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I was born in a small village outside Kodiang Town. It was a Malay village and most of the villager work as farmer. I was raised up in Malay family and my native language was Malay. My parent work as educator until today, but they had basic knowledge about English because their studies not an English Education. It was a long journey for me to learn English and until this moment I still continue to master this language. Beside English, I also got opportunities to learn Arabic language in a formal education. I also try to learn other foreign language by my own such as Japanese.
Even my parents do not talk English at home, but they always encourage and support me to learn English. At the age of four years old my mother always bought many flash card, book with picture, puzzle and colouring book for me. After she getting back from school she will take one of the books and pronounced the word and ask me to repeat it. My mother also uses some English word to teach me about common object that we could found in my house. She will said “that is cat, cat, a cat” and I will repeated slowly “cat”. At the age of five years old, my mother had sent me to kindergarten. At there, I started my first formal lesson with English. The teacher teaches us about the letter A to Z, number 1 to 10, spelling and also pronunciations.
When I enter primary school by the age of seven years old, I already used few English words in my daily conversation. The common words that I always used with my family and friends is “baby”, “colour”, “bag”, “toilet” and others. I got very motivated teacher at that time; he always inspired me to talk fluently in English. His name is Mr Zamarul Hisham Bin Kamaruddin. One of his teaching technique is he wanted us to have our own personal dictionaries and each student must bring that dictionaries every day to school. The use of that dictionary is for student to record every single new word that we learn in his classes or from other teacher. I think he did help student a lot in learning this language. During this time my mother also encourages me to read lots.
My passion is always on science and technologies and mother know I love science very much. So, she bought me hundreds of English science book during my childhood. Book about fact on animals, plants, car, building and astronomy is among my favorite book at that time. Sometime I does not read at all because science term are difficult to understand for me at that age, but I really love to looking at those picture. Another effort of my mother to make me understand English well is by reading bedtime story books. Each month she will take me to Popular Bookstore to bought one bedtime story book. I always choose story book that have been write by Grid Blyton. The story that he write always have moral value and lesson for children to learn. Every night I spend some time with my mother to read those stories book. I always ask a lot to my mother about each story which such a great curiosity.
Beside from reading books and formal lesson in school, another environment which also gives big influence for me to learn English is the exposure to technologies. In early ages, English cartoon program such as Sesame Street, Barney and Friends, Blue’s Clues and Mickey Mouse and Friends help me to communicate and understand English. Sesame Street encourages me to learn by demonstrating how people use various strategies, such as observing and predicting, to explore the world around me. Watching cartoon in English helps to hone my listening skills and learn how English is actually spoken. In addition through watching television, we learn with our desire and not by force like in classroom. So, I can learn a lot through watching television. I also can learn about general knowledge, science fact and recent news when I watch documentary on National Geographic and Discovery Channel. Another advantage to watching television is the learning of playing with words. English taught in schools can be very rigid and sometimes the words are straight out of the book. Learning through television though is very good for pronunciation because the learner can actually hear the words spoken as they should be.
Another innovation of technologies which help to develop my English skill was computer and mobile phone. As those gadget was invented and it become a trend for everybody to use it, I realized that it also help me to improve my vocabulary in English. All the term used in technologies was an English word and the term like “make a call”, “sending massage”, “printout”, “copy and paste” and others was widely use after the technologies was invented. I also learn a lot of new vocabulary through playing game on computer. Strategic game such as Red Alert 2, Call of Duty and Modern War used high vocabulary of word to explain the goal of each game. Sometimes I had to open up my dictionaries or seek the certain meaning of words from the internet to understand the task given in the game. If I cannot understand the task or the mission, I cannot compete and win the game.
I like to write a narrative essay. This is because narrative or stories is an open essay which I can use my own imagination to write those essays. In public examination such as PMR and SPM, I always choose the narrative essay to answer. My Secondary School teacher, Madam Asliza Binti Zubir always encourages me to develop my fiction writing skill. She gives me a lot of fiction stories for me to get idea and inspiration to write a better first individual essay using my own imagination. My life’s principle for learning language also helps me to improve my English skill. I believe that to master the certain language desire is important for a person to explore and discover the language by himself. It does not need a formal education to learn other language. As long as there are desire and effort, we can learn what ever language we want through any medium of learning. I prove myself by learning Arabic language in school and learning Japanese through anime. I notice that, I easily memorize Japanese words when watching Japanese anime more than all the memorizing activities of Arabic class in school.
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