Busting the myths: The real costs of learning a language
Mario García de León, marketing project manager at Berlitz Schools of Languages, busts the myths surrounding language learning.
You want to learn Dutch. So, you start looking for a language course and find some local offers. Great! Very soon, you will finally be speaking the language, and meeting new people. You won’t need to switch to English anymore. You will eventually be able to talk to the parents at the school gates, order Dutch delicacies at your favourite restaurant, and have friendly chats with your colleagues at the coffee corner.
That's all good and great. But, after a couple of weeks, all your expectations and wishes come abruptly to an end. You start to face reality, and find out that you cannot even formulate a simple sentence after class. You get nervous, your confidence drops, and ultimately you decide to quit.
What just happened? They promised you quick results, that it would be effortless and easy to learn! Where has your confidence gone? Why have you lost interest and do you feel demotivated? Learning a new language is NOT what you thought it was. It was supposed to be fun and inspiring. But instead, it has become an odyssey, a task, a big nasty monster. Time for some myth busting!
Busting the myths
Don't buy into the following language learning myths:
1. There is a quick and cheap solution
There is no quick fix to learning a new language! It is comparable to putting in the effort at the gym; the more time you put into training and developing your language muscles, the stronger you are going to be.
In order to reach a sufficient level of knowledge to feel comfortable with any language, you will need about 250 hours of group training or about 120 hours of private training (absolute beginners).
There is a balance between monetary investment and the time taken to complete a foundation programme. If you need to learn quickly, for a job for example, then private learning is recommended. If you have the time and there is no rush, then a group programme might be better for you.
2. An hour a week is enough
Learning a language requires a lot of motivation. Motivation fuels results. So, you need to experience results to gain confidence quickly. If you achieve results, you will feel good.
If your aim is to learn the language well enough to have conversations with confidence, then one hour a week will not be sufficient. Ideally, you will want to plan a minimum of two to three sessions of 2-3 hours per week.
3. e-Learning will deliver
Nowadays, you can find many (free) online and mobile solutions that promise to teach you any language. E-Learning tools are just supplements, add-on tools, something that adds value but cannot become the main form of learning. Why? Because they are one directional.
You will need real interaction with a teacher to develop your spoken language and to build confidence in the use of the language. Do not expect to become fluent in a language by just playing with an app.
4. All the Dutch speak English!
Often, people will say, why learn Dutch? All Dutch people speak English! However, if you are not here as a tourist, and are working in the Netherlands, the Dutch very much appreciate it if you attempt to use the Dutch language. The Dutch know it is a difficult language to learn, but the fact that you are trying is noted!
If you are committed to learning the basics, Berlitz is here to help you! For more information, contact Berlitz.