the happy linguist

a short introduction

Learning a language is a tough thing to do and you can often feel like you’re getting nowhere fast. Well, let me tell you that the feeling of frustration is a normal one that everybody goes through when learning a new language. When you learn any other subject such as maths or science, you tend to learn how to do something and then that’s it. However, with foreign languages, you learn how to use them but then there’s another step; you have to be able to use them instantly, and this is what can cause the greatest frustration.

If you learn maths, for example, and somebody asks you to work out the missing angle in a triangle, you would be able to do it if you sit down with a piece of paper, a pencil and possible a calculator. Nobody would expect you to work out the answer in three seconds in your head. Yet, with languages, that’s exactly what you have to do. In order to speak a language fluently, you have to be able to formulate sentences in an instant. In a conversation, you have no time to sit and conjugate verbs or search for vocabulary in a dictionary. You have to be able to do it all in your head in a split second or else the conversation gets jilted and feels awkward.

Well, very soon after I began teaching languages, I realised that this tricky thing called fluency is what everybody strives to achieve. There are few things as satisfying as being able to hold a conversation in a foreign language when you’re on holiday abroad, no matter how basic, it always leaves you feeling positive about your achievements. So, I developed a methodology that enables you to speak confidently and string sentences together from the very first lesson. The most important thing when learning anything is to get an instant feeling of success. If you feel like you’re succeeding as soon as you begin, you’re going to want to carry on, and that motivation is what will lead you to fluency.

This was only meant to be a short introductory note, but it's starting to drag on a little now! Let me end it by saying this:

We are all human beings, which means we all possess the attributes that make us human beings. There's a wonderful quote by a man called Terence:

“I am human, and nothing that is human is alien to me”

What it means is that if one person is capable of something, then we are all capable of it, because we’re all humans too. There's nothing in the world that I cannot understand if somebody before me has succeeded in understanding it. Therefore, it’s only logical that since there are millions of people in the world who have managed to learn to speak a foreign language, then you can learn it too!

I used to get so jealous of people who could speak a foreign language. I would listen to them and think that I would never be as good as they were. I’m lucky that I never gave up, though, because the benefits and positive feelings of being able to speak in another tongue far outweigh the frustration and negative feelings you tend to feel along the way. Just believe in yourself and you will achieve whatever you want. You will have doubts over your abilities and you will feel like giving up, but that’s normal! Just persevere and keep learning more and more and more and you will be amazed at what you can do (plus everybody else will be impressed).

Anyway, philosophising over. Let's begin.