Should we forget about PhraseMix and just go make international friends?
Yesterday I read a post at the Fluent in 3 Months blog. The author, Benny, says:
If you want to speak a language well, the amount of money or quantity of course material or choosing the “best” one to invest in, or how much you study, will not determine your success. It’s how much you practise it with human beings.
I have to be honest: I don't like this advice. Not because I disagree with it. Actually, I think that it makes a lot of sense. You do learn language best by practicing it with other people. Your experiences create hooks in your mind that are very powerful aids to memory.
The reason I don't like it is because it makes me uncomfortable for a few reasons:
- Finding opportunities to speak with people in another language takes a lot of time and effort. You have to spend time talking with strangers, trying to make friends, or forcing the people you know to speak to you in that language.
- When I speak with people in my foreign language, I feel like I'm inconveniencing them by making them communicate with me in my slow and error-ridden style. For example, I could practice Japanese with my wife, but she speaks English so well that switching to Japanese would feel so slow and inconvenient.
- I generally don't like to rely on other people for help in anything. I like the feeling of doing something on my own, and asking for help makes me feel weak. (Maybe that's a male problem...)
I want for there to be a way to quickly improve my fluency by myself. In my dream world, I would practice until I could speak a language perfectly, and then go out and show off all my skills to people.
The other reason I don't like this advice is because it makes me question whether my work on PhraseMix is useful. By giving readers so much information about English, am I actually hurting you? Or am I at least just wasting my time by providing a lot of advice that no one will ever remember, because it's not personal and emotional enough?
Read Benny's advice, and tell me what you think:Print this Article