Don't Just Learn a Language, Get Familiar With It.
Getting to where we are familiar with the language, with the intonation, with the pronunciation, with the word choices. This is all part of learning language. It's all part of our brains getting used to the language. Hi there, Steve Kaufmann here and today, I want to talk a little philosophically about language learning.
I want to talk about how we get to know a language, how we become familiar with them. Uh, not necessarily how we learn the language, because that's a big part of learning the language. So remember if you enjoy these videos, please subscribe, um, click on the bell for notifications. And of course, if you follow me on, uh, any of the podcast, um, websites, then please leave a re uh, you know, uh, review.
So, you know, I like to talk here about language learning. I know that many of my videos are used by people who are learning Enlgish so I try to speak clearly. Uh, I think my Canadian accent is a somewhat neutral, so it's probably easy for people to understand. And I talk about language learning because I want to encourage people to learn languages.
And I want to sort of, uh, make language learning seem less of a difficult thing. Uh, I think if you follow these videos, you'll know that I sort of, um, encourage people to treat language learning as sort of a natural activity. Something that if we put in enough time, we will improve. Uh, we don't have to get everything right.
We don't have to get a big, you know, a high score on the test. As I do try to avoid tests, try to avoid drills exercises, try to just learn the language. And a big part of that is this sense of becoming familiar with the language so that the language becomes like a friend. So you get to know the language, just like you get to know, you get very familiar with people in your family, familiar family.
You get to know your friends, you get to know their characteristics. Um, when you see them. You know how they behave, you know, what their character is like. So you become very sort of intimately connected with them. And I feel the same way with the languages that I've learned. Uh, maybe it's because I do a lot of listening.
So, you know, I'm not deliberately trying to learn anything I do when I'm, you know, after listening, I review it on my iPad and look at words and stuff, but I'm not deliberately trying to learn anything. I'm more trying to become friends with the language I'm trying to start to get in the mood to enjoy the language.
And I think that helps in terms of pronunciation, for example, in terms of intonation, in terms of using the right phrase, Uh, as we start to become familiar with the language, even if we don't fully understand it, a lot of these things are kind of penetrating us. I noticed this in my Arabic and my, and my Persian, uh, not paradoxically.
And remember, again, that many of you are studying languages at school, or you may be studying them for professional reasons, which was my case when I was learning Chinese 50 years ago, that was my job. I was doing it seven hours a day, but now I'm doing it as a hobby. I'm doing it out of interest. I'm doing it because I'm interested, not only in the language, but in the history and the culture behind that language and possibly travel and food and meeting people.
And that whole sense of being able to participate in another cultural media. So that's what motivates me. And what I found recently is that my strategy of, you know, and, and this is this whole issue of studying more than one language, say two languages at the same time, you know, what's the best way to combine languages.
Should we be doing two languages the same day or alternating days? And I'm beginning to find that if I go one week on one and one week on the other, then when I come back to the first one, I'm sort of reconnecting with an old friend and that's a nice feeling. And I mean, even finding, and as I said before, this is a business of benign neglect.
If you leave one language, go to the other one for awhile, come back to the first one, all of a sudden things are clearer. Um, maybe because you've pushed your brain to work this other language. And maybe because if we stay with the one language and we're trying to learn and we're disappointed that we're not doing better in a certain way, frustration, creeps, creeps in.
Whereas if we leave it for awhile, do this other language and then we come back to the first one we rediscover an old friend, everything is fresh again. And I do find that I hear things more clearly. Uh, I I'm a little more aware of, of, of the language and getting to where we are familiar with the language, with the intonation, with the pronunciation.
Word choices. This is all part of learning language. It's all part of our brains getting used to that language. And if we can develop this sort of natural, getting to know the language, we're going to speak more naturally, as opposed to trying to learn it through rules and tests and things of that nature.
And it's surprising. I was, uh, I spent a while with, with, uh, Persian. Then I started listening to my, um, Arabic, uh, podcast again. And I find that, you know, I recognize my old friend, I recognize some of the personality of the Arab speaker. He's sort of very intent on getting his view across and he uses certain expressions in a, uh, certainly in the, uh, in the standard Arabic, which I'm listening to from, you know, these political podcasts.
Uh, the Egyptian Arabic has a different personality and I have a very good tutor who's creating content for me in Egypt. And so I can get familiar with and get to know and get to feel the personality of Egyptian Arabic. And then I'll leave that and then I'll go to my Persian again. And on each of these occasions, it's staying fresh for me.
And then I'm rediscovering an old friend. Picking up where we left off and I find that I'm progressing perhaps or enjoying it more or less frustrated by my lack of progress and more aware that I am becoming more familiar with the language. It's becoming more familiar to me. It's becoming more of a friend to me.
I'm recognizing characteristics. Therefore intonation, pronunciation, turns of phrases. And in that way, the language is gradually penetrating. And this normally, and I found this when, after an absence, I started speaking again with, with my tutor, all of a sudden, all of this familiarity, this comfort level with the language as being, you know, converts itself into being able to speak more fleet freely and speak more, I wouldn't say fluently yet in those languages, but more comfortably in those languages. So, you know, learning languages is not just learning the rules, although it can help to review the basic patterns of the language. It's it's becoming, you know, emotionally connected to the language, becoming more familiar with the language, making the language your friend.
So I find a strategy of alternating languages works for me, but some people may prefer to stay with one language, but ultimately we want to sort of get that language. And so I think learning language includes this sense of making these languages your friend, making them familiar to you. So a little bit of a vague thought, but it's something that's been running around and in my mind, and I'd be interested in, in any reaction.
Maybe what I had to say there is, is just a lot of nonsense. I don't know. Anyway, thanks for listening.