REQUIRED EFFORT IN ORDER TO ACQUIRE A PROFICIENCY IN ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE BETWEEN DIFFERENT NATIONALITIES AGED 15-30

Kostiantyn Kriuchkov

 

Introduction

Learning a second language is becoming vital in almost every developed country in the world, because it can be a truly powerful tool. English language, not only considered to be as one of the most common among spoken languages, but also one of the most learned as a second language, can be learned for many purposes (Crystal, 2010). For example, English is commonly learned for business and work, to facilitate communication with partners from different parts of the world. Hence, to achieve highly ambitious goals in terms of international business cooperation, proficiency in English is absolutely crucial. However, the effort made for attaining proficiency varies significantly, depending on a range of factors. One of those is the cultural factor, the cultural background, because when learning a second language there is a need in adaptation to a different culture (Lai, 2014, p.5). However, English language is not usually learnt to integrate in British or American culture, but just to have an opportunity to explore any other international culture. However, it is often used just as a tool for communication globally (Lai, 2014, p.8).

While estimating the effort, it is also important to consider which language is the native language of a speaker because, if it belongs to another language family, the effort needed to acquire proficiency will distinct so much comparing with if those were in the same. For example, such languages as Chinese, Japanese or Arabic are completely different from English not only in grammar, but in the characters and in the way of writing.

This research aims to identify an estimated difference in efforts put into learning English in various cultures, depending on their mother tongue. Moreover, this statistical data could reveal how much effort needed to reach different levels of competence in English language.

 

Existing Theory

Csizér and Dörnyei (2005, p.28) state that term called integrativeness, as a willingness to have an ability to interact with another cultural group, is a key factor that motivates to learn a second language. However, Gardner, Smythe, and Gliksman (1976 as cited in Yamashiro and McLaughlin, 2000, p.116) claim that motivation is important only at a start of a second language acquiring, because ultimately anxiety during the studies can influence the language proficiency even more. Yamashiro and McLaughlin (2000, p.118) also note that despite the increase in motivation to speak English among Japanese students it does not correlate with more effort and consequently higher competence. On the other hand, Chapelle and Roberts (1986) point out ambiguity tolerance (AT) and field independence (FI) as two important individual factors, high levels of which can increase the chance of successful second language acquisition. As they describe, field independent person tends to solve problems more analytically than globally (Chapelle and Roberts, 1986, p.28). Similarly, person who has more ambiguity tolerance can remain in calm state and less tend to avoid ambiguous situations (Chapelle and Roberts, 1986, p.30).

Methodology

The research will be conducted mainly among International students from the UK universities INTO City and Newcastle. Research is aiming to recognise the difference in English learning habits between various nationalities, if there is one. Although the research will focus on students who use English as a second language, few native speakers will also be asked. Age of these students is expected to be from 16 to 30. These who took IELTS will only be considered, thus the results could be analysed properly.

Questionnaire consists of 21 questions, most of them are for description how English was learnt, to identify and then compare intensity of learning. Most answers have multiple choice to determine the range, to avoid focusing on an exact figure. For example, age is divided by time-frames 15-18, 19-25 and 26-30.

In order to collect more data and to speed up the process of writing the answers, a program was created using mobile application called Telegram. While the students are interviewed, all the answers will be saved directly in the computer. By the reason of the small project scale, the sample will be narrowed to approximately 30 people. Nevertheless, within this sample it could be possible to identify patterns.

All the data is going to be analysed through charts in the program Microsoft Excel.

Results

There were 29 participants in this survey, 62% and 38% of them were men and women respectively. Most of the respondents were from separate countries, however among them, 4 were from Russia, 4 from China and 5 from Ukraine. There were only 3 participants older than 25 years, thus the results will be focused on the age range of 15-25. Less than 8% of the participants have English as their mother tongue. IELTS scores were distinctive to a certain extent, vary from 4.5 to 8.5, with the average score of 6 – 6.5. All the students learned English in school and a vast majority attended additional classes either of General English, or specific courses such as these which focus on writing/reading techniques, or IELTS courses. All students who had additional English lessons, attended them at least once a week, although nearly half of all studied more frequently, 2-3 times a week. More than a third of respondents had an average lesson of 2 hours and more. Half of all people said they always had a desire to learn English language and the other half said their parents influenced them to start learning it. Almost 80% of respondents enjoy watching films in English, with or without subtitles. Interestingly, 60% and 52% of participants enjoy reading books and listening to radio or podcasts in English respectively. This doesn`t include taught materials. Nonetheless, most of them agreed that it doesn`t happen very often during intensive studies.

Discussion

According to findings, school lessons of English provide just very basic knowledge, thus most of the participants took additional courses of English, to acquire higher proficiency. As the survey was done mostly between foundation and graduate students, it is clear that just after school all of them lacked proficiency in English for abroad studies. It is can be compared with 4 — 5 IELTS grade, which can be enough for a foundation course, but definitely not for a graduate or a postgraduate.

A third of the students were asked about the purpose of learning English and the majority of them agreed that it is primarily learnt for instrumental purposes. They intend to attain such ambitious goals as entering the top university, being able to acquire high quality education and as a result, becoming a professional with a diploma of high standard. These responses were predictable, as the research was done among students, however, what separated them from each other is that whether they are going to return back home, or not; and whether they are going to use English at the future work. Generally, there was a slight correlation between higher IELTS band if the intended job requires English.

Another interesting pattern derives from the chart of IELTS and Gender relationship. Among all participants, women performed slightly better than men on average of IELTS bands.

Significant limitation of this survey is the small sample, because all the variables which account for the intensity of learning doesn’t clarify the relationship with the higher performance. Furthermore, high intensity of learning sometimes takes place when a student has a very short period for learning and, in that case, might correlate with lower language acquisition.

Conclusion

The collected data, presented in this paper, can hardly establish a strong relationship either between any habits of learning a second language and a nationality, or between a way of learning and proficiency. Nevertheless, the data indicates that a long-term constant learning of English could be a major factor in high proficiency, even more contributory than a single short-period intensive course.

Variables of intensity, such as length of lessons, frequency of lessons and regularity of each single course, can be flattened with low motivation, high anxiety during studies and other factors, like ambiguity intolerance and field dependence. Factors mentioned above explain that proficiency in a second language is a highly individual aspect, so in order to establish a relationship, there is a need in a further deep survey with a larger sample and questions about behaviour determinants.

References

Chapelle, C. and Roberts, C. (1986) “Ambiguity tolerance and field independence as predictors of proficiency in English as a second language” Language learning36(1), pp. 27-45.

Clément, R. (1986) “Second language proficiency and acculturation: An investigation of the effects of language status and individual characteristics” Journal of Language and social Psychology5(4), pp. 271-290.

Csizér, K. and Dörnyei, Z. (2005) The internal structure of language learning motivation and its relationship with language choice and learning effort. The modern language journal89(1), pp.19-36.

Lai, H.Y.T. (2013) “Learning English as an international language: EFL learners’ perceptions of cultural knowledge acquisition in the English classroom” Asian Social Science10(1), p.1.

Yamashiro, A.D. and McLaughlin, J. (2001) “Relationships among attitudes, motivation, anxiety, and English language proficiency in Japanese college students” Second language research in Japan, pp. 112-126.

 

 

 

Questionnaire

1 Age 15-18  |  19-25  |  26-30
2 Gender Male  |  Female
3 Nationality Country
4 Is English your first or second language? First  |  Second  |  Third or more
5 What is your first language? Any
6 Does it have any similar words with English? No  |  Yes, a bit  |  Yes, lots of
7 How long have you been learning English? Since you were born  |  Since 4  |  Since 5-8  |  Since 9-15  |  Few years ago
8 Was it learnt at school? Yes  |  No
9 Did you attend additional classes specially for English? Yes  |  No
10 Have you learnt it all the time regularly or not? Yes |  No
11 If not all time, what were the breaks? Weeks  |  Months  |  Years
12 How often did you learn English Every day  |  2-3 times a week  |  once a week  |  2-3 times a month
13 How long were your classes? 45 mins | 1 hour  |  1:30  |  2 hours  |  2:30 and more
14 What is your IELTS average score? Any
15 What is the minimum IELTS score needed to enter the intended UNI Any
16 Apart from studying, do you watch films in English regularly? Yes  |  No
17 Same: read books in English? Yes  |  No
18 Same: listen to radio/podcasts in English? Yes  |  No
19 Was it your desire to learn English? Yes  |  My parents forced me initially  |  My parents forced me all the time  |  I don`t know

 

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Argumentative essay

IS THE “PASSIVE HOUSE” SYSTEM THE MOST COST-EFFECTIVE OPTION FOR OWNING A PRIVATE HOUSE?

The controversy surrounding global warming has largely resulted in agreement, and an increasing concern to reduce CO2 emissions. Building an energy-efficient private house could be a particularly intelligent approach to make a contribution towards this. Generally, private houses can be divided into three types, depending on their efficiency: standard, low-energy and passive. While the standard house is designed with the minimum requirements of insulation, the low-energy is designed in almost the same way, but with a reduction in energy losses from the building, which allows it to operate with lesser energy consumption. The passive house is designed with even more sophisticated technology, decreasing the amount of consumed electricity or gas for heating to the bare minimum (Audenaert, Cleyn and Vankerckhove, 2008, p.48). This house, comparing with the standard house, spends up to three times less energy. The reduction in the energy consumption means lesser energy demand, which, in a larger scale, can significantly reduce the volume of emitted carbon dioxide from the power stations.

On the other hand, the primary concern is usually about the house cost-effectiveness, rather than reduction CO2 emissions. Thus, a reasonable balance between the expenses on acquisition a particular type of a house and the charges for energy would be expected by a future owner, but owing to the wide price variance between a passive house and a standard house, a purchaser is more prone to choose the standard one. Undoubtedly, initial price of any house does not include expected energy charges, which a passive house would aims to reduce. Nonetheless, despite the significant amount of money saved on electricity bills, the profitability of a passive house seems to be very low (Audenaert, Cleyn and Vankerckhove, 2008). This essay will try to evaluate the arguments for and against owning a passive house and discuss the advisability of having one.

Passive house, as the idea of air-tight, super-insulated house is designed to keep indoor temperature, humidity and air quality at the most comfort level and to reduce indoor dust level, minimising needed energy for additional heating (Badescu, 2007, p. 896). The temperature in passive houses can usually be kept at about 20-23 degrees Celsius throughout a year (Feist et al, 2005, p. 1190). Moreover, this concept also allows to gain the energy from the environment, using solar panels. Furthermore, it even increases the effectiveness of solar energy generation by positioning the building in a specific way. The longer side of a house should be located along east-west line, with bedroom windows facing south (for the northern hemisphere). As the sun moves from the east to the west, the majority of the sun energy will be more constantly obtained if the solar panels are oriented towards the south. They also can be combined with the shading system, which prevents overheating in summer, but does not obstruct the light in winter. These devices can simply be the solar panels, which angled specifically, so they do not only obstruct the light, when it is needed, but also generate an energy from it. Thus, a concept of a house, which can save energy, use a free renewable energy to provide its own needs and at the same time maximise the comfort inside can become the best choice for any family.

Despite thinking about a passive house as a concept of an ideal house, it comes with a lot of strings attached. Firstly, there is a lack of engineers who specialise in a passive house construction due to the high level of complexity it involves and to the low demand for this type of houses. Secondly, there is a lack of construction materials needed to meet the passive house requirements. The same reason for this, the specific type of insulation for a passive house, for example, is not as often used as that for a standard house, because it should have less density, be fireproof and durable. However, these difficulties are only the tip of the iceberg and the skyrocketing price of these materials can become another barrier. As Cuce et al (2014) suggest, an innovative material called aerogel can be used as the superinsulation material. Due to its extremely low density it can provide the same level of insulation as mineral wool can, but within much slimmer constructions.

The complexity in the design of this type of buildings lies in the way how superinsulation and air-tightness are reached there. The term superinsulation does not solely mean more insulation, or some different type of it, but the specific place for it. A building should be insulated all around, starting from walls with a layer of the insulation and triple-glazed windows with the krypton gas inside, ending with insulated basement and roof. Furthermore, to make this insulation work properly, keeping the same indoor temperature for a long time, the house should be air-tight. However, the extent of the air-tightness can vary in different designs, so one school of thought, according to Feist et al (2005, p. 1187), is that the windows should usually be operated automatically to ensure the heat losses remain at minimum. Although in summer the heat loss can be beneficial to prevent overheating. Mlakar and Štrancar (2011) suggest the use of ventilation though opened windows during summer nights. During the daytime the outdoor air should come only though the ventilation system with a number of filters and heat exchangers, but not directly from outside (Feist et al, 2005, p. 1192). As it can be seen, the construction can be quite challenging, because a lot of complications arise in the design of a passive house.

Apart from all the difficulties in the construction, the main drawback of a passive house is, as it was mentioned, its cost. Firstly, the abundance of difficulties in a design is expected to affect its cost and comparing to a standard house design the difference between those can be significant. Secondly, the cost of some specific construction materials, as aerogel, for example, can be very high (Cuce, 2014), but even the common ones, like mineral wool with the similar properties, can have a reasonably high price. Thirdly, there are some additional construction works included, such as ventilation, air-tightness and other, which were listed by Audenaert, Cleyn and Vankerckhove (2008, p. 49). These activities can increase the price of a passive house so much, that the break-even time, when it is compared with the standard one, for not changing annual energy costs can reach 24 years (ibid, p. 51). Nonetheless, as the concern in the reduction of CO2 emissions is gaining momentum, the price of energy made of fossil fuels is feasibly expected to rise. Therefore, if the rate of this growth is 10% per year and more, the profitability will be reached in less than 20 years, which seems to be not the worst outcome.

In conclusion, it is self-evident, that the passive house concept can have very high long-term benefits, not only preserving the planet from extra CO2 emissions, but also protecting an owner from extra energy costs. However, the main advantage for an owner might be the perennially high level of comfort, which the passive house can also provide with. The flaws in the passive house possession can only appear in the short period of time, because of the huge costs spent on the construction. Therefore, a very sensible option for the short-term benefits is the low-energy house concept, because the additional expenses on its construction is two times less than those on the passive house (Audenaert, Cleyn and Vankerckhove, 2008, p. 50). This concept does not increase the energy savings as much as the passive house does, nevertheless, the break-even time for it is at least two times less than for the passive house (ibid, p. 51). It can be concluded, that, despite the large initial price of the passive house, it has the most satisfying indoor conditions and can save a great amount of money for a family in the long-term, however, if the funds provided are limited, the low-energy house concept can be considered at the first place.

Audenaert, A., De Cleyn, S. and Vankerckhove, B., (2008) Economic analysis of passive houses and low-energy houses compared with standard houses, Energy Policy, 36(1), pp.47-55.

Badescu, V., (2007) Economic aspects of using ground thermal energy for passive house heating, Renewable Energy, 32(6), pp.895-903.

Cuce, E., Cuce, P., Wood, C. and Riffat, S., (2014) Optimizing insulation thickness and analysing environmental impacts of aerogel-based thermal superinsulation in buildings. Energy and Buildings77, pp.28-39.

Feist, W., Schnieders, J., Dorer, V. and Haas, A., (2005) Re-inventing air heating: Convenient and comfortable within the frame of the Passive House concept, Energy and buildings, 37(11), pp.1186-1203.

Mlakar, J. and Štrancar, J., (2011) Overheating in residential passive house: Solution strategies revealed and confirmed through data analysis and simulations. Energy and Buildings43(6), pp.1443-1451.

Academic English

Meandering – walking around the topic

(also meander on) if a conversation or piece of writing meanders on, it is too long and has no purpose or structure

Facilitate – make something possible or easier

Cutting taxes may facilitate economic recovery.

 

Obsolete— out of date, useless.

The system was made obsolete by their invention.

 

Blatantly —  something bad that is blatant is very clear and easy to see, but the person responsible for it does not seem embarrassed or ashamed

He showed a blatant disregard for the safety of other drivers.

Apparently -used to describe something that appears to be true based on what is known (express skepticism) (probably)

Now that the Night King has apparently turned Viserion into his very own ice dragon, one of Daenerys’s children is likely working against her.

To flout a rule — to treat with contemptuous disregard.

Despite repeated warnings, they have continued to flout the law.

 

Explicit – very clear and complete : leaving no doubt about the meaning

Implicit – understood though not put clearly into words 

Convey -to carry from one place to another, to make known

They conveyed the goods by ship.

To refute —  to prove that a statement or idea is not correct

 

Solely (səʊl-li ) -not involving anything or anyone (only)

Spatial— relating to the position, size, shape etc of things

Pertinent — directly relating to something that is being considered (relevant)

Owing to — Because of something.

Conventionally — usually

Encapsulate —  to express or show something in a short way (to sum up)

Eminently — completely and without a doubt (highly)

Enshrined—  if something such as a tradition or right is enshrined in something, it is preserved and protected so that people will remember and respect it

Resuscitate -to make someone breathe again or become conscious after they have almost died ( revive)
Contender -someone or something that is in competition with other people or things

a contender for the title

Unintelligible — impossible to understand

Prerequisite — something that is necessary before something else can happen or be done

Parochial — only interested in things that affect your local area

Foster —  to help a skill, feeling, idea etc develop over a period of time

Condemn — to say very strongly that you do not approve of something or someone, especially because you think it is morally wrong
Fraught — full of anxiety or worry (a fraught atmosphere)

Fallacy — a false idea or belief, especially one that a lot of people believe is true
Inferior — not good, or not as good as someone or something else 

Vernacular-a form of a language that ordinary people use, especially one that is not the official language

Prowess — great skill at doing something

Entitlement — the official right to have or do something, or the amount that you have a right to receive

Invaluable — extremely useful

Inflammable—  formal inflammable materials or substances will start to burn very easily

Flammable — something that is flammable burns easily

Homogenise — to change something so that its parts become similar or the same

 

Occur to (one) — To realize suddenly; to come into one’s mind.

It occurs to me that I never explained why we need these extra computers. Did it ever occur to you that maybe I was trying to do you a favor?

 

Obscure—  not well known and usually not very important / difficult to understand

Reading log.

 

A joint venture — a business activity begun by two or more people or companies working together

Where the project involves a joint venture, the project manager may be selected from one of the participating companies.

 

Vigour — physical or mental energy and determination

For a building or a power scheme the task of project definition should be relatively straightforward and, therefore, pursued with vigour by the project manager.

Liability — legal responsibility for something, especially for paying money that is owed, or for damage or injury

 

Litigation —  the process of taking claims to a court of law.

The threat of litigation can be a deciding factor in some business decisions.

 

To obviate— to prevent or avoid a problem or the need to do something;

The new treatment obviates the need for surgery.

Good scheduling can reduce or eliminate bottlenecks and facilitate the
procurement of critical activities.

Bottleneck — a delay in one stage of a process that makes the whole process take longer

Procurement — the act of ordering and buying the equipment, supplies, services etc needed by a company or other organization

Precedence — when someone or something is considered to be more important than someone or something else, and therefore comes first or must be dealt with first  (priority)

Merit — an advantage or good feature of something.

Refinement — an improvement, usually a small one, to something

Treatment of — a particular way of dealing with or talking about a subject

Be commited  — willing to work very hard at something (dedicated)

 

 

Listening diary

 

  • In London today there are plenty of women wearing a face veils, when in counterparts in France it has been publicly derided.

Deride — to make remarks or jokes that show you think someone or something is silly or useless.

 

  • while even Sarkozy refer to them as a sign of debasement. 

         To Debase — to make someone or something lose its value or people’s respect.

 

  • The difference is that niqab is dangerously equades piety.

        Piety — when you behave in a way that shows respect for your religion
        To equate — to consider that two things are similar or connected

 

  • This is a such a misogynistic ideology.Misogynist — a man who hates women.

 

  • What is done is either true coercion or tacit coercion

Tacit agreement, approval, support etc is given without anything actually being said.

        Coercion — the use of threats or orders to make someone do something they do not want to do.

 

  • To intimidate — to frighten or threaten someone into making them do what you want
    He’s being kept in jail until the trial so that he can’t intimidate any of the witnesses.

 

Punisher (series)

 

«I needed to rattle his cage» — To demand attention (Nobody has corrected the problem yet, so it’s time to rattle their cage.)  To anger or to annoy.

If you rattle something, or if it rattles, it shakes and makes a quick series of short sounds

 

«Don’t presume to question my integrity.» — allow // honesty

«You don’t have a monopoly on payback, Castle.» —  Revenge (American)

«She`s a piece of work» —  is unusually unpleasant or behaves unusually badly

«Did you really get turned around?» — To become lost; to lose one’s way.

Physics diary

  • A result greater than 66 ft/s would not be plausible.

Plausible — reasonable and likely to be true or successful

His explanation sounds fairly plausible to me.

  • Whenever we find a function from its derivative, we must include an arbitrary
    constant in the general form of the function.

Arbitraty — decided or arranged without any reason or plan, often unfairly. (Random).

The way the programme of events is organized seems completely arbitrary to me.

 

Hello,

Hello,

Listening Diary 

  • The terminology coined by Facebook —
    To coin - to make; invent; fabricate: to coin an expression.
    
  • Chinese Internet society is booming.
to progress, grow, or flourish vigorously, as a business or a city:

Her business is booming since she enlarged the store.
  •  A dissident is someone who disagrees with the government.
    dissent - to differ in sentiment or opinion, especially from the majority;
  • There was a crackdown on micro-blogging.
Crackdown - the severe or stern enforcement of regulations, laws, etc.
  • The American embassy intervened in Chinese government policy.
intervene - to come between disputing people, groups, etc.; intercede; mediate.
          - to interfere with force or a threat of force:
  • He was the first to topple during the Arab Spring
To topple - to take power away from a leader or government, 
especially by force 
This scandal could topple the government.
  • And later this year, the rail minister was sacked and sentenced to jail for 10 years.
Sack - to dismiss someone from their job
He was sacked for being drunk.
Sentence - a punishment that a judge gives to someone who is guilty of a crime 
She received an eight-year prison sentence. 
He has just begun a life sentence for murder.
  •  We had a petition system. It’s a remedy outside the judicial system, because the Chinese central government wants to keep a myth: The emperor is good.
A remedy - something that cures or relieves a disease or bodily disorder; 
ahealing medicine, application, or treatment.
  • So that’s why the petitioner, the victims, the peasants, want to take the train to Beijing to petition to the central government, they want the emperor to settle the problem.
To settle - to appoint, fix, or resolve definitely and conclusively;
  •  Without bribing the central cats, he can do nothing, only apologize.
Bribe - money or any other valuable consideration given or promised 
with aview to corrupting the behavior of a person, especially in that
person's performance as an athlete, public official, etc.:
The motorist offered the arresting officer a bribe to let him go.

The Selfish Gene (by Dawkins, R.) (audiobook)

«They made the erroneous assumption» — not correct