How to fall in love with a language

December 22, 2017

I remember the first time I visited a Spanish-speaking country. I was ten years old and on a trip to the Canary Islands with my grandmother. To a little Finnish girl, Tenerife seemed like paradise.

Later I would go on to live in mainland Spain with my family for years. Even though I went to a Finnish school and most of my friends were Finns, the highlights of my day were always meeting local people and having conversations with them. The more I got to know the language and culture of Spain, the more I learned to love it.

Even though my first encounter with Spanish was almost 20 years ago, and even though I don’t get many chances to use Spanish in my everyday life, it will always be my favourite language.

It’s been my experience that if you want to learn to speak a language fluently, you need to form a positive emotional connection to it.

This positive emotional connection – let’s call it love – creates a strong internal motivation to learn the language.

In other words, you’ll simply want to learn more and more. You’ll be chomping at the bit to learn even the most complicated grammatical rules and the different nuances of various expressions.

Loving a language is not the same as being motivated to study a language. Love is something deeper, something more personal, meaningful and enduring. Something that lasts after the honeymoon period is over and you’ve had a few little disappointments.

In order to light the spark, you will need to spend time and experience new things together. Are you brave enough to make the first move?

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