“Lose two inches from your waistline with this five day cleanse!”
“Here’s one simple trick to melt your belly fat!”
“Get ready for swimsuit season in no time by eating only things that rhyme with ‘lettuce’!”
We’ve all heard the gimmicks and seen the infomercials. The multi-billion dollar weight loss industry’s bread and butter (incidentally, neither of which you’re permitted to eat) is to make consumers believe that a trim figure can be achieved in the blink of an eye-- or the swipe of a credit card. It seems too good to be true, which is exactly why we reach for our wallets. It’s like that internet banner that boasts results at lightning speed is the secret key, the magic formula, the powerful elixir we’ve been searching for. We grasp for it in desperation, but it turns out we’re grasping only at straws.
Reality check: People get fit and stay fit by consistently eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise. That’s it. There is no secret key, no magic formula, no powerful elixir. In short, there are no shortcuts. There is only the human body, with all its capabilities and limitations, and what you choose to do with it. There is only commitment.
The same can be said for language learning. Learning programs and systems boast that you can become “fluent in three weeks” or that learning a language using the newest method will be “easy”. The truth is, any systematic method of learning a language is merely an artificial version of the truly effective way in which people have been learning languages since the dawn of civilization: communication.
Language is not a “procedure”; it’s a process. Language is an integral part of who we are and how we relate to one another. So any company peddling some pre-packaged, ultra-efficient way for you to learn a language is merely trying to increase its market share. Language learning is dynamic. It is interactive. It is personal.
That’s what I love about teaching on Verbling. When I log on to begin my late-night tutoring sessions, I feel like I’m sitting down with friends. Mugs of coffee or glasses of water in hand, we discuss events and issues going on in our native countries and around the world. We share stories, advice, recipes, laughter, perspective. We connect. Sure, we pause long enough to correct a mispronunciation or a pesky irregular verb, or to pick up a new vocabulary word or expression, but soon we’re back to talking again. In language learning, communication is both the end result and the means to get you there. Conversations through the Verbling platform allow language to improve organically and meaningfully.
But there are no shortcuts. There is no secret key, no magic formula, no powerful elixir. There is only the human mind, with all its capabilities and limitations, and what you choose to do with it. There is only commitment.