Ugh! Why is learning a second language so HARD?

So what the hell do I know about learning another language? Only this much… I finally did it.

Years of Spanish in high school left me unable to speak or understand a syllable. Why? Why, when you’re older than 10 is it so hard to learn a second language? Really there are two reasons. One is kind of obvious. It’s a very, very, very, broad subject. Think about it this way: before you’ve reached a certain age you don’t have a lot to say. That’s because as you grow up you’re learning WHAT you want to say at the same time you’re learning HOW to say it. But at some point you discover that suddenly you have A LOT to say. This happens over a lot of years. But by that time language learning becomes very difficult indeed. You’re in a rush now. You have so much to say and now you have to learn HOW to say all of those things – all over again.

By the way, those things you want to say are not words. There aren’t really that many words that you have to learn to speak a new language. Well, there are a lot, but you’d be surprised how quickly you pick them up. No, those things you want to say are much more numerous than words. They are concepts. Concepts are so numerous that in any given language you can use precisely the same words and actually mean quite a few different concepts depending on how you say them or what else you said. The point is, you want to be able to say a lot of things – and that makes language a particularly broad subject.

But the other reason that language learning is so hard is that you’re using the wrong method.

I’m writing this blog, not to help you with the first reason – I can’t do much about that – it is what it is, but to help you with the second. Studying languages has helped me to realize just how important method is – for anything that you want to study. And at least I can say that I’ve discovered a great method for learning languages and I’m pretty excited about it.