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"This way of learning a language made complete sense to me. Working with the SpeakEZ German course, I was able to understand more in 2 weeks than in five years of German in school!"
      -- Asbjørn Finsnes

"The way in which this method is presented provided me with language that will suit me in a foreign country instead of a collection of unusable vocabulary words.

Those who have studied languages realize that looking-up individual words cannot convey a language in the correct manner. Becoming fluent means being able to verbalize ideas ; not learning technical rules and identifying the Past Predicate Indicative.

The audio part of this method has been my favorite portion of the learning process. Not only is the pronunciation slow and clear, but it is presented so that I remember the flow of sentences and concepts.

Thank you for the opportunity to work with this amazing program; it has been a blessing for me."

-- Destiny Yarbro, College Student

Language Practice + 2: Two Minutes to JumpStart Your Language Learning

by Nathalie V. Fairbanks

Why do you think so many people give up on learning their new language after a few months? One of the reasons is that they can't picture themselves in a situation where they're speaking to someone in, say, Spanish.

Don't become one of them! Clearly learning a language is at least as much an exercise in getting out of your comfort zone, as it is a matter of mastering vocabulary, sentence patterns and verb forms. You need a strong purpose to subject yourself to what it takes to communicate in your new language. There are many situations you'll run into that won't flatter your ego. You might find yourself feeling silly when you practice the French "r" or roll the "r" in Spanish. You might be mortified having to ask a native speaker to repeat what he said five times before you have a clue of what's going on and then have to endure him looking at you, as if you were missing some essential brain matter!

You need a vision to pull you through during the times you feel overwhelmed and frustrated. Depending on what your reason is for learning a new language, your vision will differ.

Can you picture yourself

- having a phone conversation in Spanish with a customer, answering her questions in fluent Spanish, even joking with her on the phone and closing the deal?

- having this same conversation and understanding everything she says, as if it were English (or your native language) and having her refer her colleagues to you because your Spanish was so easy to understand?

- in a local restaurant in your new country, casually chatting for an hour with a new acquaintance, talking about your work, your family, or your interests and then hearing a native speaker compliment you on your accent?

- enjoying a movie, and making it through without turning on the subtitles?

- watching the news in Spanish and catching something that the media in your country kept quiet?

- on a date, flirting with your new flame in Spanish without a dictionary in your pocket?

Not all of these situations might apply to you, but you must have some goal that motivates you to keep going and to invest your spare time studying. Be very clear on what that goal is and keep it present in your consciousness.

Here's my suggestion:
This year, think of your language practice time as "Study Spanish + 2" (substitute the language you're learning for "Spanish").

Spend two minutes before starting your language CD visualizing how you will master any of the situations above effortlessly; how everything you want to say comes out just right; how the other person speaks to you just as she would speak to any other native speaker; and how you pick it up as naturally as if it were English (or your native language). Most importantly, imagine how good all of this makes you FEEL.

I know, this sounds crazy. You'll see that the results are very real! If you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, you'll be stumbling in the dark forever--just like most people who "took Spanish for 6 years" and still can't follow a conversation, let alone participate in one.

You can do this! May 2009 be the year you feel confident and fearless speaking your new language and find yourself making connections with people who were previously out of reach!

© 2009 Nathalie V. Fairbanks

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