Becoming Fluent is Not the End Goal


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    There’s always a motivating factor to learning a language; maybe you want to meet new people, explore new cultures, use it for business, or maybe you simply enjoy the mental exercise. Whatever your reasons, “becoming fluent” for its own sake should not be one of them.

    Fluency and the Motivating Factor

    If your desire is to become fluent, then there is usually a motivating factor behind that desire. If you can identify that motivating factor, then you can usually find ways to help fulfill that motivation at your current language level. This is not to say that you shouldn’t seek to improve your fluency; like in our previous post about fun ways to learn a language, we’re simply guiding you towards enjoying the learning experience itself.

    Motivation is the Key

    This list of example motivations may not cover yours, but they are meant to get you thinking about what you can do right now to accomplish your goals. You may want to become fluent so that you can:

    • Read, write, or translate books, poems or articles
      • It may take more time, but with the help of a dictionary, and the internet, you should be able to work through understanding or constructing each sentence
      • Start by finding words that rhyme (great for building vocabulary), then start with simple simple stanzas; your first poems do not have to rival those of Edgar Allen Poe
    • Understand news programs, and watch movies, or videos
      • This will also take more time, but try finding news programs that have been recorded, where you can repeat portions of it as much as you’d like
      • It helps if the video has subtitles, or a transcription of the audio so that you can follow along more easily
    • Teach the language to others
      • Tutoring others on what you know, or collaborative learning is a way that you can get started right now
      • As you grow, you will be able to teach more and more material to others
    • Move to a country/location that speaks your target language
      • Seek out local communities particular to that country or culture, and see how you can get involved
      • There are many virtual worlds in which you can spend time interacting with people of a certain language, such as second life

    As you struggle through these activities at your current language level, you will start to find that the activities become easier and easier. This is an indicator that you’re learning, and can be extremely reassuring.

    Your motivations may be different than the examples above, but it’s important to consider your motivations for wanting to master a language; there may be things you can do right now to help fulfill those motivations.

    If you have a motivation that I didn’t mention, then I’d love to read it and add it to the list. Simply comment on this post. If you have a language learner in your life, maybe start up a conversation about their motivation for learning a foreign language.


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