Learn a language? You may as well ask me to build my own house!
Are you building or have you built – just like the typical Bavarian – your own house?
Yes? Well, what makes you think you can’t learn a language?
Let’s face facts. You committed yourself to spending probably two years of your life, hundreds of thousands of Euro, every spare minute you had, maybe even damaged your health while doing so, to building a house. You’d never done it before and had no skills to draw on.
And yet you did it.
What helped you? Did you have a vision in your head of your house on your land with your children playing in your garden?.
Was the thought of renting all your life too horrific to consider?
Was it the challenge of doing something with your hands? Or was it what everyone in your family did? Was it an opportunity too good to waste?
Did you have people who could help you do the building work (family/friends/building companies) and did you draw on their help at the right moment?
Did you have a good idea of the time, resource and financial investment, knew it would be hard work but that it would be worth it in the end?
Did you have an idea of the stages (planning permission, foundations, walls, installations, decorations, furniture) and knew where to get advice?
And once you’d built your house, did you then continue improving and maintaining it over the years?
Yes? So what makes you think you can’t learn a language?
„Build your own language house“
You see, learning a language is not easy. It can be slow, it can be expensive and it can cause you a lot of stress.
You see, first you need to want to do it. You start with nothing and need to have a vision of what it will look like when your „language house“ is standing, when you have all the skills you need to easily talk, write, read and listen to English speakers.
Yes, you need to invest in your language house. It will cost you a lot of time, money and stress (maybe). But your vision is stronger, isn’t it?
Then you need to build the shell of your language house. Just like every house has the same basic features (living room, bathroom, garden, etc), everyone’s language house needs the same basics: the present (simple/continuous), past, future tenses, basic vocabulary (about you, your family, your hobbies, your holidays, etc). And like the walls and roof of a house, the basics need to be solid before you can start the next phase. CEF A1.
Then you need to put in the windows, start fitting the electrics in the house. This is when you fill out your language house with more detailed vocabulary, when you can express yourself in more detail in the same situations you learned in A1. At the end of this phase, A2, you can communicate in many situations – not perfectly, you will make many mistakes, but you can make your point. You are ready to move into your language house.
In B1, this is when you start to decorate the walls of your language house, put down flooring, install the bath, install lighting, put down paving in your driveway. You are starting to personalise your language house more and more. You can live in your language house and are starting to fill out your vocabulary with nice expressions and can communicate in a range of situations. There’s a lot of work, but the learning jobs are smaller and you can see the result.
In B2, you’re ready to almost complete your language house. You can communicate in all situations and can correct yourself and pick up more information quickly. Your language house is good enough to stay as it is. Just like a real house, from this point on, you can renovate and improve if you want. You are past the basics and can now think about special wishes that will make your neighbours jealous of your language house because it is better than theirs.
By the time you get to C1 and C2, you are thinking about extensions. Or maybe you’re just happy and only need to do minor jobs. Maybe you’re saving your energy for the future, when a bigger learning effort will be needed. Or maybe you just want to sit back and enjoy.
After all, you put a lot of hard work into it.