Sometimes there are myths that take root and become really difficult to dispel. One of them is the notion that Americans — and English speakers in general — are simply not capable of learning a foreign language well. Oh, we all know someone who has done it with some degree of success, but most of us have bought into the idea that “that will never be me.”
Perhaps I’m not the best person to dispel the myth, as I happen to be one of those foreign language freaks who thrive on tackling a new language. Maybe my wife would make a better spokesperson for the cause. She doesn’t consider herself particularly gifted in languages, but when she married me, she signed up for a lifetime of exposure to any number of languages. Over the years we lived in Europe, she became conversant in both French and Dutch, and to this day we use both of these in our house on a regular basis. (Especially when grandkids are not intended to understand.)
I’m in the process of finishing up a brand new online mini-course to help people who are wanting to, about to, or have to study a foreign language. And I have new fodder: I’ve just undertaken Arabic, using video tutorials and weekly Skype sessions with a Syrian friend in Germany whom Becky and I met last summer when we were there.
The truth is, learning a foreign language is not a super power.
Hard work, yes. But all my years of speaking and teaching languages have given me many insights into how people learn languages — but also some fundamental elements that are missing in a lot of language methods.
Hence this mini-course. If you’re considering starting a foreign language, or have already started but find yourself a wee bit discouraged, this is for you. Just leave your email address in the form below and you’ll be on your way to a more successful adventure in learning to speak another language. And believe me, there is nothing more gratifying than another person understanding you when you get up the nerve to practice your new words!
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