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Keith Li

Dr. Peters

ENG 133

25 January 2018

"Knowing, Famille, And The End"

Language as a mediator between people and communities is essential to the development

of our society. As for individuals, it is a skill that can be mastered and used frequently; as for a

group, language is a bridge for individuals who are willing to exchange ideas. However, this

concept of language did not “come” to me until I decided to come to the States for high school. Commented [MOU1]: What was your
prior view of language? Where did you go
Once I started my freshman year in high school in Colorado, I noticed how important it is to be
to school before high school and what
fluent in one language, and in this case, English. I thought about this realization often throughout language did you grow up speaking if not
my freshmen year and traced back to when I first started learning English and realizing language

is more powerful than just a communication skill.

When I was a kid, I often played alone at home. During these times, I loved making up

story plots for all the Lego figures on the couch in the living room. I would stare at the foreign

words printed on the packages and try to pronounce them like it was my native language;
Commented [MOU2]: I really like this
suddenly, my Indiana Jones became who he is, the hero who runs away with his treasure.
moment of representing the child’s
imaginative play. You might extend this
My parents were working everyday, so they sent me to an English tutoring institute close description further, give us a richer and
more elaborate sense of the adventures
to our house where I learned English and met other kids that were about the same age as me. I
you created with this character.
would go there in the morning, and get picked up in the afternoon all happy and excited to play Commented [MOU3]: Return us to the
imagined world of the previous
with my Legos. It started as just a fun thing to do for me, but by the time I went to elementary paragraph
Commented [MOU4]: What is “it”?

school, I became one of the few who is finished the institute. I also made this group of friends Commented [MOU5]: What do you
remember about them? Did they also
that I grew up learning English with. Those years of English learning helped me to excel in my
finish the tutoring program? Did your
elementary school, and I was pleased, confident, and happy. friendship mostly take place in the
English you were learning or in another
As I look back on my time of learning English, the friends I made were more important,
Commented [MOU6]: More important
and realizing that English is more than just a tool to earn exceptional grades, but a way to than what?
connect one to another. Grades are temporary achievements, but friends are those who can

provide me with continuous joy and passion. Without the English learning experience, I would

not be able to connect with those who do not go to the same school as I did, and we would never

meet each other. A language not only provides us with a tool to communicate, but gathers

individuals into groups with a shared interest and connect people in such simple and elegant

ways. Commented [MOU7]: Terrific reflection

I thought that this is what English is able to provide me: good grades and joyous

experiences at school, and I believed that "I like English because I know something that others

do not"; however, everybody knows English in America. Commented [MOU8]: You indicate an
important turn here towards a realization
Once I was at a mall with my mother when I was six years old. We got off from the that your English fluency was no longer
exceptional once you came to the U.S.
elevator to the third floor. There was nothing to buy, so I was just following my mother. She was but you don’t offer an extended
reflection on that realization. You only
not holding my hand, probably thought I was old enough to walk by myself. We were looking at
hint at it with this one sentence. Can you
some hand-blown, glass vases, and I saw a lady in blue walking toward us, she said, "Hey, Jin!" elaborate on the significance of coming
to a place where “everybody knows
"Oh my gosh! It been so long!", my mother said. Then the lady turned to me, asking who I was, English”?

and my mom introduced me, she looked proud of me. Then the lady's French boyfriend Commented [MOU9]: What’s the
transition here to this anecdote about
introduced himself to me, and in English I said, "I know French, famille!" They all laughed. “knowing” French? It’s an abrupt turn
from the previous paragraph

Obviously, I did not know French, but what does a six-year-old kid know? To me, it is hard to

distinguish between what it means to know a language and master a language, and the end

product of mastering one language.

I still cannot believe that that incident is still happening after I attend college. People

comment that I am fluent in English, but I still cannot pronounce "Raf" of Raf Simmons and

"Ralph" of Ralph Lauren correctly; nor can I write an essay with fluid fluent language and

clearly develop ideas. It is not to say that I am doubting my own English proficiency but to

simply face the reality, I still struggle with many aspects of the English language.

It is quite ironic to discuss one’s literacy in language since language is simple to “know”,

yet complicated for one to master. “When is the “end” to the study of a single language?”, I ask

myself. Well, I am afraid there is not an end, but an ongoing process, where “knowing” one is

the entry, and “using” it is the end. This is the fascinating element of language where the process

meets the “end”, serving us to form groups in various sizes.

I like your theme that mastery of a language entails always being in the process of

learning and interacting with others. There is a significant turn in the essay towards the end of

page two that you introduce but leave unexplored. I marked it in my marginal comments above

at your word “however.” Consider reflecting more carefully on that moment where you came to

discover that your special language ability was now commonplace once you moved to the U.S.

In terms of your paragraph development, you use many short paragraphs, some of which

need further development (e.g., the second paragraph), while others need to be combined with

each other because together they develop a single idea.


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