The 1st of April is here, and with it many reflections!
I’ve decided to provide a number of thoughts that I’ve been thinking about lately about language learning and skill acquisitions.
- Keep in mind that the most important thing that will drive you as a language learner is validation from native speakers. As humans we are built to find approval for ourselves given that in older days not having that approval meant being outcast which in turn meant not surviving. You need to use your language learning as something to broadcast very widely and get approval from. Then and only then will you acquire true motivation with which to continue going.
- You don’t really need native speaker voices to learn a language, given how pronunciation in a lot of languages is very similar. Maori and Zulu have very close pronunciation schemes and the “Spanish rule” is usually applied to many vowel sets throughout the world. Your Lonely Planet guide should be enough with the extremely well-written and precise guides for what letter means what.
- If you encounter any variety of discouragement from native speakers, take it very, very seriously. Languages other than English and other global languages are becoming more guarded secrets as a result of the UN official languages being so massively proliferated. Most L1 speakers want to keep the languages to themselves.
- You should invest as much as possible with every variety of program or book aimed at learners. Immersion can often lead to confusion and demoralization so you need to hold if off as much as possible.
- You should realize that the culture present in some places of the internet (e.g. the subreddit /r/languagelearning) in which pretty much every single online polyglot is criticized and deemed a fake is actually very legitimate. Standing up for well-known 10+ fluent language speakers is deemed “cringey to the extreme” and rightly so, as is a culture of encouragement that this feeling-laden and oversensitive world doesn’t need anymore.
- Realize that most people in the world aren’t out to encourage you. Not only that, most people will actually view learning any language with extreme jealousy.
- There is absolutely no advantage to learning any minority language whatsoever, not even in the translation market.
- Realize that there is nothing you can do to stem the tide of mass language death that mass media is creating.
- Be as extremely critical with yourself all of the time. The only language skills that are truly valued are those that are near-native. Remember that. And that ties into…
- People who post on the Internet are usually always right, because often the critical eye of the average Reddit user will be a lot more honest than that of your friends or that of most native speakers you will encounter.