French is one of the most desirable languages ever founded. The way it rolls off the tongue, the subtle notes and melodic pitches are unlike any other language. This has made French one of the most sought after languages for aspiring polyglots around the world after English and in the US, after Spanish.
I started learning French three years ago when I started FIT and I knew it would have been an arduous road to fluency, but not this hard (lol). After three years, I can hold a conversation, but there is so much depth to learning a language and reaching fluency, that I have barely scratched the surface. My experience of language learning has helped me discover the following:
Without continuous practice, you’ll never pass “Bonjour.” – When I started my quest to French fluency, no one was more committed than I was. I nailed every class, my speaking improved and I gained some confidence in my abilities to master the language. However, when my second semester came around it was time to move on to French grammar. I failed the class miserably – I got a “F” :(. I think it is safe to say grammar is not my strong point and this discouraged me a bit. Withstanding that defeat, I rebounded the next semester and got an “A” in French conversation. Which was an amazing comeback. This is when I realized that my language learning abilities were not based on grammar but more so holding a conversation and learning as I go along. The issue with the conversation aspect of my “Learning French” mission is finding native French speakers to have dialogue. When you live in an English speaking country, that can be a challenge. Also, you do not want just any French friend, but someone who is patient, knowledgeable, willing to assist, and also offer advice. I am hopeful I will find that person soon though, but for now “je ne sais quois.”
It will not happen overnight – Unless you are religiously studying something day and night, it is very hard to master it quickly. According to The Linguist, you would have to study 10 hours per day for almost three months to reach “fluency” in a language. Who has that time? Unless you move to France, then that maybe would expedite the process, but sitting at home for 10 hours daily studying a language would get tiring and is not realistic. Therefore, you should find ways to immerse yourself in the language daily by incorporating it into real life situations. Utilizing apps such as Duolingo is great for this as it gives you tests based on your fluency level and just yesterday they launched Duolingo Chatbots. This new update will enable you to have real time conversations with in-app software which mimic real life.
Learning a language nowadays is more a choice than necessity – As recent as ten years ago, if you wanted to be a part of the global community it was necessary to have at least one or two languages under your belt. However, with the introduction of Google Translate and now a barrage of mobile apps and software which can translate in real time through voice and touch; language learning is now merely a choice. As technology improves, this area will only grow and make language immersion and communication easier for nations and individuals. Learning a language, as in my case and for most people has become a means of exercising the brain. Based on studies, language learning keeps you alert, improves your memory, you become more perceptive and decision-making skills are enhanced among other benefits. Plus, who wouldn’t want to walk the streets of Paris speaking to locals without using their phone? So if you want all these advantages, maybe you should consider studying that foreign language you have always admired. Tim Ferriss has some great tips on learning any language in record time and you can find that here. However, if you are a part of the “I can get an app for that” generation, then by all means, go ahead.
Learning a foreign language can be exciting but it can also be a challenge. Just find the tools that work for you and utilize them. At the end of the day, whether you are studying for work or pleasure, it is an asset you will have for life.
Are you studying a language? How has it been? Let me know in the comments below.