August 28th, 2006


Learning English as a second language

For those of you who speak, read, and write English as a second language: where did you take it, and what did you do that gave you the most practice when you first had to start using it intensively for work and study?

Yes, I'm asking on behalf of a few new grad students. I have some hope for this group, though their scholastic aptitudes vary as ever. Like hpguo, almost all of the new grads have had recent ESL coursework, but a couple of them are hitting the language barrier hard.

hpguo told me back in the day that he learned the most English just by watching prime-time network TV. Banamum watched Let's Make A Deal. I wonder: how much practice do you suppose suffices for being able to follow lectures? A hundred hours? A thousand? 400,000 practice words? 4 million? Yes, very yes?

ETA, 11:10 CDT Sat 02 Sep 2006 - I forgot to ask: what was your first language (or what were your first languages)?