Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Heed the common principles

There must be as many language-learning methods, or methodologies, as there are people. They probably work for someone, somewhere—most likely the people who dreamed them up. If they actually tested them out on themselves, that is.

In other words, everyone has ideas on what you should do to learn another language. They have beliefs, assertions, myths, theories, hypotheses and what have you. Do it this way! Do it that way! Do it my way! Do it your way!  Seven billion and counting.

I think it’s important to sift through everything—well, not everything as that is obviously impossible—but it’s a good idea to keep an eye open for principles that are common to all popular methods. It’s important that whatever you try yourself is in accord with those principles. Otherwise you’ll most likely be barking up the wrong tree.

Some of those principles:

  • It’s going to take time, so you need to be patient
  • Eventually you are going to have to use the language automatically
  • There’s a lot to remember, but you’ll forget it many times
  • You can’t learn to speak just by reading
  • You first language will interfere with the second sometimes
  • Unless you remain interested, you are likely to give up
  • You are going to make mistakes—get used to it!

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