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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Division of Groups

Groupings for Bee Dieu's Intercultural Communications project

Sofie- Jenny, Jennifer, Bernice, Phoebe, Cliona

Romaine- Stephanie, ERica, Alicia

Alexandre- Cindy Hsu, Ting, Aaron, Angela, Leo Kuo

Klara- Melody, Vera, Rebecca, Kimmy, Robin

Alberto- Sibyl,Hsiao-Wen, Carrie

Ellie- Julie, margaret, Linda, Cindy Huang, Ingrid

Camille- Jill, Carie Huang, Elsa, Winnie, Justin

Jeremy- Regis, Shonn, Wain, Jason, Leo Chien

Gregoire- Stella, Sam, Daniel

Amanda- Claire, Betsy, Jocelyn, Reggie


At 5:37 AM, Blogger Sam Lin said...

After reading Gregoire’s article, I think we almost have the same thought that learning more languages can help us in the future opportunity. In addition, I also think we have the similar situation. My public language is Mandarin, and my private and native language is Taiwanese. However, on the practical aspect, many people in Taiwan have got to learn English which is considered as a global and common language. Because my school is a language school, I can choose one more language to learn excluding English. Thus, I know English and Japanese.
For most eastern people, it is much more difficult to learn English, which stems from Latin language, than western people. I have ever asked a foreigner, who is from western country, how he could learn English, German, French, or Spanish so fast. He just answered me that perhaps those languages all have the same types and the structures are similar. After hearing what he said, I understood why so many Asians are difficult to learn English well. For example, Chinese uses square words to make a sentence, but English use alphabets to make a sentence. Furthermore, chinese people created the words by sound, visualization, image and etc. On the contrary, western people scraped the alphabets together to be a word. In addition, many countries have the similar structures which stem from China expect the countries had ever been colonized by western countries. For these reasons, I think that’s why so many Asians could not learn western languages quite well.
In my opinion, if anyone were able to learn more languages as he or she can, it is really good. However, I think the best way to learn a different language is to stay at that country and touch the culture. For living at that environment, one have to be forced to speak, listen to, read, and write the different language all day. Then, it would be easier to adapt that language.
In conclusion, learning other languages or many languages is good for everyone. It’s a good chance to touch some different cultures, touch the different countries, and get more opportunities for the future life. However, I think the problem is how to get a fast and good method to learn different languages, but not the problem about the willing.

YE4A 1093100050 Sam Lin

At 7:18 AM, Blogger aiden said...

Thanks Sam for posting your comments to Gregoire's work here. I'd like to remind you that you need to post it also on Gregoire's blog. I'm sure he would be pleased to hear from you.


At 10:37 AM, Blogger YE4AJulie said...

i have replied to ellie's blog.
it seems that my comments need to be proven by him so other people could see.

At 11:20 PM, Blogger Carrie Huang said...

In Camille's article, she mentioned that she speak French at home with her family and speak Portuguese when she's out. In fact, I am in the similar situation she's facing. I speak Taiwanese at home with my family and speak Mandarin when I am in public. Taiwanese is my mother tongue, and Mandarin is the official language in Taiwan. Nowadays, there are more and more young people in Taiwan don’t know how to speak Taiwanese, and they can only speak Mandarin. Therefore, my government tries very hard to preserve Taiwanese.
I agree with you that now the world is as a global village, and learning foreign languages is very important. In Taiwan, almost everyone is required to have English speaking, listening, reading and writing sills when he or she look for a job. In addition, it is better to know other so-called competing languages such as Japanese, Spanish, French, Germany and etc.
According to her article, she said, “I don´t think that speaking a foreign language gives people a better status.” However, speaking foreign languages indeed gives people a better status in Taiwan. For example, if I speak English and Spanish when I am in public, people will admire me and gain others’ respect as well. As I mentioned previously, I also can find a job easily. Speaking foreign languages, especially English really brings privileges just like you said.
I also have the same thought as hers—it’s very difficult to create identity in a foreign language. I believe language and culture are bound together. It’s impossible to learn a language but not to know its culture. Only when you know the language and the culture, and make them become yours, you can create your identity.

Carrie Huang 1093100010

At 11:25 PM, Blogger aiden said...

Hi Carrie,

Thanks for sending ccing your message to Camille here. Please take note that you have to post it on her blog, too (in case you still haven't done so).


At 8:18 AM, Blogger Cindy Hsu said...

Dear Aiden, would you please forward my comment to Alex??
cause his blog is gone~~!

Hello Alex:
My name is Cindy and I’m a student from Taiwan. Our teacher told us about your blog and asked us to leave a comment, so here I am! First of all, I want to say “Bravo.” I think you’ve done a great job with your blog. I love the way you expressed your feelings. What impresses me the most is that you accept who you are.

Once, I read an article by a woman from America whose born to a Turkish father and a Japanese mother. Sadly, she can not speak Turkish or Japanese. One of the reasons is that her parents think Turkish is useless. I couldn’t help but wonder how someone could think his/her own language is useless?! Does that mean his/her country is useless too? You live in Brazil, but still spoke French with your parents and learned Portuguese to fit into Brazilian society. I know a lot of people, who after moving to another country, just completely forget about their past.

But you, you can speak at least 4 different languages, which allows you to communicate with people of and immerse in different cultures. I think you are very lucky in that respect and I hope you will cherish that.

If World War II is really the reason to stop you from learning German, then tell me, why did you learn English? Did you forget that the Americans dropped the atomic bomb to Hiroshima and Nagasaki? In my point of view, every language (culture) is unique. We just need to learn how to appreciate it.

1093100013 Cindy Hsu

At 8:21 AM, Blogger Leo Kuo said...

Unfortunately, Alexandre closed his blog. Thus, our group can not log in his blog and leave messanges.
Here is his articles posted on his blog on Friday.
Foreign languages, identity and intercultural competence
Hello, my name is Alexander. I'm a 17-year-old boy who was born in Italy and has been living in Brazil since 1992. I'm French because both my parents were born in France.

The bilingual school I study offers me Portuguese, French, English and Spanish classes. We live in Brazil, because my father thought moving from Italy to Brazil was more profitable for my future than returning to Paris.
I've been in contact with foreign languages and cultures all my life just like my parents. My grandparents were from Genoa in Italy and from Corsiga, in the south of France .At home I have always spoken French even though my parents tried sometimes to talk to me and to my sister in other languages in order to make us learn them faster.

I think, in my case, it is difficult for me to define which culture represents me best! I think all complete me! I’m a mixture between two and half cultures: (French, Portuguese and Italian). The only language I’m averse to is German. I think this feeling comes from my grandparents because they were occupied by Germans during the Second World War. So, this does not mean I am against it! I just think it is not as beautiful a language as French. I am aware that stereotypes may influence this idea but this is how I feel for the time being.
I definitely think that foreign languages should be fostered. It’s always a new experience: new words, new expressions help you feel more comfortable when exposed to a new culture. It also helps you to develop your ideas. The language is the key word for culture. It may also be required for a job application. Speaking foreign languages definitely gives people a better status! Our society needs “open-minded” people So being able to understand other cultures is essential . I admit French people tend to think their language is more “qualified” as it was used by great authors and are too proud of themselves. Maybe because of this lack of humility, they don’t feel comfortable learning languages

I believe that there are some languages that are more privileged than others: like English and Spanish, because they are “business” languages. In a future not so far from now, Chinese will be the most important language. I think the main challenges, when you’re trying to adapt to a new language and culture are, for example, the values that society asks you to respect. The vocabulary and grammar are also a tricky part when learning a new language.

I feel my studies definitely prepared me to face other cultures. Recently, I went to Vancouver in Canada and had no problems in adapting. I was happy because I learnt many things about the Canadian history and their life style and my English improved as well because reading and speaking English all day . My grades were so good I couldn’t believe it! So, yes! My studies helped me. I see traveling as a way to learn and improve your intercultural competence! You have to feel what’s like to be alone or in a family ten thousand miles from yours. You’ve got to be in “full immersion”.

The word identity is so flexible for me. I think I could change identities just like my socks! It’s something you can adapt in any situations: I could be myself in English anytime. This easy way to change and adapt myself comes from my passion for traveling and new cultures. The more you know them, the more you will be able to develop and improve your “Intercultural” identity. You need to have this “base” first, so than you can create a new you!

My reply:There is no doubt that you’ve got the same opinion as mine. Languages, as English, Spanish even Chinese, are essential as trade languages for everyone to learn and speak. Thus, the more languages you know, the more profits you could get. That’s why, I learnt English in Wenzao Ursuline College which is located at Kaohsiung County of Taiwan. I could speak English, Chinese, Taiwanese, and German and last language is the one you dislike. I admit that the grammar of German is pretty tricky and difficult. By the way, it sounds not so good.
Over the centuries, people have learning languages for their careers and profits. For me, for the sake of gaining my competitiveness, I have been fostered several languages since twenty years. Not until recent years have I studied another trade language which is Japanese. Actually, I really envy your language ability, and I would like to learn Spanish as well. I’m very hopefully to learn a little bit Spanish from you. Anyway, as what you mentioned above, I agree in turn your way of saying. Indeed, if I want to improve my “intercultural” identity, you must know more about their cultures.

At 10:44 PM, Blogger Angela said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:47 PM, Blogger Angela said...

Dear Aiden~
Since Alex’s blog had been closed, I left my comment here.

Hello, Alexander! My name is Angela, and I am from Taiwan. Like your school, my school is also a college of languages. The five major languages that most students learn at school are English, Japanese, French, German, and Spanish. I major in English and also take Japanese course now. I think learning language is interesting and important because language is the basic communicative toll between people.

I totally agree what you said, “The language may also be required for a job application. Speaking foreign languages definitely gives people a better status.” Language is really important because we can use it to communicate with many people in the world. I also believe that some languages are truly more privileged than others. In Taiwan, English is undoubtedly the most important foreign language. Many children have been learned English since their childhood. More and more parents believe that a good ability in English will be helpful for their children to receive an education or find a job. My parents also have the same thought so they let me learn English when I was very young. At that time I don’t know why I should learn a language which we don’t speak in Taiwan. Now I realize my parents view is right. In today’s society, a person who can speak more than one language must be advantaged.

In the end, as you mentioned, I also feel that learning a language should not only from textbooks. We can go to the country to learn more about their culture, and get in touch with the native people. The feelings must be different and should be more interesting when traveling to other countries rather than studying books all day at school. To make use of what one has learned is really important. Like your experience, I hope that I can also have the chance to go abroad to develop and improve my intercultural identity in the future!

At 2:42 AM, Blogger Ting Tsai said...

Hello, Alexander, I am a student from Wenzao Ursuline College of Language in Taiwan. I am glad to know you from your blog. I think you are a lucky boy who has the special opportunity to learn many different languages from contacting with many different cultures in your childhood.

One language can become more privileged than others often because it belongs to superpower and most of the population uses it in the world. Like English and Chinese. On the contrary, I think it is hard to definite if one language is “qualified” to learn or not, because each language has its own precious value for its own race. The more languages you learn the more predominance you have in the world. So, I agree that one society needs “open-minded” people to understand other cultures and learn their languages.

Finally, from your article, you mentioned that the vocabulary and grammar are the tricky parts when you are learning a new language. How did you conquer this problem? And did you often feel confused when you were learning those different languages in your childhood?

1093100023 Ting Tsai

At 5:48 AM, Blogger Aaron said...

I was stunned when I read about the way Alexander thinks, how could a boy of 17 years old sound like he was one of my classmate in Language and Culture course? His thought about language and identity is way more profound than mine!

“I think the main challenges, when you’re trying to adapt to a new language and culture are, for example, the values that society asks you to respect. The vocabulary and grammar are also a tricky part when learning a new language.” As a student who is fascinated by interpretation and translation, terminology of different languages always bothers me. While some would argue that interpretation is only the process of finding equivalent words from both languages, I would say this is more than mission impossible. Since language is formed by culture, and no identical culture could be found on earth, how would it be possible to interpret or translate the meaning which could not be found in the target language? This is the question that always bothers me.

At 8:30 AM, Blogger Linda said...

(Reply to Ellie’s article)
I am the student in Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages. Wenzao is a well-known language school in Taiwan. Students can choose one or two, or even more languages to study from the five main languages- English, Spanish, Japanese, German, and French. My major is English. I chose Japanese as my minor, but now I do not continue to study Japanese any more. After reading what you wrote, I agree with what you said.
You mentioned that it would be impossible for you to learn German because it reminded you of the holocaust and genocide practiced during World War II. I can understand how you feel because of being not interested in German culture. I find that I am not really interested in Japanese culture after studying it. Consequently, there is no stimulus to motivate me to learn Japanese any more. In addition, there is no cable in my house; therefore, there are fewer opportunities for me to learn the fad, drama, music of Japan, etc. As a result, I feel that there is little relationship between me and Japanese. It is difficult for people to learn a language which plays no big influence on Taiwanese society. Take the language, Russian for example. It is rarely to seen Russian movies, and to hear Russian music in Taiwan. As a result, I think being interested in foreign culture and having connection with that country can motivate people to learn the language of that country.
I agree with what you said that foreign languages are very useful in several areas. We are now in the global village; as a result, there are always interactions with other countries. People who are able to speak foreign are needed in the international companies, in international meetings and so on. English is the world language, so good English proficiency is essential and basic. In fact, people who are able to speak foreign languages will benefit a lot from them while looking for jobs. Moreover, speaking foreign languages can visit those foreign countries without big communication problems.
Mentioning native language, I also agree with you that people can only really express themselves in their mother tongues. The first language that people learn influences them a lot. Language and culture are connected, so the way people think will be influenced by the language as well as the cultures. Additionally, there are some certain words that people can not get exactly the same meaning in foreign language. For example, “geisha” is the term only in Japanese society, and it is hard for westerners to understand the really meaning of the word, even thought they can speak it. I have an ABC friend and she has good Chinese proficiency as well. In the dormitory, she uttered in English while she was sleep. We can see how her mother tongue influences her a lot, even thought she has been living in Taiwan for more than 12 years.
I really agree with your ideas.

YE4A 1093100012 Linda Huang

At 8:32 AM, Blogger Cindy Huang said...

(Reply to Elie's article)

Hi, I am Cindy, a student of the course of Language and Culture taught by Aiden. After reading your background, I was a little bit envy of you for the reason that you can speak so many languages. It not only sounds cool but it’s a great competitiveness for the future career. That’s why I chose to study at Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages. Our school is the only institution that students choose two kinds of languages as their major and minor in Taiwan. The languages we can learn in our school are English, French, German, Spanish, and Japanese. When I was a junior college student, I was major in English, and Spanish was my minor. However, after I had been learning Spanish for three years, I decided to quit because I felt really frustrated learning it. I regret that I gave it up because every student in Taiwan learns English. English seems to be a requirement for a good job. The only way that makes me special is to have ability of speaking other languages.
I really agree with what you said,” Even if you speak perfectly another language, you will never say exactly the thing in two different languages.” I think we can’t express exactly the thing in two different languages not because the lack of certain language proficiency but the cultural differences. I remembered when I traveled in UK three years ago, my home stay hostess was eager to know more about the life, food and people …in Taiwan. Every time after discussion, she always looked confused, and seemed not understand my description very much. Then I realized that she never saw, tasted, or experienced what I told to her. The most important thing is that there was no such kind of things I said in England. Despite how detail I described, she couldn’t figure them out. Moreover, in some cases, there were no exact English terms that can express Chinese words or sayings. No matter how brilliant the translation is, it seems lack of the feeling when we say those words or sayings in Chinese.

At 2:06 AM, Blogger Ingrid said...

(reply to Ellie's article)
It is so impressive that you can speak four languages which are quite impossible for me. As what you said, "Speaking foreign languages gives you a better status", and being able to speak English gave me lots of chances to meet different people and talk to them. I also think it is important for everyone to learn at least one to two foreign languages, but your situation is very different from my country. In my country, I learnt my second language while I was in junior high, so I actually didn't have much time to learn a third or forth language. I've learnt English and Japanese, but my Japanese is only on daily conversation, so I wonder how you learn so many languages at the same time. It was more difficult when I needed to learn a third language.
I agree that we should be open-minded while we are learning foreign languages, and I think by learning foreign languages, we can learn more about other cultures and that is the most interesting part. But, I also agree that I can only express my true self by using my mother tongue since foreign languages are always “foreign” for me.
It is really sad to hear about the genocide during WWII and how this had hurt so many people, and I truly hope people can eliminate misunderstandings through learning each other's languages and cultures.

At 6:06 PM, Blogger !!Elie!! said...

If it doesn't bother you, I wrote a post answering your comments in my blog, so please go visit it!
Oh! and sorry for the delay.
And Mrs. Aidens, I'm a boy, by the way.

At 2:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Elie,

This is Margaret from Taiwan, and Chia-en is my Chinese name.
You really get a very good environment to learn foreign languages. In Taiwan, people try to learn English because it is a useful language. If one can speak it with proficiency, s/he will have better opportunity to get a job too. However, the official language here is Mandarin; other dialects including Taiwanese, Hakka and aboriginal languages. Thus, it is easy for us to learn English, for there are lots of cram schools. Elementary students will start learning it from grade three too. Nevertheless, it is difficult to get used to speak it because people do not feel comfortable using it. It is neither our public language nor our private language. We can hardly say it unless we are put into a must to situation. Take myself as an example, I have learned English almost for ten years, and I am willing to open my mouth, coming up English words two years ago. I feel more confident, and think I might know enough, so I push myself to use it. Too afraid to make mistakes while saying one foreign language is an obstacle. I wonder if there is any similar condition in your country.

"Even if you speak perfectly another language, you will never say exactly the same thing in two different languages.” I don’t know why this could happen, for me, I would say you might not know this language good enough. By the way, you also mentioned that you do not like German, for it reminds me of the holocaust and genocide practiced during World War II. It is partly true, but it is not always so. When I was a junior, my minor is German. I regret that I do not continue studying it right now because I also know its culture while learning this language. Germany is a beautiful country too, isn’t it? Another truth is German is considered an useful language in Europe too. Also, if you know its culture better, you will also understand why and its history goes.

Have a nice day.

At 2:16 AM, Anonymous ye4a Margaret Tzai said...

Sorry that I didn't leave my name in my last post to Elie.


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