What is the most fundamental key to learning another language? I would have to say interest and passion. If you are interested and passionate about anything, you will spend the time and resources to pursue that passion. The interest may come from within you, or can come from a need to survive. If you need to learn something in order to survive, you will inevitably have interest in it. We didn’t have to be a genius to learn to speak our mother tongue as a child, did we? We just needed it to survive.
This TED article on a teenager named Timothy Doner that taught himself 20 languages is a fascinating look into the process of learning another language. He started out being fascinated about the Middle East, so started listening to an Israeli funk group album every single morning. He says, “At the end of a month, I had memorized about twenty of their songs by heart — even though I had no clue what they meant. But once I learned the translations it was almost as if I had downloaded a dictionary into my head; I now knew several hundred Hebrew words and phrases — and I’d never had to open a textbook.” This start led him to learn more and more languages. I do agree with his conclusion about the goal of becoming conversational in many languages. “But while I’ve come to realize I’ll never be fluent in 20 languages, I’ve also understood that language is about being able to converse with people, to see beyond cultural boundaries and find a shared humanity. And that’s a lesson well worth learning.”
I have experienced myself that being able to converse in the language of the person’s heart really opens up thoughts and feelings that would otherwise be impossible to communicate. If we can somehow develop the interest and passion in learning another language, it is possible and enjoyable for anyone out there.
Team of Hansa One Directors, Trainers and Instructors sharing experiences and interests on all things cultures and languages.