Remember that motto? Just do it! I think it was a Nike campaign slogan. According to a book that I am reading, it doesn’t exactly work that way.
Maria Brilaki’s book teaches you how to go about making changes, she goes into the types of changes and what sort of results each one returns. The biggest bang for your buck comes from radical change, which is the most difficult to achieve. She gives an alternate strategy, but this post isn’t about that, her book explains her method much better than I ever could.
The other day, I was listening to another person complain about the nebulous they who don’t try to learn Spanish. She was rather contemptuous of those people. While I didn’t exactly take her to task, I did put forward my needs must theory of language acquisition, in other words, I think that unless you are super motivated, you learn exactly as much Spanish as you need. Of course, need is a subjective term.
It seems to me, that there are other factors at work too. It seems simple, the idea, learn Spanish. However, there are road blocks along the way that we don’t really give much thought to. First, you have to decide what method you want to use. Wow, think of all those choices! Do you want to go to a brick and mortar school or study online? Or are you autodidactic? How much money and time are you able to invest in becoming bilingual?
Suppose you chose to do it yourself. When are you going to study? What’s a good time for you? How many times a week are you going to study and for how long? What course are you going to use? Are you going to buy CDs or download the information.
Wow, maybe formal lessons would be easier. Now you have to decide on a teacher or school, private or group lessons. How are you going to get to your classes? When are you going to study or practice?
I’m sure that there is more groundwork that has to be set up that I haven’t even thought of. After all of that, the actual learning of Spanish is a piece of cake. No wonder people put it all off.
I decided that my method is best, like in many things, choosing the correct parents is key. While I didn’t get the tall willowy parents I did manage to be born into a family where I heard Spanish all my life. The fact that the California school system had mandatory Spanish in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades and the option to take Spanish to fulfill my language requirements in high school and college also have given me a boost in the language department. So I am mostly learning by osmosis, adding vocabulary and understanding as I go along.
So, what do you do? Not being a life coach, I can’t tell how to proceed. I just wanted to point out to the self righteous, non-empathetic among us that learning a new language isn’t as easy as just deciding to do it. It is doable however and the actual learning is not as stressful as the deciding to learn and figuring out what method to follow.