Thursday, January 5, 2017

Why Can't I speak English , I have been learning for a YEAR????

According to language learning theory, (from a few theorists)  Language acquisition  takes place in a few stages.  

Let's think of these as a child begins to learn language.  
First there is a passive stage,  that even begins before birth.  This is why some parents like to play Mozart to their unborn babies.  It works as well if you read aloud, or learn a new musical instrument. 
(I learned the saxophone when I was pregnant with one of my kids)  
So, at this stage children are passive on the outside, but inside they are picking up new words and phrases.  When you are a beginning language learner you are also picking up new words if you work on your target language every day. 

This stage lasts until you have a working vocabulary that you can think in sentences in your target language.  

Then, if we go back to the metaphor of a child, at about 1.5 to 2 years, a child begins to speak.  It may be one word at a time, it could be a few.  But they do have the vocabulary, and they are just trying it out.  

The language learner also gets to a point where it seems to fall into place. This is the time when it is very important to use the target language, either reading, listening or speaking every day.  Then you will feel more comfortable in speaking.  

When I was learning Hebrew, I only could read Hebrew with vowels.  But reading the newspaper was too hard because most Israeli newspaper don't have vowels.  There was a day.  Yes, one day that I looked at an Israeli newspaper without vowels and I could read it!  It was one day I couldn't read without vowels and then the next day I didn't need them anymore!!!!  

This process can happen as well with speaking.  One day you can't speak, and the next day, BAM, sentences come out of your mouth with ease!  

Why can't a person speak in the target language after a year of language learning?  Well each person learns at their own pace. 
I have been learning French seriously since July 2016.  I am almost at the end of the Beginner level.  but I can't speak yet.  Am I frustrated?  No, Yes, Ok a bit.  But when I pick up the beginner book, I can understand what I read!  This is a big step since last July. 

So the answer is not to get down on yourself for not speaking yet.  Patience and give yourself a pat on the back for making progress. 

Reward yourself every week, that you can do your target language every day.  

Speak with a native speaker of that language every day.  
Take Language lessons with a Native speaker Fully Qualified Credentialed Teacher. 

Good luck on your language learning! 

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