This is the important point to remember:
It Still Isn’t Magic!
Even with passion, there is no magical method to learning a second language through self-study. There is no shortcut. And there is no wizardly teacher to give you the answers! Don’t believe commercials for “quick and easy” language-learning products.
The magic is inside you.
The question is not just, “Are you ready?” The more important question is, Are you brave enough to start today?
That’s what scares a lot of people who want to learn a fascinating language, but never do: It is up to you.
If you say “I will do it tomorrow,” it won’t happen. Ten years from now you will wake up and realize that you still don’t speak more than a word or two of that language.
The culture of your language probably has the motivational tools to help you tackle the discipline of language learning. Among the Lakota people, for example, there are the Lakota Virtues — which may be listed as Four, Seven or Nine, depending on who you ask, but which include Courage, Compassion, Generosity, Wisdom, Perseverance, Respect and Humility.
It may sound odd to bring up cultural virtues and values as tools for learning a language, but consider what a self-study learner is up against, from inside their own head!
Starting today — with the help of a Native speaker or a dictionary — you can learn three words. It doesn’t matter which ones – pick the three you want to speak today. Tomorrow, practice those three and learn two more. Day after day, two more words every day. By next summer, you can enjoy speaking with your grandma or with another active learner.
Passion and cultural values and virtues are your heart’s friends on this path. Your brain, however, has an amazing gift that will be activated by learning a second language, and is likely to change your life even more.
It is Memory.
In Part 3, we’ll look at how the daily effort to learn a language is going to make you smarter.