Teach English in Xidu Zhen - Hengyang Shi

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There are many ways in which a student of English can learn the languages, and one such way is through reading. Avid readers are likely to acquire a language in different ways from people who focus more on listening (such as listening to music or watching television). As with all methods, there are both pros and cons to learning through reading, and I will detail some of these such as: broader vocabulary and more varied sentence structures, access to different voices and ways of communicating, nuance, and pronunciation. The first positive point of learning a language through reading is the access to a broader vocabulary and more varied sentence structures. For example, there are many words that people may not use in casual daily conversation or even during formal business English. However, these words, especially descriptive words such as adjectives, adverbs, and similes, are common in writing as they are used to describe scenarios that cannot be seen visually. Likewise, sentence structure varies a lot more in written material than in everyday conversations. This is important for the flow of literature and to keep a reader’s attention. This allows learners to experience various ways one can express the same sentiment, often with the same or similar words. The same can be said for the voices used by authors. They can express different moods and intentions with subtle shifts in grammar and word usage, opening the reader to new ways of expressing themselves. There are a few potential problems reading-focused learners may face along the way however. For example, access to a vast array of vocabulary and grammar does not automatically equate to understanding. Many of these new words will have to be looked up in a dictionary, and even if time is spent memorizing this new vocabulary, there is no guarantee it will be useful as they may not be words people use regularly. The same with grammar and voice; the use of artistic literary styles of writing as a style of speech may come across as a negative, being melodramatic or pretentious. Another potential issue comes with pronunciation. Even many native speakers of English have come across a word that they have only ever read and, when trying to use it in a verbal conversation, completely mispronounces it. English spelling may have a method to the madness if you are familiar with the etymology and history of each word, but it is not always useful for understanding how the word is said. This, again, may limit the actual usefulness of the words a reader will acquire when it comes to daily interactions. However, the fact that modern communication is increasingly typed out should also be considered as pronunciation is not as necessary for such conversations as emails and text messaging. As discussed above, reading affects language acquisition in several ways, both positive and negative. It gives access to a broader array of words and sentence structures with different ways to express one’s opinions and feelings that one may not encounter from listening-based learning activities. However, this requires more effort from the learner as they need to properly research meaning and nuance to utilize these new words, but, even then, these words may not be useful for normal communication with native speakers. Additionally, reading does little for pronunciation. However, exposure to a language and its possibilities is, in my opinion, better than being restricted to strictly utilitarian words and sentences as it gives access to more information on the language and culture of the authors. And in an increasingly typed and written world, the positives may increasingly outweigh the negatives.