Can you learn a language visually? Imagine that you listened to audio recordings of Picasso while he was painting his masterpieces. Imagine that the sound was detailed enough that you could hear every brush stroke. Could you ever become a good painter by just listening to those recordings? No way! Why do we think that the opposite is true? Why do we believe that we can learn to speak a foreign language by looking at the written word?
Would you teach a child how to swim by having the child read a book about swimming? I doubt it. Different abilities require completely different approaches to learning. In this post, I’m going to talk about the differences between becoming fluent in a foreign language and learning other abilities, and why insisting on applying concepts that belong to other abilities is preventing us from learning foreign languages as well as we could.
Adults can’t learn a language as well as children can. Everybody knows that, right? Lots of research papers “prove” that after a certain age we can’t learn grammar and pronunciation to the same level as a native speaker (nevermind that nobody seems to agree on what that age is). Well, I beg to differ. In this post I’m going to discuss why both popular belief and all that research are a result of flawed reasoning and how adults can learn a language as well and as effortlessly as children. Here’s a clue: be a child.
In this post I’m going to share some observations that I made while learning foreign languages. These observations contradict the common beliefs, as I found out that that we don’t need to study grammar rules, to practice speaking or writing, or to get corrections. This realization is what brought me to try to find alternative learning methods and alternative explanations to the different phenomena encountered by language learners.