Comparing apples to oranges, or: how not to fool yourself when reading language blogs

I always find it kind of misleading when I come across blogs from people who learn a language within a certain time span.
There is nothing inherently dishonest with those endeavours, and the guys who write those blogs actually learn their languages within the time span given. But whenever they suggest that their average blog reader can achieve the very same thing, I think they underestimate just how different lives and experiences are and how much power these circumstances exert.

Even if one of those bloggers starts his new language from scratch, it’s something entirely different from the average housewife taking on to learning a language after 20 years of ironing clothes and watching TV.
The guys over there are fucking used to learning a language. Imagine Mr. Fatty and Mr. Sporty both starting on taking skiing classes – can you guess which one will learn faster?

And it’s not only about training. It’s also about passion. If you start a blog on how to learn a language, chances are you are a bit more freakish about learning nerdy stuff than average Joe. After a certain line is crossed, language learning starts to become a nerd activity. There are few sane people who’ll start a blog on how to learn Polish because, you know, they just like learning this shit. So whenever you come across such a language blog, you’re likely to read advices from people who are used to being somewhat different and who are quite creative when it comes to using their brain.

At the end of the day, it narrows down to language difficulty. Learning Polish is quite easy. If you are a Czech. You’ll have prior knowledge that enables you to grasp the concept of that language way faster than, say, a native German.

On a different scale, the same idea holds true for any language enthusiast you’ll encounter. Those guys just have prior knowledge when it comes to learning languages in general that makes learning any language much easier for them as for the unsuspecting housewife.

However, even beginners can learn a lot from them – they just need to realize that, since their preconditions are different, they may need some more time and patience until their brain starts working like the one of a true language nerd.

Published in: on April 8, 2011 at 9:49 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] already mentioned some of my thoughts about polyglot blogs here. However, in this post I assumed that yes, the bloggers in question are no impostors but do […]

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