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seneca Post time: 2015-5-26 12:24
Neither you (I presume) nor I can read Chinese classics; as for Western literature in Chinese cl ...
That really depends on the use to which they apply the language. I remember meeting one Chinese who had memorized a number of Baha'i prayers in English (translated into what I would refer to as neo-archaic literary English), but whose English was poor otherwise. It turned out that she used English most frequently when getting together with English-speaking Baha'is to pray. A Korean woman I'd met could read and understand the King James New Testament because she often read it at a church attended by many English-speakers on Sundays and at home, but whose English was relatively poor otherwise sinse she really had little use for it otherwise outside of that context. I'd met one French-speaking Quebecer with poor English who could read the King James Bible too. I'd also known one Chinese quite a few years ago with relatively poor English but who would participate in poetry recitals in English.
The way I see it, if you are trying to learn and, equally importantly, maintain your English in an environment in which you have few opportunities to use English, perhaps the best strategy is to firstly determine the context in which you could use it regularly, secondly to learn the English you need for that specific context, and thirdly apply it to that context. This is especially important in a trade or profession in which English will be of limited use to you, meaning that you will need to apply it to your private life.
I've come across many textbooks in China teaching students how to hire a taxi, order a meal, or rent a hotel room in English. Honestly, when was the last time you did Snyder of these things in China. Completely useless knowledge you are sure to forget over time.
This is where language choice comes in. If you have a deaf neighbour, you might figure you could learn the local sign language and make a friend for life and then participate in the local deaf culture. If you already imagine a job in which English will be of little use, and would like to learn a second language for use outside of your professional life, Esperanto will probably suffice, quick to learn and slow to forget.
But if you're forced to learn English and see no use for it within the context of the trade or profession you want nor in your private life, the you are sure to fail at it. That's why giving language choice would undoubtedly increase the rate of success in second language learning: the student can choose to learn the language that would be of most use to him according to his personal circumstances rather than based on some theoretical use decided for him by the ministry of education.