Language Learning

Don't make a mountain out of a molehill. In my former years of language learning, I must admit, I couldn't ever imagine being capable of speaking another language. I felt overwhelmed. I felt the topic was too broad to overcome in a feasible time frame.

I couldn't see myself ever attracting non English speaker friends. I couldn't see myself speaking in a different accent. I'm not capable of doing accents in English so how was I supposed to perfect an accent in a different language.

My grades were average and more importantly my progress was too. Realistically speaking it would take me years to learn French and it did.

Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity - Will Smith.

Take a different path and leave a trail.

Four years of University later, two years living in Francophone countries and I could finally say I could speak French. I was happy to be able to call myself bilingual but then a new problem arose. I wanted to become multilingual. However, I had little desire to spend years at it. I preferred to speak in months.

A solid house was never built on a questionable foundation.

I decided that I wanted to learn Spanish and Italian. This time I took a different approach. I did my research. I formulated a plan. I remembered what had and hadn't worked, when I learned French, and then I took my first step into the unknown.

You can't construct a sentence without using words.

Learning should not be drudgery, it should be fun. I don't particularly like learning grammar and I don't like spending time on perfecting my pronunciation. Therefore I didn't do either.

I do, however, enjoy learning lists of vocabulary and verbs, so this is what I did. I used music to make this a task I looked forward to. I found that memorising doesn't require a lot of cognitive thinking so it is easy to listen to music at the same time.

I learned grammar and pronunciation predominantly through subliminal learning. I watched Youtube videos of my favourite Spanish and Italian personalities.

You don't set out to build a wall.

Naturally, with my approach, I became aware of the vocabulary and verbs needed, at each stage in the learning process, in order to progress effectively. I found a way to neutralise the information overload of randomised verbs and vocabulary, that I had encountered in the French classroom. I progressed in Spanish and Italian in a matter of months, where before it would have taken much longer.

Scientia sit potentia.

Had I known of alternative methods before I started my first language then the process may have run a lot smoother for me. In formulating the method, that finally worked for me, it took a lot of research. Had there not been research on word usage frequency, had there not been examples of polyglots on Youtube, I'm not sure if I would have stumbled upon my method as easily.

I have created LinguaHacks in the hope that people may use the site in order to help them construct their own unique language learning method. I think that language learning is not one size fits all. I think that alternative methods need to be available online so that new learners have a more comprehensive overview of what is possible and what they can surpass.

Everyone is capable of speaking a foreign language. Learners just need to be pointed in the right direction in order to find their own way to reaching their goals.