Current assessment of my language proficiency is as follows (in European framework).

      Vietnamese A1, Chinese A1, Japanese A1           -- Basic User
      English C1, Esperanto C1, Korean C2 (Native)      -- Proficient User

I think I can push my Vietnamese up to A2 till the end of next month just before my trip to Hanoi. My final goal of Vietnamese are B2. Even after the summer vacation in Hanoi, I will continue to learn Vietnamese till the end of this year and I will firmly grasp Vietnamese at B2 level. 

My condition of Japanese/Chinese/Vietnamese are similar - I want to speak/communicate better in these neighbor languages, but not very needed in my everyday life. I could blog/facebook/twitter frequently in these Asian languages after I get B2 level. These three languages share a wide range of words derived from ancient/written Chinese. So I guess 3 to 6 month of intensive investment would be sufficient to raise the level up to B2.

Esperanto and English are more frequent and demanding in my life. My goal is to push them to C2 level - to create a serious work, like writing/translating a valuable book(novel) before I die.

I'm now 42 years old and expected life-span will be 80+. I hope I will be active in my life untill 77, and I have more or less 35 years of active life. If I invest 2 years more in those 5 foreign languages, I think I can manage much healthier, wealthier, meaningful, and friendly life.

My maximum investment plan: Vietnamese/Chinese/Vietnamese +6 month of intensive improvement, simultaneously for B2 level, English/Esperanto: +1 year of intensive improvement, simultaneously for C2 level, up until the end of 2013. And I should feel comfortable in all five languages, from 2014 on.


Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR)

A. Basic User

A1. Breakthrough or beginner
    Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type.
    Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has.
    Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

A2. Waystage or elementary
    Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).
    Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
    Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.

B. Independent User

B1. Threshold or intermediate
    Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
    Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
    Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest.
    Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

B2. Vantage or upper intermediate 
    Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation.
    Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
    Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

C. Proficient User

C1. Effective Operational Proficiency or advanced
    Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning.
    Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
    Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
    Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

C2. Mastery or proficiency
    Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read.
    Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.
    Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations.


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  1. CY 2013.07.19 01:49 신고 Address Modify/Delete Reply

    Wow! I think it is absolutely impossible for any foreigner to master B2 level in Vietnamese in a year. And I don't see any polyglots on YouTube who can speak Mandorin/Cantonese fairly well in such a short time.

    Even only capturing the Vietnamese sound takes one and half year they say. I don't know. That is what I hear from other long experienced learners.

    • Favicon of BlogIcon multilingual 2013.07.21 09:49 신고 Address Modify/Delete

      Yes, you are right. Actually I had failed. That was last year, trying to get it just before the trip to Hanoi. Anyway I realised again that I'm not a fast learner. This year I'm going on, in my own slow method. My mission thus year would be engrave basic Vietnamese words(3000) firmly in my brain. I'm sure I can achieve that and maintain that by using a smartphone app AnkiDroid. Next year I'm going to use Pimsleur's method to achieve the flowing sound of the language. Pimsleur's method seems to be quite effective... I was trying to learn Portuguese before the trip to Sao Paulo and it was quite effective for me. The trip was canceled and I just quit the Portuguese. I am a Korean and I'm somewhat ahead because Korean has a lot common words with the Vietnamese, although the pronunciation is exotic to me, too.

English TV in Korea - Anglalingva TV en Koreio

Quite recently I was shocked by [this film], in which a girl (Yogaile is her name) is playing with a toy duck, speaking herself in English. Yogaile is 6 years old and she speaks 3 other languages, and understands 4 other languages. She has learned English from TV. Wow! Just let the TV talk to your babies, and the babies would learn English by themselves without any help of the parents. What a great idea!

Tre lastatempe mi surprizis pro [ĉi thiu filmo], kie troviĝas infaneto (Jogaile, ŝia nomo) ludas sola parolante en la angla. Ŝi estas 6 jaraĝa kaj ŝi parolas 3 aliajn lingvojn, komprenas eĉ plian lingvon. Ŝi lernis la anglan helpe de la televidilo. Ho, kiel bonega! Simple la televidilo parolu en la angla al via bebo, kaj la bebo mem lernu la anglan sen helpo de gepartroj. Kia bona ideo!

It's good to try the same thing in my family. Why not now! Alas, however, I have never seen such an English channels for kids in Korea. Heck...? After a few days of searching through the Internet, and I found that there are such channels available on satelite channels (SkyLife in Korea), with some extra payment for the channels.

Estus bone provi la saman en mia propra familio. Kial ne nun! Sed tamen, tre suspire, mi neniam vidis tian kananlon de la angla lingvo specife por infanojn en koreio. Ho, ve! Post unu-du-taga serĉado, mi trovis ke ja estas kanaloj haveblaj ĉe la satelita kanalo (SkyLife en koreio), kun tre malmulte da aldona pago.

I have never hezitated in subscribing the satelite channel, right after the investigation over the internet. Cable guys came and installed a parabola antenna on the front window of my home. My son readily started to love the channels, especially the "Kids Talk Talk" channel.

Mi neniam hezitis aboni la satelitan kanalon, tuj post mia serĉado de la interreto. Laboristoj de la satelit-kanala kompanio venis kaj instalis parabolan antenon sur la antaŭa fenestro de mia hejmo. Mia filo tuje ekamis la kanalojn, specife la "Kids Talk Talk" kanalon.

From now on, I'll never have to worry about English for my 5 year-old-son. Just let the TV care for that.

Ekde nun, mi neniam plu zorgos pri la angla por mia 5-jaraĝa filo. Simple la Televidilo faru tion anstataŭ mi.

I think this would be the last time for me to pay money for my son's English.

Mi pesas, ke ĉi tio estus la lasta fojo de mo por pagi ian monon por la angla lingvo de mia filo.

--Nomota, 2008-02-28


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  1. Favicon of BlogIcon jerseys for cheap 2010.08.24 15:00 신고 Address Modify/Delete Reply

    Ekde nun, mi neniam plu zorgos pri la angla por mia 5-jaraĝa filo. Simple la Televidilo faru tion anstataŭ mi.

Chojus Family - a model case of a multilingual family.

Chojus /choyous/ is a long friend of mine and his family is a perfect model for a multilingual environment. He, a native korean, has married to a Lithuanian wife and has a 6-year-old daughter. His family is now at Vilnius, Lithuania. His daughter, Yogaile, speaks 4 languages now, Lithuanian/Korean and Russian/English. How is that possible?

Ĉojus estas malnova amiko de mi, kaj lia familio estas perfekta modelo de multlingveco en familio. Li, koreo, edziĝis kun Litova edzino kaj havas nun 6-jaraĝan filinon. Lia familio nun estas ĉe Vino, Litovio. Lia filino, Jogaile, nun parolas 4 lingvojn, la litova/korea kaj la rusa/angla. Kiel tio estis ebla?

My friend Chojus, the father, always speaks in Korean, and the mother always talks in Lithuanian. It's a famous principle of multilingual family - OPOL (One Person One Language). He and his wife quite simply follow the rule, because each parent simply speaks in one's own mother tongue. He stresses that each parent should stick to only one language, at least up to first 3 years from the birth.

Mia amiko Ĉojus, la patro, ĉiam parolas en la korea, kaj la patrino ĉiam parolas en la litova. Estas fama principo de multlingva familio - UPUL (Unu persono, Unu lingvo). Li kaj lia edzino tre facile sekvas la principon, ĉar ili parolas nur en la lingvo gepatra. Li diras, ke la gepatroj devas sekvi la UPUL principon tre rigide, almenaŭ ĝis 3-jaraĝo.

After a long sleep, Russian will again be an important language in the near future. So, Yogaile, the daughter, goes to a Russian-speaking kindergarden. As for English, nobody teaches her. She learns herself by watching on TV comic channel for children. Almost all the time at home, the TV is on playing English comic films. He puts it this way - "I pay the electricity bill, instead of sending the daughter to a private English school."

Post longa dormo, la rusa denove fariĝos grava lingvo en tre proksima estonto. Kaj do Jogaile, la filino, iras al infana ĝardeno de rusa lingvo. Por la angla, neniu pri-zorgas. Ŝi lernas ĝin kun si mem, rigardante la televidan bildo-filman kananlon por infanoj. Preskaŭ ĉiam en la hejmo, la televidilo estas ŝaltita ludante bildo-dramon en la angla. Li klarigas la situacion ĉimaniere - "Mi pagas kontraŭ la elektro, anstataŭ sendi mian filinon al privata lernejo de la angla."

He and his wife speak in Esperanto each other. They just met each other in a Esperanto society. And the daughter always listens her parents speaking in Esperanto everyday, and she understands the fifth language.

Li kaj lia edzino parolas en Esperanto unu la alia, ĉar ili konatiĝis unu la alia ĉe Esperanto-societo. Kaj la filino ĉiam aŭskultas la gepatrojn parolantajn en Esperanto ĉiutage, kaj ŝi komprenas la kvinan lingvon.

Oh, how many languages! But this kind of multilinguality is not rare at Esperanto family in Europe. I think this case is a perfect example of a successful family. The key success factor in this case is not the languages themselves, but the stability of the family filled with love, with very little disturbance. Love is more needed than languages, for a child.

Ho, kiom multe da lingvoj! Tamen ĉi tia multlingveco estas ne malofta en Esperanto-familio en eŭropo. Mi pensas, ke ĉi tiu familio estas perfekta ekzemplo de sukcesa familio. La kerna sukses-ŝlosilo de ĉi tiu familio ne estas la lingvoj mem, sed la stabileco de la familio plena je amo, kun tre malmulte da malhelpoj. Amo estas pli necesa ol la lingvoj, por infano.

Here's the daughter talking in Korean with his father. She speaks Korean fairly well, though her pronunciation isn't quite natural.

Jen la filino parolas en la korea kun sia patro. Ŝi parolas la korean tre bone, kvankam la prononco ne estas perfekte natura.

Here's Yogaile playing with a toy duck, talking to herself in English.

Jen estas Jogaile kiu ludas kun anaso-pupoj, parolante en la angla.

--Nomota, 2008-02-12.

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  1. Favicon of BlogIcon 초유스 2008.02.13 03:21 신고 Address Modify/Delete Reply

    Dankon pro via prezento de mia familio. Jogaile estas nun 6-jara. Ŝi naskiĝis en novembro de 2001.

English Storms in Korea

English 2008.01.25 14:30 |
English Storms in Korea

New government in Korea is going to reform its policies on education, especially about language education. Some of ther reformist insist that teachers should be teaching science and mathematics in English, even the history of Korea in English. That's too far away from the reality and I think it's unrealistic.

At least, however, the TEE (Teaching English in English) policy is very promising. This kind of policy should have been introduced years ago... What's surprising in Korean education is that one can be an English teacher without proper qalification - teaching skills using English as a media, not the target. If you visit an English class in Korea, you might hear mostly Korean, not English. How can we possibly expect students speak/understand English if they hear mostly Korean?

Teachers should teach English in English, by English, and using English. That's mostly lack in Korean educational environment.

But in Korea, most English teachers (more than 95% of them) themselves should be educated again in a completely different way, which is not easily found in Korean environment. Regarding the current status, TEE is promising, but very difficult.


Related article:

Related term: Language immersion

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  1. Favicon of BlogIcon ED Hardy Shop 2010.08.24 15:00 신고 Address Modify/Delete Reply

    Teachers should teach English in English, by English, and using English. That's mostly lack in Korean educational environment.

Why do you blog in English?

I'm a father of an Esperantist-from-the-birth. (In Esperanto we have a special word 'denaska esperantisto', meaning that an Esperantist who acquired the language from the birth.) So my main concern is to make my son speak Esperanto as a native tongue.

When I thought of blogging, I first tried to open an Esperanto blog, but later I changed my mind. Perhaps, I can have much more readers in English than in Esperanto. Esperantists-from-the-birth would be a perfect proof of utility of the language Esperanto.

--Nomota, 2008-01-10.

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Bringing up a child bilingually with minor languages

Raising children bilingually is a wonderful thing. It's like you endow your children with a lifelong advantage for some areas. In Korea, English is regarded as some kind of privileged language, and a lot of parents find the bilingualism (Korean/English) as the perfect gift for their children.

As far as English is concerned... that's relatively easier, because there are everywhere found abundant English materials.

However, if the concerned language is some minor (or regarded as minor) language, the problem becomes quite serious. As for my case, I'm bringing up my 4-year-old son as a Korean/Esperanto bilingual. Most of neighbouring people show some kind of uneasy worry about the language of the child. Wouldn't it be better to give him English?

사용자 삽입 이미지

Jinho, 4 years old, Korean/Esperanto bilingual

In my opinion, English is a language of school... So my son will learn English anyway, throughout the course of education. Even the kindergardens provide English program in Korea. So I think that English for my son is all up to himself. He'll get English without any help from me.

I have a plan of Chinese for my son. When my son will start to learn Chinese letters (roughly at the age of 13) I will help him only in Chinese(Mandarin) pronunciation for each letter. If he gets certain level of Mandarin pronunciation, he'll learn the Mandarin a lot easier than me. That's my plan, and eventually I expect my son will learn at least 4 languages. (Korean/Esperanto natively, English himself, Chinese with the help from me) Perhaps he'll choose at least one of other major languages - Russian/German/French/Italian/Japanese, totally up to his own interest. Just like I learned myself German/Japanese/Chinese of my own interest.

One principle of multi(bi)lingualism for parenting is ...

"You care for the minor languages only. Major languages will be learned by child itself anyway."

--Nomota, 2008-01-02.

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Mr. Claud Piron from Swiss is one of my favorite writers in Esperanto. He is famous for his easy novels in Esperanto. When I had first read his book "In fact or in fantasy" (Fakte aŭ Fatazie), which was written only in beginners' words (with only about 500 very basic words), I was shocked by the beauty of the style.

Personally I haven't met Mr. Claude Piron, but he's very intimate to me. Now I found his voice at YouTube... thanks to the Internet. In this video clip, my hero introduces Esperanto in English.

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Father's Bilingual Family Project - Negative Questions.

Even native bilingual children show difficulties when they are first exposed to the radical differences between the two languages. One of those differences is 'negative question.' Unlike in most European languages, you have to say 'Yes' in East Asian languages when you agree to the given negative question. In this case, 'Yes' means, "I agree".

Therefore, for Asian people, answering to the negative question is quite hard to achieve. If you are among Korean or Japanese, you may hear quite often...

 Q: Haven't you had the hamburger?
 A: Yes. (... meaning that the answerer have not.)

So bilingual children do not easily distinguish the difference at first. My son, an Korean-Esperanto native speaker, had the same problem. In my son's case, Korean is far more advanced than Esperanto, because he listens a lot more Korean spoken by everybody except father. So he tended to respond in Korean way.

What makes more confusing is that the Korean word of affirmative answer 'Ne' (meaning 'Yes') is conincidently same with Esperanto word of negation 'Ne' (meaning 'No'). As the only Esperanto speaker around him, every time I have to guess his answer, whether he's responding in Esperanto or in Korean, when a negative question is given.

After a long period of corrections by me, my son Jinho, is now able to distinguish this kind of differences in the two languages quite well. For example, my wife says in Korean, "Haven't you been to the kindergarden, today?", Jinho answers 'Ne (Yes in Korean way)' noding his head up-and-down, but when I asks him in Esperanto right after, "Ĉu vi ne iris?" (Haven't you been?), he answers "Ne" (No, in European way) and swinging his head left and right.

It took long time to make this distinction. My way is to repeat everytime when he answers wrong for negative questions.
  Me: Ĉu vi ne tuŝis ĝin? (Haven't you touched it?)
  Son: Jes (Yes.) ... meaning that he haven't...
  Me: Jes, vi tuŝis? (Yes, you have?)
  Son: Ne. (No)
  Me: Ne, ne. Vi ne tuŝis! (No, no. You haven't.)

This way, I repeated and showed how I understood after negative questions, for at least 6 months. Now Jinho is 4 years old and shows clear distinction.

As for myself, I am not a good English speaker, and I feel uneasy whenever I listen a negative answer on a negative question.

Language is not what is to be learned by brain, but something to be aquired by skins, by hands, by heart and perhaps by butts.


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  1. Favicon of BlogIcon wholesale nhl jerseys 2010.08.24 14:58 신고 Address Modify/Delete Reply

    This way, I repeated and showed how I understood after negative questions, for at least 6 months. Now Jinho is 4 years old and shows clear distinction.

I'm living in Seoul, Korea. Korean society is a quite monolingual society, but the whole Korean peninsula is mad at learning English. English in Korea means some kind of previlige. Those who have acquired English to a certain level are esteemed as being 'successful' person. Henceforth a lot of Korean parents want to raise their children as being near-native in English, by sending the children in some English schools. Even the kindergardens provide English program done by some 'native speakers'. The existence of blue-eyed white English speaker is very important to those kindergardens to gather new children.

Alas, however, my choice of language isn't English. 'Esperanto' is my language of choice. In Esperanto world, there's a word 'denaska esperantisto' (Esperantist since the birth), which means to the parents the ultimate love and dedication to the language.

I've long studied about languages. English gives a lot of chances in Korean society, but I feel very uneasy about English, because of the education that I've come through, which seemed like almost military training. I want to speak English well enough, but I cannot 'love' it.

Esperanto, on the other hand, is a language for everyone. I feel at home when I speak Esperanto, even in front of an audience of higher level of academy, because everybody there is equal to Esperanto.

I speak only in Esperanto, when I am with my child, Jinho, who is 4 years old. My boy understands both languages, Korean and Esperanto. It's simple to follow the traditional strategy about bilingualism: One person one language (OPOL).
Seemingly the monolingual environment of Korean society is overwhelming and the Korean of my son is far more in advance, in spite of all my efforts. Lots of Esperantists has just stopped speaking Esperanto when they had found the gap was too large to overcome, so there are more failure-stories than successful ones, around me.

However I had studied deeper enough. The balance of the languages is not important, if the minor language keeps being strong enough for normal conversation. My son will improve himself for the minor language, later on when he'll feel the necessity. My job is to keep being persistent at speaking Esperanto at least 10 years, until when my son will be able to read Esperanto books himself. After that, it would be up to him, whether to continue or to stop.

Lots of people show admiration when they see my son speaking Esperanto, and they readily ask why I do not try it in English. "Well... Let him learn himself English."

Recently, lots of Korean men (mostly from rural area) had married to some in-migrant wives from abroad (mostly from South East Asia), and I think their family would also have the same language problem. The children has to learn at least three languages for being a harmonized person, the father-tongue (Korean), the mother-tongue (Vietnamese, etc), and the language of the future career (mostly English). However as far as I guess, those families just neglect the minor language (of mother), for various reasons. I think it's bad not for the mother but also for the family as a whole because of the unbalanced perceptions of languages. From the perspectives of the society, it's not good either. Why not bring language diversity to Korean society?

Would such things or English break monolingual scene of Korean society? No way in my lifetime. Korean society is too uniform to be linguistically diversed.


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Jinho Kaj mi - 2007

Saluton! Ĵino kaj Nomota.

My son, Jinho, is now 3 years old. I'd like to share my experience as a father of a bilingual boy, why and how I became a bilingual father and how I'm trying to keep going on.

Just like all the other Korean people, I myself was from a very uni-lingual environment and I was always interested in foreign languages and foreign cultures. That's why I decided to be a father of a bilingual child.

'Bilingual' in Korea means almost always a 'Korean-English' one. But for my case, English is not the language of choice. I choosed Esperanto instead, because I love to speak in Esperanto. I love to meet Esperantists around the world.

Thanks for visiting my first Multilngual Families blog.
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