Back on April 5th, there was an article posted on the Transparent Connect blog: “Focus on intelligibility, not perfect pronunciation“. That article got me thinking, perfection is a great goal to have in learning a new language since you want to get to know other cultures, make new friends, and travel around the globe. But it’s true; you really don’t have to be 100% perfect in the final results.
When learning a language, your biggest priority is to make yourself understood. Of course there will be vocabulary and pronunciation issues, and then you have to understand any replies from a native speaker. But if you can manage to say “I want buy apples” and the merchant gives you apples, then you’ve reached a goal. Tweaking your grammar and pronunciation can come at a later time.
The idea that you have to pass an exam, get certified to show you know the language, or prove that you know a certain amount of words, etc. is great if you’re learning a language for academic reasons, but it has little value in the real world. When you walk up to native speakers, you don’t want to show them a certificate of what you know; you want to confidently speak to them in their language.
But I want to be sure I get it right
That is a good goal to have. And I myself have gone down that path many times. While you’re learning and trying to get things perfect, keep in mind that even the smallest detail will consume a lot of your time. This will slow down your progress and can result in frustration or giving up. Do you want to know a little secret to learning a language quickly?
Here’s the secret
Learn the necessary vocabulary before you start reading the foreign texts in your lessons. That way you can focus on the words first and you’ll know what to expect in the reading. It makes things much simpler and smoother. While you’re reading, make notes of any words you need to look up, or any grammar points that you’ve never seen. If you focus too much on learning how the language works and perfecting that aspect, you’ll find your reading and comprehension skills may suffer. So my advice to you is to just jump right in and start reading and speaking the language, you’ll be able to absorb grammar and structure as you go along.
Before You Know It
And while you’re at it, why not try your skills at building your vocabulary with Byki Express software by Transparent Language? It’s a free download and available in over 70 languages.