"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
- 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
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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