This semester, I take two subjects of learning and teaching English. I learned a lot of theories but no one can be applied to my situation. In my secondary school, this is Chinese as medium of instruction school. So I could contact the English at English Language lessons only. At that time, I was not interested in learning English. So my English standard is basically an illiterate. It was very common to others at that school. To be very honest, there were no graduate majored in English studies. Perhaps at that time, the job markets are highly demanding on university graduates. So a very limited number of graduates would be willing to enter the education sector.
In Hong Kong, there were two public examinations for secondary 5 and 7 students to sit it. For the former, secondary 5 students were required to sit for HKCEE with at least 7 subjects including Chinese and English Languages. If candidates passed 5 subjects with E (pass grade), they could be entitled to S5 certificate level. Whereas if candidates can get 14 points in 6 subjects of HKCEE, they could get a place of secondary 6 and 7 (or called matriculate level).
Of course, I could not pass in English Language at HKCEE. So I could only find jobs or repeat for HKCEE again. Besides, no further formal studies I could pursue. Fortunately I could pass the English Language at HKCEE at second times. But I was not still eligible for entry of matriculate level due to under point 14.
I am sure to say that I am an illiterate of English before 2004. I could only write Chinese for formal communication such as correspondence with governmental department. I remembered that my first computer was a notebook type with Chinese version of MS Windows ME. It means that I can only understand the Chinese interface. Likewise, I installed MS Office in Chinese version. For my job, I needed not use English. Usually employers will provide me with employment contract in Chinese only. Perhaps they have a strong assumption that I don’t know English. But it was surprised that those contracts in Chinese are ungrammatical in Chinese grammar and unlike register of Chinese legal terms.
There is a breakthrough in 2004 because I was admitted to CityU for doing my associate degree of legal studies. I do remember at the first lecture at CityU. I could only realize that the lecturer spoke English. However, nothing I could understand. As common knowledge, students learning law must have high standard level of English. Nevertheless, my English ability was substandard.
In 2007, I completed my 3-year programme of legal studies and was admitted to CityU again for my undergraduate programme. It was unbelievable that I entered into a programme of Linguistics. Basically, I was improved a bit of little in English. After graduation, I put English grammar books on my desk. Frankly I enjoyed learning English grammar suddenly. Perhaps for my studies of Linguistics, I have Syntax knowledge to do so. English grammar in mind is similar to formulae. We just need know and understand its principle and operation and then we can produce a complete sentence without grammatical error.