From my interaction with various people, I have come to learn that the biggest culprit that hinders them from pursuing a foreign language are the grammar rules. And, by grammar, I don’t mean a shortcoming on their part, what I mean is that they let the rules of grammar discourage them before they even start. What is interesting is that the same grammar rules exist for example, in Swahili and English and they never deterred us from learning these languages. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that most us learnt those languages during our formative years and therefore we had no choice that involved dropping out if things got tough. We were only presented with two viable choices. Choice A, you had to make it. Choice B, you had to make it.
Let me use specific examples to illustrate my point above. And what I’ll discuss here are real life examples of what people have actually told me. Someone told me that what ‘scared’ them when it came to Spanish was the thing they hear about objects being masculine or feminine, and where the subject and the verb arrangement are different from English. In most cases, what has been interesting is finding out that some of the people who are discouraged by this have a list of accomplishments so impressive, accomplishments where they had to overcome bigger odds than the ones posed by any grammar rules in a language. I’m not downplaying the complexities of languages. And, it’s true, some things may come easier to some individuals as compared to others. But this is what I know about the diaspora’s spirit and resolve, whatever they put their mind to, they will achieve. No barrier or challenge will stop them.
Now, about those grammar rules, the masculine and feminine, and the verb and subject agreement, these are the last things you should be worried about. Just like they flow in English, or Swahili (yes, I said flow), the same happens whether it’s in Spanish or French. Take a look at the following examples in English and let me know if you think it should stand in the way of any aspiring English language student (beginner). In Spanish, the rules for converting singular sentences into plural are straightforward, for example ‘Casa (house) becomes = Casas (houses). Libro (book) becomes = Libros (books). Now, let’s look at some examples in English: Car = Cars. Boy = Boys. But: Woman = Women. Goose = Geese. Looking at the above examples, one can see that the grammar rules in English are more fluid, yet you overcame them and they didn’t stand in your way of being proficient in the language. In Spanish, they’re straightforward as illustrated in the examples above. Do you now see why I said that these rules should be the last thing that someone should worry about?.
So, if you have been putting off taking that Spanish class because of some of the barriers mentioned above, it’s time to revisit your decision. I have given you a new perspective that will allow you to look at things in a different light. To see more tips about how you can succeed in foreign language studies, and how to prepare yourself, please, visit my blog @www.yourfluency.blogspot.com. You can also reach me at email: Kmugai4@gmail.com.
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