Foreign language learning made easy……well easier!
Our unique experiences and love for the automobile brought us all together. Wanna join the Gear Club?
What We Look For
Sure, we might disagree on the our favorites but all cars pre-1990 are always welcome. Rad ‘eh?
Where To Find Us
You can catch us all at a local “car nights” every week at a new designated location each month!
Welcome to my world!
Well, it’s not strictly my first step into language learning. I started learning Dutch in the 1990’s, reached a reasonable standard of fluency and there I stayed. Learning resources for advanced Dutch aren’t easily obtainable so I kind of stayed at that level and have never progressed. The reason I wanted to learn Dutch was with a view to moving there to live but that never happened.
I love seeing people who are able to switch effortlessly between languages with apparent ease. “How do they do that?”, is the question I and millions of others have asked I’m sure over generations. “They must be really clever to do that!” These polyglots when asked about their ability to master multiple tongues is usually, “No, I’m no different to you. Anyone can learn a language. ” Well, that can’t be be strictly true otherwise we’d all be speaking multiple languages, surely? But, we’re all fluent in at least one language, our mother tongue, so why is it then seemingly so difficult for us to learn a second?
I’m not going into the reasons why we don’t generally learn a second language, that’s because there are probably as many reasons (or excuses) as to why we don’t as there are languages in existence. That may be a slight exaggeration but we do seem to construct barriers when it comes to foreign language study. Having said that I will highlight a few possibilities for not attempting to learn a second language:
- Necessity – do you really need to learn a foreign language? Native speakers of the universal language of English, its often viewed as that necessity is somewhat negated!
- Lazy – this is something usually attributed to UK citizens, often by UK citizens as they say they can’t be bothered to learn a second language. I personally don’t think it’s laziness, I think it’s got a lot to do with the first reason I gave above….why do we need to learn xxxx when everyone speaks English? Valid point….to a point!
- Teaching method – even now in the 21st century, it still amazes me how the teaching of foreign languages hasn’t really changed too much over the decades. I am of the opinion that it’s these teaching methods which stop people from even bothering to attempt to learn a foreign language. Grammar practice, vocab lists, the same old tired and boring pathway; scenarios such as ‘in the café,’ ‘at the doctors’ ‘buying a rail ticket’ and so on. Crappy dialogues which are so limited and of little value other than being useful for your next holiday in the sun.
Maybe that’s all you want to learn, but there’s something addictive about learning a foreign language. Especially when you pluck up the courage to speak to a native speaker in your target language, and the conversation goes beyond “……with milk and 2 sugars please and for my wife…….!” Learning Dutch I was reliably informed, was a relatively easy language to learn. I was told about its roots, how the language developed, all the similarities between the Germanic languages, and if you learnt Dutch then German would be easy because it was a linguistic stepping stone between English and German. Mmmm, didn’t quite work out like that for me. I studied Dutch using the Linguaphone method which I really liked. No chapters on focused on a café visit, buying shoes or visiting the dentist. There was a story to the learning where characters were introduced at the beginning of the course and you followed their daily lives. The language skills you learnt from the onset were more conducive to be able to construct real dialogues and be able to respond to random responses given by a native speaker. Proper interaction instead of limited scenarios where the responses would be predictable. Although Linguaphone allowed me to speak and understand a good standard of Dutch, there was still this emphasis on working with the dialogues (fun), to then taking through the in-depth grammar and massive vocab lists!
It wasn’t easy but my motivation to learn Dutch was high, matched with my perseverance it led to a really good outcome. On the back of this course I gained an ‘A’ in the Cambridge IGCSE Dutch exam and passed the Certificaat Nederlands als Vreemde Taal niveau Basiskennis. I was well pleased with myself having been self taught that I’d achieved this, which kind of disproved the fact that only really clever people can speak many languages. This is not to say I’m not clever, I’m certainly not a dimwit either (although there are those close to me who would dispute that statement!), but I think it does show that if there is a desire/necessity to acquire a language and the right tools for your personal learning style are available, then anyone can learn a second/third/fourth……language!