Language Learning: Game changer

Two months ago I mentioned my language learning goals (in this post here, in case you were curious).

Two months ago I was in the middle of Level 2 – Italian and in the middle of Level 1 – Irish. Things were going fairly well. I was passing my lesson review points with decency.

Except …

I couldn’t get past the grammar part of things. And I’m not sure if I’m pinpointing the right thing. My pronunciation wasn’t too bad and I could keep up with vocabulary, but when I needed to complete a sentence, problems began. I had trouble keeping “She has red flowers” and “They have red flowers” straight. Not to mention, I couldn’t answer “What is this?” whenever it came to answering without the multiple choice. This worried me. Knowing the answer when I can use process of elimination is one thing, but if I can’t actually produce the words on my own … well, that’s not really learning is it? And that’s not going to help me hold a simple conversation with someone who knows the language.

So I went back and recapped the lessons. Sometimes taking them all over again. Same results. Passed fairly decent until I had to recall them on my own. It just wasn’t sticking.

A part of me must have known it wasn’t going to stick because in that same post with my language learning goals, I was researching other ways to learn a new language, courtesy of Benny Lewis, the Irish Polygot. And while I continued to trudge through my language learning program, I couldn’t help but notice Benny’s methods. I mean, he’s learned several different languages and I doubt he was spending huge amounts of money learning them.

Since I was already “learning” Italian and Irish, I decided to learn Russian using Fluent in 3 Month‘s learning methods. Six days into the Language Hacker League trial (Benny makes a deal that you can start speaking the language you want to learn in seven days) and I’m terrified! Yes, terrified.

Because I made a script. Yes, a script. A simple: “Hello. My name is …” And I’ve been practicing this script. Reciting the words out loud. Using Google Translation and (which I’ve been a member of for at least two years) to make sure I’m getting my Tarzan-speak right. And the next challenge, or mission, is to make a video of my script and post it to FI3M’s YouTube Channel.

Again, terrified!

What if I don’t get it right? What if I sound completely ridiculous? Heck, I know I’ll sound completely ridiculous. Do I really want to do this? Do I really need to do this? How in the world am I going to get through this?

I’m freaking out!

And I can totally relate to FI3M’s point about wanting to speak the language perfectly before actually speaking to someone. And I understand how insane that is. Why? Because that’s not how we learned English. You know, as babies? And if not talking until we could speak perfectly as babies didn’t work that way, why would learning another language work that way?

So, I completely get it. But I’m still terrified. It’s a game changer all right. Even with the free tutoring sessions provided for the first three months of Rosetta Stone, it took me two weeks to finally schedule a session and then I rescheduled it at least twice. I made excuses, but I know it was because I was scared to talk to the tutor, not to mention that I’d be in the session with one other person. I got through it and it wasn’t as bad as I was picturing it, but still. It drained me.

But I get it. So, I’m going to go through with this … as soon as I get up my courage.

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