Language Learning Success Stories: People who have learned languages in a limited amount of time

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. 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.

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How I Learned Portuguese in 5 Months
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6 comments

  1. Thanks, that's a nice page and can really benefit people.

    However, he doesn't really seem to have a story about it.

    He has something like *a book* about it and he also writes a blog but I wasn't able to find an organized story about it (perhaps I'm missing something). That's why I am a bit reluctant to add the page to the list.

    Otherwise, it's cool if it stays in the comments and people can still benefit from it.

  2. One thing about having a limited amount of time each day or week to learn a language is that it can force you to get down to the meat of the material. If you match that up with consistency (a long period of time) then your on the right track.

  3. I think all depend on how you learn the language and may be where you learn it

  4. it all depend’s on how much you want it, if you want something so bad, you have to be obsessed with it and generally I think more credit goes to the one who learn’s through himself. 

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