You will have to excuse the title but this promise to hack your way through life, and in this particular case language learning is absurd and I wish to talk today about the beauty of learning a language which you can use in other countries, and the joy of that experience. I keep seeing these ads by polyglots who promise that in a very short time you will be able to speak a new language but the truth is that these are charlatans who are preying on the desires that people have to learn the language.
I have been speaking Spanish now for 4 years, and I am still learning things, and this is why I would always recommend that you learn a language at a slow pace.
When you cram a language into your head like many of these apps and programs promise you will certainly have some words in there but they won’t last long because your brain doesn’t have the time to create a lasting impression of the word. There is also the issue around multiple use words, in Spanish for example you could use tirar, echar and lanzar for the English word ‘throw’ but all three have very specific meanings when it comes to the word throw. This is the stuff you miss when you just try to cram it all in.
There is real depth to language learning that only comes from the slow experience which sees you getting out there, speaking the language, making mistakes and moving forward. It is definitely possible for you to learn the grammatical foundations of the language and then look to pack in as much vocal as possible, but even then these foundations are ever changing and there are tenses which you really need to get your head around before you start to use them.
Even if you are trying to learn a thousand new words in English in a week, that is still going to be a difficult or potentially impossible challenge, and that is literally just learning words, not tenses and grammatical rules.
Finally doing things in this way loses the key aspect of what learning a language is all about, which is to crack the code between you and someone who doesn’t speak English. I met my great friend Javier Burillo through a language learning app, and I have been down to Mexico to meet him a number of times, where I have also met friends through speaking the language, and often getting it wrong! This is not math or science, this something which is going to create and increase your ability to connect to humans all over the world, and it is only through this learning that you will be able to find those people, cramming it in over a very short time will not give you the same experience.
Should you learn a language? Absolutely. Should you take your time? One hundred percent.