Ten languages in ten months!
I’m going to take the plunge. And I’m plunging into the deep end.
I’ve been talking a lot about how to learn a language to make travel easier, to meet people, get the most out of your trip, and take the first step to fluency. And of course, I have a system to quickly learn and start speaking as soon as you arrive. So, I’m going to use that system for the next 10 countries I travel too.
That’s right I’m going to attempt to ‘learn’ 10 languages in the next 10 months.
To clarify, when I say ‘learn’ a language I am not talking about being able to speak fluently or proficiently, or even at the intermediate level. I am talking about learning enough so when I arrive I can generally communicate and most importantly have a foundation to easily learn more of the language.
The language rollercoaster
I’ve used my system to learn a language here and there, but I’ve never tried anything this intense before. To be frank, I’m not sure I can do it. But that has seldom stopped me from trying things.
One to two weeks before I go to the next country I will go through my Speak In A Week course and then see how I do when I get to the country. Of course, I will video my learning, progress, and you will see what happens when I actually try to speak the language for the first time when I arrive.
I’ll share my successes, failures, frustrations, and triumphs on what I know is the language learning roller coaster.
You will witness my transformation from knowing none of the language as I start the process to being able to (I hope) express myself and even hold a small conversation on my last day in the country.
I will also have to do the research for each of the languages to fit the Speak In A Week system so this is really going to be demanding.
The Speak In A Week system
A quick rundown of the Speak In A Week system. The course has 7 lessons that focus on a key phrase or word that allows you to easily build-on it to say a lot of things. Each language is different, of course, but I expect to learn 50 to 60 words in each language. By learning the right words I will be in the position to learn even more when I arrive. And when I’m in-country that’s where the real learning takes place.
Ten hard to learn languages
I’ll be honest, I think this is going to be really hard to do! Ten languages is obviously a huge challenge, but I’m also doing this in South East Asia which, for an English speaker, has some of the most difficult languages to learn. What I find so devilishly difficult are the tones used in so many Asian languages.
Fortunately, I am headed to Cambodia in a few weeks so I’ll be starting this project with Khmer. I say fortunately because Khmer is NOT a tonal language. But Khmer is really dissimilar to English. And it’s this lack of a frame of reference that will make this project even more difficult. I expect to try and tackle
and where ever else I’ll be venturing for the other three languages.
You are not alone
I think as language learners we often feel we are the only ones who have certain problems learning a language. With this project I hope to show you that you are not alone in experiencing the frustration with pronunciation, coming across vocabulary words you never seem to recall, speaking and no one understanding you, asking for things and getting something totally different, having your questions met with total laughter.
You are not alone, this is just how it is for all of us attempting to become bi- or multi-lingual.
The language process
I also want to show you the process of learning a language. How you go from
- knowing nothing
- remembering almost nothing
- thinking and then remembering
- speaking haltingly
I’m always amazed at how I look at a set of words and phrases in a new language and think, “There’s no way I can say or understand this” and then over the next few days I’m saying the words and even picking them out when I hear native speakers say them.
Come along with me on this project and I hope you will see that learning a language is doable.