Friday, October 20, 2006

Learning Better English

One writer to Malaysiakini informed us that he improved his English by watching English langugage TV programmes (from Singapore).

I don't entirely disagree with the educational value of that but is there be a better way to master English?

Watching TV of course appeals to the receptor's most important sense, his/her vision. Educators have asserted that our visual sense dominates our learning by as much as 75% , whilst our audio sense rules only some 15%.

This is of course only a general rule, because when it comes to more specific learning like driving or making roti (bread) or sewing, the sense of touch assumes equal if not greater importance than the audio sense. Wine tasting of course calls upon the sense of taste and smell, and learning to be a perfume expert ... well, you make a guess.

However, our visual-audio senses takes in not the language of the TV programme but the message it conveys - violence? cruelty? hatred? foreign pop culture and practices?

While there is no doubt that visual-audio media is great for learning English, what about the old hobby/practice of reading or just listening to good radio programmes?


  1. Is his English improved in terms of speaking or listening? I have watched cantonese drama since kid, and the result is: i can understand cantonese well by listening but still a very poor speaker.

  2. You must speak proper English and write proper English to improve upon your English. Otherwise you will continue to exhibit fossilised errors.

    Read English books, watch the English news and speak whenever the opportunity arises. This will certainly put you in the right direction.


  3. And if the opportunity arises, chat with some Caucasian/English-speaking folk. It helps a lot.

  4. Hey, I learnt the better part of the Queen's English (racial slurs and all) from Mind Your Language, so don't knock TV.

    Por Favor?

  5. Mm koi ... and a thousand apologies ;-)