A few years ago I blogged about how to choose which language to study. Part I dealt with vision; who are you trying to be, which language are you speaking in the future? Part II was about which language is the most practical language, since people seem to be extremely horny for whatever is practical. In Part III I try to address the easy language, for those people who just want to skip to “the end,” fluency, free sodas, and recreational drugs. I am being sarcastic.
The thing that sucks the joy out of me is that many people aren’t looking for the easy language, or the practical language, or the language they can see themselves speaking in the best, most adventurous versions of themselves. Instead, they’re looking for the lazy language. The root of that is the ridiculous assumption that language learning is both painful and impossible, which seems like a strange thing, I don’t know why people keep choosing it.
By the way, should we just say it? Should we just say, “Spanish is the easy language for Americans!” Great. Listen, if I open up my Chinese textbook to a vocabulary list of any particular chapter, I find a list of about a dozen or so vocabulary words for the chapter, more or less. When I open my Spanish textbook to a vocabulary page for a chapter, I find six dozen vocabulary words. Which language is easy; which language is lazy? Is learning 15 unfamiliar things harder than learning 72 less unfamiliar things? Why does that question even make sense to you?
Here are a couple of videos I’ve made to help recruit students into my programs. The first one, I made in 2015 when I was trying to get students to sign up for Mandarin at Seattle Prep. Here’s the higher quality version. If that’s not working for some reason, here’s a youtube copy:
Now it’s 2018, and I’m at Xavier College Prep, and we made one for the whole language department. Here’s the original link, but the youtube version is here:
Doing the video in the target languages wasn’t my idea, but I thought we’d try it out. I was a little worried that it would spook the monolinguals, but so far it seems ok. The next one I do will be even better.