Learning languages in a limited amount of time – is it possible? Well, some people do it. I want to collect a small list of personal stories of people who have done this from the web and link to them here. Here goes:
- Chinese in Two Years – a story that I have found in Aspiring Polyglot’s blog about a guy who has learnt Chinese from scratch in two years. Well, pretty impressive, considering it’s Chinese and not some Romance language but it seems that the second year was a study abroad program to Beijing. Of course, in terms of learning the language it’s a great decision but that’s a bit like cheating, isn’t it? It’s like writing an article on “how I learned maths” and writing in it: “I went to classes and the teacher taught me”. Not much value for the learner. Regardless of that, he mentions some tips such as finding a girlfriend in China (duh) or listening to Chinese podcasts and also makes a list of mistakes he did which you can learn from. He learnt Chinese almost fluently in two years so I guess you could find this article inspirational.
- French in One Year – this guy seems to have managed to learn French and successfully pass a standardized French test in one year and he writes about his experiences in this article. Some great language learning tips there. I had found this website a while ago while I was actively learning French myself and I really enjoyed reading it. The thing I can recall from it even now is his way to remember the genders of the words un problème and une erreur: very clever.
- Portuguese in 5 Months – my own story. I admit that I always wanted to beat those other guys and write my story. So I did. I learned Portuguese without ever having studied the language before up to a level where I could read books and understand the sense of them without a dictionary in 5 months and I tell you how I did it. I did it just like the Chinese-learning guy, though: I lived in the country. However, this has changed my attitude to language learning and I now understand how it is unfair to say that one learns the language automatically by living in the country because that’s not true. In any case, I am glad I could make a contribution with this story of my own.
That’s it. Three items. If you have more good inspirational language success stories like that, feel free to post them in the comments.