What Is Language Learning?

Language Learning (LL) Is Rewarding

From the time you begin learning simple phrases all the way up to having full and rich conversations with native speakers, LL is rewarding and addictive. Feeling a sense of accomplishment is a by product, and being understood in another language is exhilarating in an indescribable – you have to experience it to know what we mean – kind of way.

It’s like studying in school without the, “you should know this particular equation so that you can solve this very specific problem which you might not ever go into ever, but maybe you do, in that case then it might probably be useful” type of reply. Language Learners (LLers) receive immediate feedback on performance when communicating with a native speaker, and should be able to answer the question, “why am I learning this?” very quickly.

Another reason that some might find LL addicting is that it might boost your ego (but don’t let it). It’s not uncommon to receive compliments and praise from a surprised foreigner or native when you start speaking to them in their own language. Because of this, they might want to invite you to dinner, out on the town, into their own home and they’ll talk to you and treat you warmer than you’d ever expect. You’ve broken the barrier between people groups and they appreciate that.

LL is Mind Opening

Textbooks, movies, literature, songs, literature, news providers – none of these can help you understand a people group compared to actually investing yourself in those people. Investing yourself in learning a language means that you’re investing yourself in how a group of people eat, laugh, sing, dance, how they deal with hardship and celebrate triumphs, how they conduct business, how they interact with each other socially, and how they build families. Language is a device that is comprised of all of these points (and more) because language is the cornerstone of how humans interact with other humans, and moreover, themselves.

After embarking on your LL journey, you will start to look at the people around you differently. Those foreigners you see at the supermarket or on your street have struggles probably unknown to you when you first saw them. Only after you understand what it’s like to learn another language and immerse yourself in a different way of thinking can one begin to understand another. Just like you feel more comfortable speaking in your mother language (ML), those foreigners do too. The difference between you and them is that they use their second language to survive and/or create a better life for themselves and their families. Developing this type of respect and empathy is really difficult without this type of experience.

Out of respect and empathy comes an open mind. You’ll be less likely to harshly judge another because of their customs, color, race, or background when you know where they’re coming from. It’s not science, it’s mutual understanding.

LL is Connecting

People love people that listen to them. One of the best ways to get someone to like you is to ask them about themselves. If they feel like you understand what they are saying and are genuinely interested in what they have to say, they will feel more comfortable talking with you, and will in turn also be more helpful and receptive to your thoughts as well.

Every person owns their own bubble around them. It’s called their comfort zone. People of different people groups have a different color bubble. Most people inherently want to help others, but are wary of things that might endanger them. When you speak in another language, you’re engaging in another person’s comfort zone. You’re stepping out of yours, and plopping yourself down into theirs. Putting yourself in their comfort zone eliminates tension, mystery, and changes the atmosphere.

Understanding each other means solid ground for viable action.

LL is Hard

There are almost no cases of a language following strict rules that govern every sentence structure and expression that work in every case proposed (engineered languages like Esperanto aside). Language evolves because people evolve and times evolve. Because of this, LL can feel difficult at first. The more different a language is from your ML, the harder it might be to pickup for you. It might force you to think differently. It will slowly arrange and train your mind, making it more malleable, freer, and less prone to prejudice. You will work your LL left-brain like a muscle, and will constantly strengthen and tune the areas that need attention.

LL is Fun

Say the following out-loud, “Oppi hoppavoppe foppooppund moppy troppuoppe coppallopping oppin poppig wroppestlopping.”. Speaking to someone in a foreign language is like speaking this nonsense, but to that person it actually carries meaning! To me you just said, “I have found my true calling in pig-wrestling.” LL is like cracking a code that a select few share, and you’ve found your way in. It’s an adventure into the unknown and an excellent device to meet new people and to have experience you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. It’s honing a real-life immediate useful skill that will change you personally.

Have I convinced you?

Great! Lets begin your quest with the Language Learning Principles.