Many people want to learn a foreign language; however, when it comes down to it, we often fall short of the necessary daily practice to acquire and maintain a level of proficiency.
I once had a student who came to class one day shortly after having started our course together. She exclaimed: “I think that I may have some kind of serious problem with my brain. I can’t remember anything!” I asked her: “Have you been studying and reviewing outside of class for a minimum of 20 minutes per day as I instructed?” Her response: “No, I haven’t been doing anything outside of class.” I had to laugh; she was more willing to admit that she had some kind of dimentia rather than admit to herself that she had not been putting in the necessary effort.
In class, you are given the tools along with some practice to become more proficient; however, if you do not pick up those tools and practice with them on a regular basis, then you will not achieve your goals. LANGUAGE IS HABIT! You must consistently put your chosen language into use for it to stick. Here’s an image that says it all:
Language acquistiion is like learning any new skill – playing a musical instrument, typing without looking, etc., and we must remember the famous punchline to the Carnegie Hall joke:
Question: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Answer: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!”
Read more at this link about a doctor’s commitment to language learning – a bit misplaced in this case! Perhaps it’s also a testimony to our culture’s tendancy to multi-task!