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of the people i met..

when i was flying to leeds just a couple of months back, i met a sweedish guy..he basically worked in malaysia but every 2 or 3 months, he had to fly back to sweeden to work at the head quarters office for two weeks..he’s in the computer field, some genius and well paid job i might say judging from the knowledge he had and his appearance, of course..we had a long good chat in the flight because he couldn’t sleep as well and we even had coffee together as we arrived in amsterdam since we both had a more than 4-hour transit before the next flight..

so obviously we couldn’t talk about anything computer related because hell no, i have no idea what’s going on inside the computer’s brain if i could call it that..it’s like a genius machine that tells google everything we wanted to know even on things as simple as “where is my house?”..

and since he’s a well read person and he did some political studies back in the days, i told him i’m a linguistics major and so we talked about how noam chomsky (the superhuman in linguistics) who started off as a genius linguist ended up as a super genius politician..so we talked about how a linguist could be a good politician..so basically, rikards suggested that if you’re a linguist, you could be a good politician because you understand the significant semantic and pragmatic relations to every word..

and just now, i met a pakistani guy who randomly asked me where the post office is..while i was walking! he came from behind me and greeted me randomly..how awkward was that..i was on my way down to the supermarket and it so happened that the post office was nearby the supermarket so i showed him where the post office was..

and as we walked down to the town from school, we got to know each other..so he’s a phd student doing international politics..and as he knew i’m a linguistics major, he went all excited telling me about how great of a politician NOAM CHOMSKY had became and that he was asking if there’s anything particular about a linguist that could make them a very good politician..he’s suspecting the same thing – linguists knew exactly the right word to say and were very good in influencing people..

gosh!

first, noam chomsky as a linguist believed that in acquiring any language, a child constructed sentences based on the pre-wired system they had in their brain that for a sentence to be a sentence, it needed a subject, verb and an object..and depending on the specific languages, the order of subject, verb and object could vary..he did NOT believe that we constructed languages based on meaning that we give to the particular words..hence, semantic or pragmatic were NOT his cup of tea..but his works were very much grammarly-focused..

second, we learned NOTHING about how to make sentences more powerful or easily understood or highly influential..the most that we do was building sentence trees! like this:

yea, how can that teaches us how to influence people..the most that we choose is the HEAD of the sentence..

third, most linguists were at universities doing their endless researches..and instead of successfully conveying a message in a direct, and easily intelligible way, linguists tended to twist their sentences and made it harder to understand..like i said previously, instead of saying walk straight in 2km and you’ll find the police station on your right, linguists would say alright you can walk that way for 2km and along that way, there’ll be a beautiful fountain on your left, a beggar in 200m, and a may be you can switch route! see what i meant..?

fourth, have they even read any ONE of chomsky’s work..?just one..please, try read and tell me what you think about it..

buy anyway, i might have been belittling the linguists a bit too much here but no i love linguistics and linguists ๐Ÿ™‚ i’m delighted that people were aware that hello, linguists do exist in the society and we did a lot of things for the society and no, we’re not stuck as teachers as some might stereotype it..and yes, i thanked chomsky for his findings and discoveries and theories..but a good politician..?well it’s not something generalizable people..

and true too, there’s power in words..we all speak, even the deaf speaks sign language..it totally depends on how you bring about the powers from within those words..

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when you have to choose..

a few weeks ago, i was in the middle of a conflicting dilemma – i was enrolled into both Linguistics & English Language Teaching courses for my MA..when initially, i just wanted to do Linguistics and concentrate on Sociolinguistics..let’s just say, i couldn’t really choose what i liked to do especially when the study period was restricted to only two semesters..so to my disappointment, i couldn’t do Sociolinguistics either – that if i insisted on doing, i won’t have enough day time and night time to fulfill all of the course requirements..

i was about to sign the form to change the course..so instead of doing both Linguistics & ELT, i’d just do Linguistics hence i would have enough time to take up Sociolinguistics..and bid adieu to ELT..but my gut sort of like told me “wait up there young lady..take the form home and think about it AGAIN”..

so i observed the Sociolinguistics class, attended the ELT class at the same time and while walking to the med school this morning, (yes for some technical reasons i had my class at the med school) i kinda made up my mind..that taking ELT would really benefit me in the long run..

what i learned from ELT would be beneficial for me not only as a language teacher but also as a parent..i mean with ELT you’d learn the different phases of learning-sensitive periods, the kind of needs a child would need to develop language learning skills, the psychological aspects of learning and how to be a better teacher which in turn, would help you be a better parent..well, you’d learn A LOT more!

for example, if your child is born with a brain damage, that the left side of the brain (which functions to aid language learning) is less likely to function like a normal brain, could they still learn language..?would they be able to listen/talk/understand you..?or if your child is a genius, what are the sort of resources could be given to further develop that ability..or things as simple as knowing when to talk about sex, alcohol and world economics with your child..

so yea, it’s a huge loss if i drop this course..so now i’m on a solid ground, believing the decision i made for taking both Linguistics & ELT and having to drop Sociolinguistics really is not as bad as i think..i’ve been attending the lectures and most of the lectures are just like revisions to me..so Godwillingly, this would be the best decision arranged for me..

so to my future kids, i could say that you’re part of the reasons why i take up this course ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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of being critical..

this week has been dramatically hectic and tiring..readings are getting longer and harder, exercises are piling up and now assignments are knocking on the door too..the longest sleep i have this week is for 5 hours and a half and migrane is paying a visit more constantly now..

nevermind that, students get that, a lot..

have you ever met someone who’s so passionate about what they’re doing..?and you learn from them that no matter how hard things get, there’s no way you should quit doing what you’re stuck with and they really inspire you..?

my lecturer gave me one of the most critical texts in linguistics from my day – 1 at school because based on her experience, if she delayed getting on the critical part of the course, students will need more time to cope with the course requirements and that will ruin the year’s planner and results..so she gave us that rocket science reading and on our first tutorial, we went like “well are you sure you’re teaching linguistics and not some science subjects..?” well apparently, and unfortunately, yes she was the right lecturer for us..

so currently we are working on a critical assignment and with critical assignment, we’re expected to question everything with why and how..and FIND all the answers to the whys and hows..the readings can be crazily critical and by critical i mean, they may want to say the whiteboard is automatic but they went all around telling where they first find a white paint and who created the electronic devices to make it automatic and some factory refused for it to be just automatic that it has to be digitalized too..*wow, i’m just soo good in giving analogies am i..?* LOL alright you can kill me for that..but that’s what they do – they are trained NOT to tell it straight on the first sentence..and for you to be a successful linguist, you MUST be able to do this..saying about something without explicitly mentioning what you intend to say..how FUN!

so most of us are on the verge of giving up..trying our best to ask her to give us something easier for the head to comprehend..but instead of giving us the soup for lunch, she gives us seeds to plant so we can make lunch out of the veges..got what i mean..?she didn’t even give us the veges to cook, she wants us to plant our veges first! T_T for us to be a linguist we can’t skip all these heavy readings and if we don’t do it now, we’d do it at some point later on..she totally removes us from our comfort zone and really gets our brain into some extra shift of works..

she’s pushing us onto the level that will make us suffer to reach but ideally, that’s where we should be anyway..she does not make it easy for us but she’s there as our backbone making sure we’d not give up and not only do this for the sake of the assignment or passing this course to get an MA..but she’s there to make sure we push ourselves enough to be the best we can be..

she is sooooo criticalized by her works but she’s such a genius and her enthusiasm always amazes us..i wonder how a person could have so much passion built in them..

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of learning your first language..

who says magic doesn’t exist..?

do you know that scientifically speaking, you don’t learn language..?you are actually born with some genius cognitive mechanisms that allow you to speak! just like having eyes to see, having nose to breathe and having ears to listen..

language acquisition might not be as automatic as seeing, breathing or listening, but it has to be developed just like walking or running with your feet and eating with your hand..

of course you’ll need input..as in what language to speak and some basic vocab to start your learning but research shows that we learn very limited vocab and language rules, but eventually we will develop the ways to speak the language and poof! we have the adult grammar already..

well here’s a proof to support the notion that a native language acquisition is innate; it’s built in our biology and not so much learned from the society..

the child is cute isn’t she..? haha..to all friends who are now a mother/father, good luck teaching your kids the language..

that was quoted from one of my lecture notes by my lecturer, melinda whong..so the example above shows that, no matter how much input a child gets, she’ll learn what needs to be learn when the time comes..when the mechanism in the brain lets her..

i think what most parents do are just teaching the kids to speak, and not teaching the LANGUAGE..so in teaching kids to speak, parents won’t feed the children with every vocab in the language and bombard them with the grammar rules of that particular language..however, despite the limited input, the kids manage to develop a perfect language skills, yes..?and hence, language learning is innate..it’s already built in there, somewhere behind your head..

but what concerns me now is, when exactly do kids make sense of their language..as in understanding perfectly what they are referring to when they say something like “i want that blue shoes because that reminds me of daddy”..when exactly they understand the concept of “thought”..and how did they acquire that..understanding the meaning of their utterances and make language as part of their “thinking” process..

so yea, i’ll need a baby for my PhD research..i’Allah..

p/s see, magic exist! ๐Ÿ™‚

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this semester..

waiting for the sponsoring body to approve my allowance is like sitting under the ocean while waiting for the water to dry off..i mean, i’ve emailed the specific people in the specific departments asking them to process my application as soon as they can because class is starting real soon and it’s not my fault that they don’t process my application sooner..but nevermind, they’d still make me wait! *sigh~*

so as with my university’s registration and enrollment, i’ve completed some processes so by the time i arrive, which will be after the orientation week, i’ll just proceed with the other half of the procedures..i hope it wouldn’t be much of a chaotic start because i might need a lot of time to get to know that new place too as i’ll be on my own, alone..

and i’ve got my schedule sorted out yesterday and say YAYYYY to all of the linguistics courses that i have to do~!! *cry a river* T_T with one optional module (which is not optional at all since we have to do it anyway), i have 5 courses to do this semester..back in the undergraduate years, i’ve taken a maximum of four classes in a semester, one being a teaching experience..but this time around, i’ll be taking 5, with 3 of the courses being the major branches in linguistics – phonetics & phonology, sociolinguistics and YES the ever famous and hated SYNTAX! i wish Jo can do this course for me..sobs..

so i talked with Jack last night, whining to him why should they make me do everything at one shot..telling him that it’s almost impossible to pass both syntax and phonetics & phonology at the same time – they even put a notice down the list that a student must pass at least one of the two..as if most of the students usually failed both! of course i’m freaking out!

and he kindly said “because they know this time around you’d have me to support you..i’d make you a cup of drinks when you’re studying for your exam” hahah..you see, i’m laughing while writing this..he’s being such sweetheart, yes..?aww~ โ™ฅ

and here’s the courses i’m taking this semester..those numbered (1)

i’m not sure if i chose to do double MA when applying but it seems now i’m doing both linguistics & language teaching..would i have a double MA..?
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of my language..

so i was contemplating on my language use in this blog, on how i was determined each time before writing a new post – that i will write it in malay..but each time, without fail, i would fail T_T it’s just so hard! really i think the grammar could go wrong, the flow of the sentence would sound fake and i might even use both malay and english without realising it, which, kind of beating the purpose of wanting to produce a 100% malay post..you see, i’m not confident to write in my own mother tongue! i sounded so much like a renegade now didn’t i..? ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

i noticed this “inevitable” language interruption when i was attending the ptd assessment center the other day, where everyone struggled to utter a sentence with 100% malay words in it..we had to discuss in malay, and some words existed as if it’s a malay word by nature..alright let me show you some examples..

1) …business dapat berkembang dengan lebih pesat

would you replace “business” with “perniagaan” in your daily conversation..?

2) …mereka berazam untuk memberikan service terbaik kepada customer

would you replace “service” with “perkhidmatan” and “customer” with “pelanggan”..?

3) …so bila sales dapat ditingkatkan, sure company tersebut mampu membayar gaji pekerja mereka

do you say “jadi” instead of “so”..?or “jualan” and not “sales” and “syarikat” instead of “company”..?

i picked up several more examples but that’s not the point here..my point was, it’s not just me who can’t stop the english words from blending-in in our sentences, it’s the majority of us..and where do you think these changes will take our very own language to..?and most importantly, when the changes already took place, would we notice what we have lost..?would we even realise that the previous language we used to speak was no longer the language we now speak..?well changes are good, but how far is it good to the growth of its purity..?

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where should i head now..?

 

Finally the long anticipated visa has arrived earlier today and i’m now permitted to be in the UK until somewhere in 2014..so it gets me into thinking, should i work there for a year after completing my MA..?well the sole motivation for anyone to be working abroad is definitely for the pay they are offering and for some others, it could be because of the flexibility of the working hours – so they won’t end up overworking themselves but remain underpaid..

the visa collected..yes collected..they just can’t make their way to my place when they actually passed my house before reaching masjid tanah..and i had to wait for four days because of the public holiday and the weekend..ah well~

as for me, i’ve never really worked..i went for several teaching trainings and experienced myself how it felt like working as a teacher..preparing the materials, arranging the schedules, make time for extra curricular activities etc but i never felt the sense of belonging to any particular job..and from my previous experiences, i’ve never really liked what i did..i enjoyed working with the students but i didn’t find satisfaction in what i have been teaching them..like “no, i didn’t plan to be teaching what i’m teaching now for like forever..though i’ll move up the career ladder, i’d still be in the same system..would i like to spend my every day resenting what i have to do..?”

and i dare to imagine myself staying in the UK for a year or two, to work there after my MA, when i’m not certain myself with the kind of things i’d like to be doing..now..?later..?i don’t know, really..

and since i have been doing nothing for almost a year now (i have to reject the posting offer because of the study offer) so yea, i have quite a lot of time to spend on trying my luck in some other field of works..so on one fine day, i sit for that diplomatic officer’s test and i miraculously passed that test so i have to go to the second stage of the test..

i was numbered 120 and the last person to arrive was numbered 129..we’re kinda one of the last to arrive but i didn’t regret insisting boyfriend and lea to have some breakfast before registering..and i know they’re grateful for that too ๐Ÿ˜›

and after the test, i’m still not quite certain with the options i have..would i like being a diplomat..?*not that i’m certain i’ll be chosen to go to the next stage* but it’s perfectly fine to think of the possibilities now..if i’m successful and i’m chosen, would i like to do it..?and so what will happen to my linguistics major..?they’re just too invaluable to be forgotten and left unpractised..i get all hyped up when some of my juniors from school of applied linguistics come to me to asking about linguistics stuff and i would look back into my old books just so i can help them and recall what i have learned back then and exchange some linguistics stuff with them..i’m just soooo passionate about linguistics..can i do that as a diplomat..? T_T

to be honest, i think i’m just not ready to work yet..and i keep telling myself i’m a better learner than a worker and really, that way, i can’t feed my family (ehem yes i’m thinking about having a family now, soon, i’Allah) ๐Ÿ˜€ but yea, i can’t pay the bills and of course i can’t be selfish by leaving it all up to the breadwinner of the family..what’s the point of having a family if i can’t contribute to the wellbeing of it..?and whyyyyyy am i still so scared to work..?why am i still indecisive..? T_T

seriously who am i now is really not what i planned..i wanted to be a doctor and suddenly i passed the MARA interview for NZ bound degree in TESOL..i thought i wanted to become a teacher and suddenly i passed the SPA’s test to become a diplomat..i am so leaving this to God and do what i need to do at the mean time..

p/s what do you think i should become..?

 

 

 

 

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bilingual, are you not..?

One of my friends mentioned that she’s impressed with some of the Chinese she met – who had been speaking fluent Sarawakian Malay with perfect pronunciation like the Malays did..

so the world consists of people making meaning to life in different languages

well she got me into counting back the number of chinese friends i have..and the chinese i have been meeting..and one thing i found amusing about them is – none of them (whom i know) is monolingual..it’s not something unknown or unfamiliar to us but it has to be enlightened to notice anyway..agree..?

go to the wet market and see who the majority is in making good business selling raw seafood and grocery items..in order for them to make good businesses running they have to make sure they can speak the language of the consumer whom in majority are the malays..they speak to us in malay, yes..?do they get us into buying the meat..?yes they do, successfully..

and i experienced it myself when traveling brought me to the other part of the world..i was looking for soft tofu and of course i needed to go to the asian market to find one..in serbia i could really just call it a chinese market because the sellers were all chinese..and yes they spoke serbian too! even when they’re speaking to fellow chinese, they preferred to speak in serbian..

alright here’s another example..i was boarding for frankfurt from a long transit in shanghai and i was flying with lufthansa..since the base i flew from was china, the cabin crew would of course be chinese..and upon getting my meal, the attendant came to me to confirm that i was requesting for a muslim meal..i swore he looked nothing like a german because he was absolutely a chinese but he spoke to me in german..and with less-than-basic german i assumed that was the question he intended to ask and pretended as if i understood (because he was cute! LOL!) i nod my head and said Danke ๐Ÿ™‚ *i swore he knew afterward that i wasn’t german nor chinese that when he came back he spoke english to me* TT_TT

but yeah, and he’s a living proof of a multilingual and he’s a chinese..

my point is, wherever on earth they live, chinese would always be bilingual if not multilingual..exclusion for those who stay in the mainland and have no exposure to any other languages (but i bet they know a few other dialects)..the chances are higher for them to be multilingual if they’re a product of a mixed marriage..and i really find it sexy when you don’t look anything like a native who speaks a particular language and suddenly the words of that language come out from your mouth..

p/s why i LOVE my linguistic class..?my kiwi friend speaks arabic (fluent arabic), a chinese classmate speaks german, another kiwi classmate speaks spanish and japanese, and a lecturer who screwed my french for he’s an english who speaks fluent french and spanish and german T_T oh i miss them *cry a river*

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of choosing an accent..

try to say these:

1) kenduri

2) pencuri

3) memberi

4) berdiri

5) bergerak

well, listen to your production of r(s)..you do roll your r(s) don’t you..?hence it is highly likely for malays to roll their r(s) when they speak in English..and if you still haven’t noticed, we are very much influenced by media from the states, rather than from the UK so that explains the tendency for Malaysians in general to sound more like the Americans..

eh, what’s my point again..?haha..oh..i was queuing for my burger at McDonalds and i just couldn’t help but to eavesdrop at the conversations made by the people queuing in front of me..a couple of girls were talking to each other and to my hearing they sounded so American..and just behind them were two cheeky-but-a-bit-rude guys..upon listening to the girls, the guys mocked on the girls’ accent among themselves, and the girls remained un-noticing..

i mean, guys..can i hear how you speak English..?well even if you’re not fluent in that language and you claim to have a malay accent to that language, i bet you’ll say some words like “car” “bar” “war” with a rolled “r”..and American accent doesn’t stop at the production of “r”..

well, i can say that we’re a bit confused as to which accent we would like to incorporate in our production of English..most of our vowel productions doesn’t sound like American English..like the word “plant” as we tend to pronounce it as /plษ‘nt/ instead of /plรฆnt/..or the word “past”..we say /pษ‘st/ instead of /pรฆst/, yes..?

now i think i’m making you more confuse..here’s the thing..let’s just let people use whatever accent they want to use and let’s not be so childish acting like a smarty pants mocking at their accent..we’re not native anyway so we have the privilege of choosing whichever accent we’d like use..some people adapt the American accent because their first language influences how they pronounce a particular letter hence a particular English word..can you automatically reduce your roll of “r”..?quite hard, no..?

i’m not saying which accent is more pleasant than which or which accent is more “English”..i’m just saying that it’s not wrong to adapt any of the accents..as long as they are syntactically right, phonetically sounds like English and morphologically looks like English, then it is intelligibly English..have i made myself understood..? ๐Ÿ™‚ thank you for reading..

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look, it’s NOT single-sided..

there’s always two sides to the coin – that you can’t make yourself fall into the biasness of a story by looking at a single perspective..but as a matter of fact, that is what we have been practising..to the extend of shutting our eyes and ears from acknowledging the sheer existence of the other side of the story..

look at the books we read..the characters have brown hair, blue eyes, white and play with snow during winter and speak the language of prestige..

let’s go back to reality..the readers are widespread all over the globe..say the readers are from the tropical part of African countries where they never get snow falls, and their skin color is the total opposite from the characters in the books they read, do you think they will develop a positive sense of self..?of acknowledging that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder..of acknowledging that no matter where you go nothing feels like home and that the linguistics features they own are of high in value..?

the same thing can be applied to the readers who come from the tropical part of Indian and Arabic countries..where people hold strongly to the customs and cultural practices and where boundaries between boys and girls are strictly emphasized..do you think they will develop a positive attitude towards the cultural norms, values and traditions that they have been socialized into..?of NOT wanting to hold the hands of the person (of the opposite gender) they dearly like..or exchanging hug with a friend they have not seen for a long time..or kiss even..do you think they will hate the restrictions without wanting to consider all the reasons why they cannot do like what they read..?

well, looking at it on a different side of the coin, i can say all the things like “hey, they can learn the different cultures” and “they will have a broader point of view on how the world looks like on the other side of it” and “there’s more development from that side of the world let’s learn how they make it”..yes, i can say all of the above but,

at the cost of one’s sense of self and identity..

have a look at this inspiring video..so the next time we look into something, try looking at it from a different perspective..try to be critical and again, don’t confuse critical with radical..