Sunday 20 May 2012

Hot Topic: Learn English in 6 Months

I'm sure you've seen promises made to students about learning English in 6 months or come across info online saying that you can learn any language in 6 months if you use their method. So is it true? Can you really learn a language in 6 months? Well, yes and no.

Some people can learn a language in 6 months. Maybe they've got tons of time to dedicate to learning that language, are exceptionally gifted, or are learning a language that's close to their own (for example, a Spanish speaker should be able to learn Italian pretty quickly).

However, does this mean that they can be completely fluent in that language after only 6 months? A few rare people may be able to, but the majority of people won't. In fact, most people who just study a foreign language, but don't use it daily for work may become conversationally fluent, but not fluent-fluent. For example, I've spoken Spanish since I was 12, lived in 2 different Spanish speaking countries and use Spanish daily to communicate with my husband, but wouldn't consider myself fluent. I could write a research paper or give a formal speech in Spanish.

However, for most people, it takes a lot of work, dedication, and many years to learn a language well, especially if it's a vastly different language like Arabic or Chinese. 

So what should you do when you see these adverts referring to the fact that you can learn any language? Just take them with a grain of salt. Consider how difficult the language is, how much time you have to learn it, and under what circumstances you'll use it. You can also find some useful tips in learning the local lingo.

What do you think?
Do you speak another language? How did you learn and how long did it take for you to learn it?

Got an idea for a hot topic?
Email me with your hot topic, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


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