I was born in China. I started learning Chinese with my parents not long before I was born. I had Chinese lessons in my primary school, middle school and high school. But during that period of study time, I had no feeling about Chinese. What I only understood at that time was that it is only a language called Chinese. I was very sorry for myself that I got the lowest mark of Chinese at the college entrance examination in my class, and I found that I had read very few books after graduation from college.
In my middle school time, I started to learn English. It was not called English at that time. The course was called Foreign Language. I had no idea about language at that time. Chinese is my mother tongue, and everybody speaks Chinese around me. I didn’t even realize Chinese is a kind of language. English for me was just like Politics or History. What I need to do was reciting for examination.
I also had learned many kinds of computer programming language since middle school until I have been working for companies for many years. First, I learned BASIC in middle school, then PASCAL, assembly and C programming language in college. After graduation, I earned many years experience of C programming language in Corp. I master C programming language. Half a year ago, I gave up C and transferred to Sales Department. Even I master the C programming language, I still didn’t realize what a language means.
A few days ago, I just came back from Germany. I appreciate that this one month German trip makes me understood what language is.
When I went into German supermarket at the first time, I was very upset by the German language all around. I could not find English which I had studied since middle school. It was a waste that I had studied so many years English that I could not still recognize even a single German word. I was so upset that I could not describe my feelings. After calm down, I found that I made a mistake. I should not consider that English is used in German supermarket in default. And then, I made myself thinking some problems about language. What is Chinese? Why we start to learn English in primary school? Why not German……
Language is used for communication. When there is no obstacle in communication, the importance of language itself will be ignored easily. Let’s take Chinese for example. We all speak Chinese. We feel easy to communicate with each other in Chinese. So we sometimes ignore Chinese itself which is also needed to be practiced. Language is a very important ability for everyone. Language can be used for communication, even negotiation. People who master language can do something which someone else who does not master it can not do. We can tell that someone is capable of doing something big or not from his degree of mastering a language.
Language is a symbol system created by human used for express meanings. Human language is just like computer programming language. Making program is just like telling computer what should be done. It is similar with to speaking. We judge a program good or bad by reading the program to find that it is clear or not. Computer language is also a symbol system which has independent grammar. Nowadays, there are many different computer languages. My major in college is computer science. I can deeply understand the different features, different scenarios for these different languages. Different countries have different languages, too. The fact is established by history. But different symbol systems can express the same meanings!
After facing all German word supermarket and making the problem above clear, I made up my mind that there will be no problem if I express my meanings clearly. There is no problem if you don’t know German. But, I also make up my mind that I need to continue my language study. I want to make foreigners understand me better. The best way to reach it is using their mother tongue. I am not afraid of learning foreign languages any more. It is just a symbol system. Making myself familiar with the symbol system and just use it bravely.
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