Language Rules

This is about learning a new language… regardless of culture. Side note… A friend of mine mistook it for learning a new digital language, though that is for another topic.

Tips for self:

  1. Don’t focus on grammar excessively
  2. Learn and study phrases (and don’t direct translate)
  3. Practice speaking aloud; not just reading & listening
  4. Submerge in the native environment
  5. Check your sources


Don’t focus on grammar excessively

Grammar is vital but many language students encounter that their conversations become rigid as they worry about the sentence structures. A common saying is that native speakers may testify that some non-native language students may know more grammar than themselves. Knowing the definition is important, but fluency of the language should be the priority.


Learn and study phrases (and don’t direct translate)

Many language students can testify to this; even though one may already learnt many words, but it may still be tedious to form proper sentences. I can testify to this myself. Later on, I learnt that the missing gap could be phrases aka connectors, like how native children would learn the language. Instead of spending time solely on vocabulary, take time to study phrases too. With fluency, the speaking confidence level may also be increased.

Direct translation from mother tongue often result in slow and incorrect expression. Hold the idea to be conveyed in one’s mind and harness the target language only. Easier said than done, but hey, great satisfaction awaits.


Practice speaking aloud; not just reading & listening

The natural order of learning a language for a native is listening, speaking, reading, then writing. However, the order of learning a language for a non-native is reading, writing, listening, then speaking. Practice speaking aloud till one’s mouth and brain can register the words effortlessly.


Submerge in the native environment

Surround yourself in the native speakers and make rules with them to speak only the target language to you and you may learn faster. Alternatively, listen to native radio channels or watch dramas and try to repeat after them.


Check your sources

Take note to learn from the material most commonly used by natives.  Some anime or dramas may speak in less respectful forms and that may not be ideal.

Practising with a non native person allows practice together. You can also motivate each other and point out basic mistakes. However the con side is you might pick up bad habits from one another… especially if you are unsure about what are the correct and incorrect sentences. Rather, use the practice times as a time period to practice the correct material.



Inside Out

We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

– Romans 5:3-5 NIV

No one can accuse the Bible of bland imagery. For example, the book of Proverbs likens a woman who lacks discretion to a pig with a gold ring in its snout. A similiar sentiment could be claimed of the leader who lacks character. Without the bedrock trait of character, leaders may achieve sucess, wealth, and even fame, but they will never gain the respect of those they lead. Instead, their lack of character will most likely be “shouted from the housetops” sooner or later through an action that showcases their true nature, or through the slow decline of characterless years.

In contrast, the leader of character exudes strength, trust, dependability, and a host of other good traits. Though modern culture permits a laissez-faire attitude in most things, it demands character of leaders and shows disdain for those who lack it. This is evident in the nation’s reaction to headlines of immorality scandals among leading politicans – especially the Head people. And once respect is lost, it’s much more diffcult to win back because respect is something that must be earned. Respect can never successfully be demanded.

Jesus, the ultimate leader of character, told a parable during His most famous speech, the Sermon on the Mount. Using the metaphor of building a house, He likened a foolish man to one who builds his house on sand. When the winds and rain come, pummeling the house with fury, the house falls into a dismal heap. All the man’s efforts are wasted because he built on a poor foundation. The wise man, however, is like one who builds a house on a foundation of solid rock. The storms beat against the house but then pass on by, leaving the house standing firm. Because the man took time to build carefully and wisely, he is able to enjoy the fruit of his labor.

Perhaps character is even more noticeable when backlit by persecution. In the early 1500s a German monk-priest rose to prominence on the world political and religious scene when he opposed the commonly held practice of paying indulgences to the Roman Catholic Church. Through the clink of a few coins and a repeated prayer, faithful Christians were promised that they or thier loved ones would be spared in the afterlife. But the Bible says that it is by grace, not works, that we are saved. Martin Luther recognized corruption and spoke out about it – forcefully. His stand of conscience and show of character caught the imagination of the common people and made him the enemy of an organized church, as well as key political leaders of his day. When asked to recant his scathing indictments against the church, he said:” I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God.” Luther’s stand sparked the Protestant Reformation.

No book contains more wisdom about building a life of character than the Bible. The foundation for all true character is a mind and heart set on God. The apostle Paul referred to this when he wrote to the church at Rome, urging them to “rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2 NKJV). His next sentence leaves no doubt that character is gained through hardship and perseverance – two things that carry reward in the long run. The apostle James said it even more bluntly: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4 NIV)

But who wants to embrace hardship? Trials and setbacks will never find their way onto your to-do list, yet they are the means by which God takes you from a person of intention to a person of character. As a leader, learn to view every hardship through the lens of faith, with an eye toward your character growth and the big-picture purposes of God. Realize that at times your commitment to character will require you to make unpopular decisions.

What character issues do you face today? If decisions are hanging in the balance that could go either way, choose the path your conscience tells you to choose. Like Martin Luther, your stand for righteousness may not make you popular in the short term, but you will never regret the choices you make for integrity. Allow your character to shine brightly for all to see. As a leader of character, you may just spur others to emulate your behaviour.

Men of genius are admired, men of wealth are envied, men of power are feared; but only men of character are trusted.

– Arthur Friedman