Tuesday, 15 January 2008

English Science and Mathematics.

I read a story on a Blog that translates Korean language news stories in to English for people like me who are totally inept with that language. You can find the whole article here.

The article describes how, for the first time ever, there will be a school that will present Science and Mathematics in English only without using Korean at all. I know this sounds amazing, and for people who are first language speakers it is cool, but for someone who grew up speaking another language and went to school in that other language, all I can say it "WHY?!"

Why do you need to rape your own language like this? You don’t need to force people to give up their own language like this. Today it’s Math and Science, next it’s everything (There is a school for that already). Improve their English, don’t make them English. It’s just useful language, not the mother tongue of god.

I firmly believe that popular media will get much better results. The government, and possibly the population as well, are so hung up on Formal Education that they fail to the see possibility of teaching the whole country, not just the children. Have a free government sponsored English TV channel.

I know you will say "But we already have those." No we don’t. We have channels where the audio is English, but most Koreans read the subtitles. They don’t listen. Take it from someone who can listen to my mother tongue and read English at the same time (We do this all the time in South Africa). You need to be very good to learn anything this way. You need to be able to understand the words and context, translate it, read the Korean and then compare the two, all at the same time. Unless your English is already good, you’ll be reading the Korean and ignore the audio. It’s easy to notice Koreans who don’t read the subtitles. They can actually speak decent English and know quite a bit of the usable everyday slang.

At the moment Korean TV airs the same English films for 3 to 4 months running. I have almost completely stopped watching TV because I've actually seen everything. This new channel should put some money into getting descent, up to date films. Needless to say sitcoms and such are needed as well. It should show these WITHOUT the subtitles. This will, hopefully, get the people to want to watch the great new films and they will be forced learn by the most natural method available, listening and association. That how people have been doing it through the ages.

I hope this channel will also remember that only Americans speak American English. The rest of the English speaking world uses something closer to British. Children need to be made aware of this. They tell me I’m wrong in writing “-se” and not “-ze”. Only America does that.

Side note…
This month I’m going to put serious effort in to learning Korean. My TV will be, almost exclusively, on Korean channels. Korean channels, if you haven’t guessed by now, don’t have English subtitles.

*Please note that statements in this Blog are not intended to make anyone look bad. I do not look down on Koreans. I understand that they are only doing their best.

No comments: