Lately, I’ve been getting this question: “So, how’s your Spanish going, are you fluent yet?”. It makes me crazy! Of course I’m not fluent. I feel like yelling “I’ve only been learning for less than 9 months, what do you expect buddy? Do you know how may hours and how much dedication it takes to LEARN….ANOTHER…LANGUAGE?”
ahhh out of breath…
Okay so I am probably getting a bit too emotional/defensive/I might be crazy! But it does make me think, am I a slow learner? Then I have to stop and remind myself about the gravity of what I’m trying to achieve here.
I decided to write myself a little list of motivators, to help me keep things in perspective:
> Learning a language at University, where learning is structured, you are provided with the resources you need and conversation practice is factored in for you, takes three years.
> Learning a language at High School (where again, learning is structured for you) takes six years.
> Think about how a baby learns their first language (and how long it takes). They need years of their parents guidance on language through being corrected when they make a language mistake, being told the same sayings over and over again, being read books every night, having songs repetitively sung to them. Even as an adult learner, you will need to go through a similar process.
> Think about all the processes that you’ve learned in order to read, understand and pronounce a simple sentence like: “Dónde se puede comprar una bicicleta (Where can I buy a bike)?”; you’ve learned processes regarding sentence structure, tense, verb conjugation, infinitives, pronouns and vowel and consonant sounds just to name a few.
> You will forever be learning Spanish, just like you are forever learning English. Every little bit you do counts. Don’t treat this like a diet. If you don’t study for a week, or even for a month, don’t give up, just pick up where you left off.
This post is not about justifying, it’s also not about telling people you can’t learn a language in under a year (in fact I’m sure many people have done it in the space of a few months).
It’s just about stepping back and recognising your achievements sometimes.
It’s about giving yourself a pat on the back, not waiting until you can speak Spanish perfectly.
It’s about recognising that this not an impossible undertaking, but it is a complex one and a big commitment.
I’m having a real don’t give up moment.