Thursday, May 1, 2014

Our Linguistics Analysis & What We Learnt From The Session

2. When you tell people you’re a linguist, people always ask you how many languages you speak.

hello again :3

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Mr. Lee Woong Ho is a Korean hence he acquired that language first. When he was 6 years old, he was sent to a Chinese Primary School. Basically, Chinese is the second language he acquired through socializing and environment in his school.



He also said that he learned English before he reaches his critical period which is shown when he said that he and his parents moved to Scotland. He stayed there for 1 year and that's probably where he learned basic English and how he was able to talk in a Scottish accent.

After that, they moved back to Korea and this probably gave him a chance to master and improve his Korean language. Mr. Lee stayed there until he was 19 years old and soon after, he went to Japan for an exchange foreign student program. While he stayed there, he managed to acquire the Japanese language before he went to China for half a year as a language student.


Based on our point of view, it all comes down to the critical period hypothesis by Eric Lenneberg and the first language acquisition. The critical period hypothesis states that for language acquisition, early childhood to pre-puberty may be the best time in which humans can acquire a first language. Mr. Lee's native tongue is Korean which he was able to acquire easily from his environment and his parents. He was also able to learn Chinese and English easily as these languages were exposed to him at a very young age. Japanese, however was quite tough for him as he said that he learned it when he was around 19-20 years old. Although it was hard, Korean grammar and Japanese grammar are known to be very similar to each other so this was considered as a huge help to the problem.

Another topic was brought up, which is code-switching. A student asked on whether Mr. Lee uses code-switching in any of his languages and he said no. As a Korean, he doesn't find the need to code-switch while talking in Korean to other Koreans as they believe that in Korea, they don't have any problem communicating with each other using their native language, hence code-switching didn't seem necessary.



Mr. Lee also said that learning a language after the critical period is easier with the help of the environment. For example, learning Japanese while actually living in a community which only speaks in that language will actually help you acquire that language easier because you feel the need to learn them in order to talk and understand the people around you.

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