The psychological factor
Some people learn faster than others. Some people pronounce better than others. Why is this?I am more and more convinced that it is a matter of attitude rather than talent. There is something that good language learners have in common. They can let themselves go. They are not afraid. They achieve that independence from their mother tongue. They do not ask questions about why the new language is this way or that way.Now the question is, can you teach this attitude. I do not know. I think that if you can just turn on the switch in the learner’s brain, everything else becomes easier. Of course it is still important to learn in an efficient way. It is important to learn from context and not from rules and vocabulary lists. But the key is the attitude.I am trying to find the way to turn people on, to loosen them up, to make them more flexible. Next time I meet with learners I will be looking to see how to best do that. My book The Linguist, A Personal Guide to Language Learning was written for that purpose. It seems, however, that only natural language learners really understand it. How do I reach the others?