At some point in our lives, we’ve likely heard the fable of “The Tortoise and the Hare,” originally by Aesop but also reproduced in the mid-17th century by Jean de La Fontaine. For those who don’t know it, here’s a quick summary:
A tortoise 🐢 is walking along when suddenly a hare 🐇 mocks him for his slow movement. Incensed and slighted, the tortoise challenges the hare to a race. The hare accepts, assuming that victory against such a slow opponent will be easy. As the race begins, the hare rockets off the starting line, leaving the tortoise in his dust. He gets such a lead that he decides to take a nap halfway around. Upon waking, to his horror, the hare discovers that while he has been asleep the tortoise has caught up, overtaken and completed the race before him.
The image above is from a farming community in Bangladesh! Visit our log in page to see amazing images from every country on the planet.
The moral of the story? Slow and steady wins the race! Why are we telling you ancient Greek tales? We feel that this carries a pertinent lesson to today’s language users. We all know this story and understand its lesson, but we don’t live by its teaching. We seem to want everything faster nowadays --- communication, delivery, meals and more --- and we have forgotten that slow but steady progress is still the best way.
🐢 Language learning – slow and steady wins the race
When you decide to learn a new language, it’s a big undertaking. There’s a lot to get through, a lot to understand and master. You can’t rush it in a single intensive sprint, no matter how many schools of self-study books promise you fluency in 30 days. Here’s why “slow and steady” is the best policy:
Trying to go fast will set you back in the long run
There’s a reason that sprinters only run short distances, they expend all their energy in the burst of a few hundred meters. Burning yourself out will only embitter you and set you back as you start to feel increasingly that learning a new language is impossible for you.
You can set achievable goals and stick to them
Moving at a steady pace allows you to set yourself realistic study goals. Like when you meet an exercise goal at the gym, meeting a study goal will fill you with confidence and positivity. You’ll be keener than ever to move on to the next unit.
You have time to master a topic area properly before moving on
When going at speed, you’ll be moving through language units faster than you can possibly process them. If you don’t give yourself time to master the material, then it will fall out of your head as quickly as you tried to cram it in there. Take your time, read around subjects, reflect on them before you move to the next area.
Starting off at a sprint will leave you with nothing to show for time or energy spent
In the end, when you rocket off the starting line with no notion of how far you still have to go, in the end you just end up with nothing --- no energy, no time, no language skills and no will to go on with it. In short, rapid language learning is money, time and spirit poured directly down the drain.
So, remember the lesson of the humble tortoise. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, however slow it may seem. Every step forward is progress! Remember too that even slow steps can be big steps when you make learning with a native speaker part of your study process. Get in touch with us here at LanguageConvo to practice your skills with a native speaker! 🐇
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