My Childhood Memories about Learning English Language
How it works
I sat outside of my grandparents’ house with my cousin. As we looked upon the night sky, a tiny object which resembled a speck of light flew among the stars, and she told me that I would be riding in one of those one day. I experienced my first airplane flight at the age of three, only this wasn’t a typical vacation where my family and I would return home after a few weeks, nor was it an ordinary move.
When I woke up, I found myself lying in a bed in a completely different setting. One moment I was in the Philippines waving goodbye to my family, and the next I was on the other side of the world.
Having parents who spoke Tagalog at home, I learned a lot of English from my surroundings while listening to others and practicing it in conversation with the childhood friends I made. It was through observation that I learned to speak this second language. Soon I began using English to communicate with others, including my parents. The meaning of each word captivated me as I carefully sounded out their pronunciation and formed sentences that gave me a way to articulate my thoughts. I recognized at a young age the impactful meaning that language can convey.
In high school, the knowledge I gained in Spanish classes provided me with more striking vocabulary which have taken their places alongside those I’ve accumulated over the years. The fact that I was raised in a Filipino household with background in Tagalog gave me familiarity with the Spanish language, and I enjoyed the challenge of learning about conjugations and grammar techniques that allow us to tie words together for communication.
In the midst of this lingual enhancement, I became more aware of the similarities between my language classes and AP Psychology. Though they don’t appear to have much in common, I soon learned through my interest of language that psychology is centered around it—how words affect a person’s trajectory, beginning from the words first spoken to a child that they take into the rest of their lives. Language teaches us to understand the struggles of others and brings us all together. To me this may be the most defining characteristic of humans. After all, language is how we transpose our thoughts into words, allowing us to be intelligible to others. Undeniably, the most enthralling thing about it is how influential words can be; we vocalize our intelligence through words, which allows people to affect the opinion of others by the power they hold in their tongue. As a result, a single word can affect a person’s behavior, including life as a whole. They may tear a person down, or have in their power to heal. Perhaps that’s why my love of words has led me to a calling in psychology—there is much more to language that allows us to evaluate perception and behavior, and the world of psychology gives me an opportunity to hear about others’ narratives of disillusionment and recuperation. It gives me the opportunity to learn about the effect of language on thoughts, and the power of words to guide others to recovery.
As I think back to my childhood memories, I’ve always wondered why specific moments have stuck with me throughout the years. I see now that I have lived two lives—the first began in the tight-knit community of San Pablo City, Philippines, and the second in the city of Bakersfield, California, which I now call my home. Each of the languages that I have come to learn has helped me flourish in different cultures and societies because I am able to connect with people through the words that form out of my mouth, and it has allowed me to understand the situation of others as well.