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and goes to kindergarten for the first time in her new country. When it comes
time for her turn to speak aloud in class, she freezes up, knowing that what little
English she does know will sound very different to the ears of all those around
her. Eventually, she finds some relief in reading exercises, because when reading aloud at least you don't have to make up what you're going to say. But even that relief is short-lived, for she has to stop for an awkward pause each time she sees the pronoun 'I .' I t makes no sense to her. She thinks, in Chinese, when you write that first person pronoun, you have to usesev en strokes. I t's quite an intricate
The story is in a collection called 'Tongue Tied,' and it offers up an appropriate point of departure for those about to embark on a language learning journey or those who have found themselves stuck somewhere along the way. Whether you're baffled by word order in Japanese or bemused by cases in German,
whether the notion of Chinese tones strikes a chord of fear in you, or you recoil at the thought of the rolling I talian 'R,' you too may have found yourself tongue- tied when learning a second language.
language that has no easy analogue in English, tripping up on occasion when you're trying to string new words together out loud, or maybe even being so gripped with nerves that you are unable to try out your new phrases out loud, out there, in the real world.
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