The joy of language

I cannot help but imagine how little vocabulary one really needs
to communicate in a foreign language. Recently I have been
enjoying having conversations in Chinese with people who do
not speak English, Japanese or even French. I have to admit
that my knowledge of Mandarin is extremely limited but
nevertheless effective in having a basic conversation. Imagine,
being able to converse with over a billion people! If you add
the other three languages that I am fluent in then the number
of people whom I can have at least a basic conversation in
explodes to perhaps, 40 - 50% of the 50 billion plus people in
the world.

What does it take? I believe that a foriegn language student
needs confidence. Just use it! and you DO NOT need to
practice your language skills with the so-called "native"
speakers. This I believe is the biggest mistake students
make. It is NOT true. Open your mouth and use whatever
you know with ANYONE, ANYWHERE. That is the most
important thing when learning a language. If your paying
100s of dollars to some X English language school that
uses English speaking blond, blue eyed "native" foreigners
then you are wasting your money and your breath for
nothing. Your "nice" teacher is not going to be always
around. If don't use it you will loose it, period.

You can forget about waiting around until you have that
chance to go abroad to use your language skills. Language
skills need to be constantly worked at all the time. I do
know that one personally as my French skills have gone
downhill quite a bit since leaving university.



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