7 In Linguistics

Linguistics – Native language VS 2nd language

I realised how different it is to look at a language from a native speaker’s point of view and that as a second/third language. I’m currently reading ‘An Introduction to Language’ by Fromkin and it introduces linguistics terms using English as an example.


Although I’m competent in English, I have never fully understand what determiners, prepositions, infinitives mean. (heck, I have no idea what they are) It’s strange to study English again from an outsider’s point of view, trying to understand the structure and grammar. Today I have come across so much terms that it made me pause and think. ‘omg how did i ever manage to learn English without knowing all these??’

No matter how much I try to recall my past English lessons in kindergarden, primary school etc, the only thing I could remember is how the teacher tries to teach us to differentiate between nouns, verbs, adjectives etc.

But learning Korean as a third language now helps me understand how non-native speakers actually learn English. It seems that I have been just studying loads of new grammar structure in order to improve my Korean.

~ 것 같다: it seems like

비가 올 것 같아요: It seems like it is going to rain

However it seems strange to just approach a Korean and ask ‘what does ~ 것 같다 mean’. Since native speakers don’t actually learn the language the same way as us. It will seem really strange to break down the language into these grammar structure.

Similarly, while I was helping some of my Korean friends in their English, their questions left me perplexed sometimes.

‘Where do determiners/prepositions fit in this sentence?’ they will ask.

‘HUHH??’ was the only thought that was in my mind and I had to open another window and google ‘determiner’. haha so much for English being my native language (:

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  • Reply
    Brian Barker
    25 December, 2008 at 6:09 PM

    As far as learning a second language is concerned, can I put in a word for Esperanto?

    Although it is a living language, it helps language learning as well. Five schools in Britain have introduced this neutral international language, in order to test its propaedeutic values.

    The pilot project is being monitored by the University of Manchester, and the initial results are very encouraging. These can be seen at http://www.springboard2languages.org/Summary%20of%20evaluation,%20S2L%20Phase%201.pdf

    An interesting video can be seen at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8837438938991452670 and a glimpse of Esperanto at http://www.lernu.net

  • Reply
    31 December, 2008 at 2:23 PM

    Lol I’m in the same boat as you.

    A quote:
    Can you explain the “to-infinitive” to me? 😀

    It’s really interesting how we share so many traits in the language learning journey ^^

  • Reply
    31 December, 2008 at 5:51 PM

    haha! wow, who asked you that question? (: It’s so hard to answer. ><

  • Reply
    24 January, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    Haha! Same!
    Though English is just my second language it’s widely spoken in our country. I tutor English to some Korean exchange students in our uni and I always encounter questions about english that I just can’t explain (like when do you use a particular modal, oh and the articles! i know when to use it, but it’s very difficult to explain to them). I also can’t remember how english was taught to us in grade school. ^^

    • Reply
      23 February, 2011 at 3:20 PM

      hi pinay ka? i knew it…because your name alodia is a very common filipina name….same as jovelyn,jonalyn,ronalyn and analyn…

      Our grandparents after our world war 2 is using lyn as the last syllable to the name of filipina girls.

      The name Alodia and Jovelyn is not very common to the people living in the North America,Latin America,Spain and Europe.

      Wilson and William a common Tsinoy English name for male(Chinese-Filipino)

      English was widely spoken in visayan region and particularly in Mindanao because neither they can speak nor Understand Tagalog. Especially our Chavacano and Spanish creole speaking regions in Zamboanga and Basilan..Hirap sa Tagalog that’s the reason why they speak visaya or spanish…English naman everytime they travel to Manila.

      • Reply
        23 February, 2011 at 5:54 PM

        Hi! Yes, I’m a Filipino. Nice to meet you. Strangely me, my family, classmates and friends think that Alodia is quite a unique name. Unlike the rest of the names that you’ve mentioned. In my lifetime I’ve only met one Alodia and we (and our own group of friends) were both shocked upon learning each other’s name. Because we can’t quite believe that there’s someone else who has the same name. Anyway, maybe because of the cosplayer/host Alodia, it will become a common name too. 😛

  • Reply
    26 January, 2011 at 3:25 AM

    we used that book in my Romance linguistics class! its a very interesting book

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