Over the past four months, I’ve studied four new foreign languages. In November it was Vietnamese, in December it was Burmese, in January it was Thai, and for the past month of February and early March, I have been studying Korean.
Over these four months, I’ve learned a ton of vocabulary, interacted with people in new places and words, and discovered a lot new ideas about language in general, language learning and even myself through this process.
I suppose my only regret was that I never did this kind of personal experiment before.
Excluding Korean and Korea, which I haven’t gotten to yet, I started studying the language shortly before arriving for a 2-4 weeks “stay” in each of these countries. I got to travel to the place so my need and opportunity to use the language was high. As such, I also got a huge exposure to the native sounds of the language as well as a bunch of cultural interaction through the people, food and various situations I encountered as a traveler.
So, what have I learned about foreign language learning and myself?
To summarize, I learned:
- Fluency is not the only Goal, First Learn To Just Speak
- A Few Native Words Do Make a Difference
- Free Resources and Amazing Technologies, indeed, make the world your oyster for the language learner
- The Reward is in the Encounter: There is No Real Excuse Not to Learn before You Travel Somewhere New