degree in Linguistics (he is of course, Mr. Nazriq's classmate). So at the age of 31, he is currently learning a new language. This is way passed the critical period.

He told us that he loves mathematics, science, anthropology, history and language. His first degree was Chemical Engineering. Who says engineering students cannot learn language? Like Madam Adlina said "We are engineers too. Alphabetical Engineers." :D

To be able to ask questions to someone that really has the credibility and experience in this kind of thing is something that we can't really describe. This interview session somehow really enlighten us about some major topics in Linguistics. 

Sadly the interview session was quite short and everything was kind of rush that night. How we wish we would be able to ask more questions to Mr. Lee. His journey and experience was incredibly amazing and to acknowledge that he is able to speak multi-language at that age.. what an achievement! It somehow motivates us to work harder and never give up. Nothing is easy but if you do something that you really want to do and you know this is it, well, this is it.

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