Since the date I started this blog, the same date I set goal and commit to proactively practice my English, I have been speaking English at home. Although I came to U.S. six years already, I had never get used to speak English at home.
I mean, why would I? First of all, it is not my native language. It is not even my second language. I speak Cantonese as my native language. When I went to elementary school, I started to learn Mandarin, then English in class. I wouldn’t say I am a Mandarin and English speaker even when I started to learn them in such a young age and for so many years, like over ten years. It was mostly because I didn’t have the language environment. Like most of the foreign language learner, we start in a classroom, memorize vocabularies and grammar. When we do not know what a word means, we look up the dictionary. This kind of traditional learning method is not as useful as other subject other than language class. Environment is the key here. A language represents a culture. It is inseparable with our surrounding. And the limitation of dictionary, that only present the most general definition, constrains our learning process. For most of the time, a word should be something more conceptual. Its meaning will change based on what and where we use it on. That is how we have slang and phrases.
Secondly, I live with my family and parents, and they speak the same native language as I do. Therefore, I felt so awkward at first. This is definitely not the most effective way to communicate. I felt like we are caveman and try to express what we wanted to say instead of say what we wanted to say. At the first week, the awkwardness grew to a point where we do not even want to talk to one another, simply because we want to save us some trouble. But what was the point of doing this if we kept it that way. So we try to do this as long as we can and talk as much as we can. Till now, we, the family, have been doing this for half a month. We are making some pretty good progress. At least we do not feel the awkwardness when we chat with English. We are more open and dare to speak whatever we want to say.