Now back to what I was saying. The way I learnt Spanish is the way I was taught Japanese, however with Spanish I had a reference, with Japanese I had ZERO reference. I had no prior knowledge which meant for me, that I needed to just listen and watch and gain enough context knowledge to then be asked questions and maybe reply.

I also must say that a lot of language learning fans out there are very pessimistic about learning a language in adulthood. There are many blanket remarks like: it is impossible.

I also have to say/stress that the majority of language learners out there that are busy posting  such remarks pessimistic or optimistic are:

  1. anglophones;
  2. not multilingual;
  3.  live in a monolingual environment (unlike myself);
  4. are male (you could correct me on this one);
  5. obsessed about fluency ( I used to be one, until I realised that fluency is a very subjective state of knowledge);
  6. obsessed about the get rich quick version for language acquisition (WTF!)
  7. obsessed about writing (even in countries such as the USA people don’t write well and yet are considered literate because what matters is: do you have the sufficient level to be a part of their society , to work and receive important information? Important info maybe reading prescription guidelines, maps, job descriptions and so on;
  8. Western European descent/North American, so often their language of reference is a roman language (this excludes Russian, Scandinavian languages. Why? Because of the number of neighbouring countries, the mixture of cultures, education. You will often come across a Scandivian who is either bilingual, or can communicate bloody well in his language, his neighbour’s language plus English. S/he would definitely tell you a different story about learning a second language. However, I would need real figures to be able to say this for certain but it is an impression that I have. This general impression is even more apparent amongst the Greeks!!!! and of course among countrymen that use Russian as their lingua franca (maybe not anymore) as well as their own language. Simply said: I feel that those that have such questions and are pretty much pessimistic are monolinguals, in monolingual environment learning a language the same way they would learn a subject like history and then conclude that they will never attain a good or fluent level of >>>>> insert language here <<<< .


You go ahead and learn what you want to learn.  I was happy to find a post on  that simply said: you will succeed if you learn by yourself!!  As a pre-beginner, don’t spend your money on physical lessons m’dears!  Best to buy a course online and podcast as you go. Or of course there are lots of books in libraries or that you could (i think) download to your Kindle. Or make friends or invest more in friendships that increase your exposure to the culture that you love.

If you feel that your immediate relatives or friends or colleagues will make negative remarks or question your wish to spend your free time learning another culture instead of watching other people’s lives on TV or better yet spending your money on them 😉 then you don’t have to tell them. Especially if you feel they may discourage you. Nothing is meant to be easy…and above all, you ultimately allow yourself to be discourage. So prepare in advance.

Finally, enjoy the journey. This extra language will give you more access to information online and it is such a breath of fresh air to watch what is going on in the Middle East via Chinese TV (of course in English) instead of having to swallow chunks of subjective news via CNN and other channels that do their best to encourage differences.

About the Kindle… Amazon is very naughty!! I bought mine in June in Atlanta, and a new version came out in November and it is worth $90, I paid $190 I think…  But who cares, I wanted to read on mine and not get distracted like I do on my personal computer.



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