The modern world is full of innovative and high-tech platforms that claim to be able to help you learn a language in a very short time. Some of them make outlandish promises like fluency in 30 days, and all just from a handy smartphone app.
The image above is from Damnoen Saduak, Thailand! Visit our log in page to see amazing images from every country on the planet.
We don’t want to step on the toes of our fellow language learning providers, but in our view, there is only one sure-fire way to learn a language in any meaningful and lasting way --- immersion with native speakers.
🗪 The most authentic vocabulary
Smartphone apps and vocabulary books tend to focus on “proper” words, which some may think are better, but if your goal is to be able to converse naturally and using authentic, current, and popular words, then native speakers are the only choice. They are plugged into the “matrix” of their native lexicon, and will offer more than just individual words, but also phrases, sayings and alternative uses and meanings for more mundane words.
Who else, for example, but a native English speaker could really delve into the deep realms of the broad and diverse meanings of words like “set” and “run”? Each has hundreds of possible meanings, and a clutch of fantastic idiomatic expressions. “I’ve got to run now, but my oh my that was such a close-run thing that it made my blood run cold.” Leave it to a native to explain all those ‘runs,’ otherwise you’ll run yourself ragged.
🎀 Perfect Pronunciation
For many, mastering the grammar, vocabulary and linguistic structure is not enough. They just have to go for perfect pronunciation as well. So, to whom will you turn when you are in need of pitch-perfect words? A native speaker, of course!
Not only will immersing yourself with a native speaker help you master the pronunciation of individual words, but also see how words interact with each other and meld together in a natural cadence. Even the best non-natives can’t always master this, and natives can do it without even thinking!
🦺 No “Safety Net”
Learning a foreign language with a teacher that speaks your mother tongue is comforting, and we understand that. You feel safer because you know that when you don’t know a word or understand something the teacher says, you can ask for it translated or clarified in your own language.
It sounds really ideal to have this kind of “safety net” placed under your language learning, but we are here to tell you that this is something that is holding you back. Immersing yourself with native speakers that are unlikely to know your own language is always more ideal, because then you are forced to listen more carefully, identify keywords, and then remember and use those words yourself.
When it comes to retention, expanding vocabulary, and using new words and expressions, the “no safety net” approach is much more effective.
🧠 Background Knowledge
In our first point, we talked about how native speakers are better at guiding you to the most current and authentic vocabulary and how it’s used. In addition to this, native speakers can offer a lot more background and insight into why we use certain words at different times.
Since a lot of specific “laws” that govern language, some written and some unwritten, are founded in a local culture or history, it’s better left to native speakers to explain that. A great example is the Chinese word “您” – “Nin” – which if you look up in a dictionary will be explained as meaning “you (formal).” Learners of French will immediately compare it to the word “vous” and Spanish to the formal “usted” mode of speaking.
Talk to a native speaker, however, and they’ll throw in the story of how the character holds its meaning even when you erase various parts of it. Delete the bottom “心” (xin) component, and you’re left with “你” (ni) which means “you” (informal). Delete the slanted T-like element on the left, and you have “尔” (er) which also means “you” but is more archaic. Language is a funny thing, and the natives know more than us.
🤔 Immersive Learning
When you immerse with native speakers, every single bit of your conversation is useful, even when you’re not talking about a class topic. Every piece of small talk, every instruction, and every correction is helping you heighten your linguistic awareness, expand your vocabulary, boost your listening skills and integrate new language forms.
When you want a steep learning curve that will effectively teach you a lot of content, then nothing beats class with a native speaker.
😃 Learn with a native speaker...right here at LanguageConvo!
Start your language learning experience today by working with one of the many skilled and knowledgeable native speakers right here on LanguageConvo. Contact us today to get started!
🎉 Get started!
Are you interested in really, finally learning a new language? Here at LanguageConvo we connect you with a professional, native-speaking teacher for affordable, customized private lessons. Get started with a 100% free trial lesson by clicking here.