Master Spanish or Any Other Language in 30 Days or Less!
Many language course providers promise total mastery of a second language in 30 days or less! In this article we will analyze the “profound” philosophical principles behind their offers.
As in many aspects in life, Second Language Acquisition is part of a process that may extend for several years. How funny and ludicrous it is to find language courses that offer what we would all like to hear, that we can master a new language in only 30 days!
Some of these course providers even go one step beyond and raise the ante by promising students to speak a language with native- like pronunciation in this span of time.
Simply put, this is a blunt lie. Even for people living abroad in a foreign country, it may take several years for them to master the new language, let alone sound like native speakers. All this in spite of being immersed in the best setting for language acquisition to take place. After all, they are surrounded by native speakers of the language for most part of the day, unless they simply stay at home all the time, of course. Every single contact they have with people forces them to interact in the target language in order to get their message across and understand their interlocutors. Every interaction revolves around truly communicative situations (i.e. no one in the street will come to you and ask you: “what are the rules to form the ‘imperfect subjunctive?'”
What is more, after a hard-day’s work with full interaction in the second language, they get home and plan to relax, turn on the TV and there it is again: the foreign language is right there waiting for them! There is no escaping from it! You can run but you can’t hide. It’s at home on TV or even on the Internet, when you talk to your neighbors or the mailman; it is on your radio when you go to work, it’s ever present at work, when you go to the market, to the bank, when you eat out etcetera, etcetera and etcetera. This is total and absolute immersion and even in this heaven for the person eager to acquire a second language it may take at least four years for a learner to master this language, and especially in adults, native-like pronunciation is very difficult to acquire.
It is obvious that it is not always feasible or practical for us to leave everything behind and pursue this quest for learning a second language. Does this mean that we are doomed not to ever learn another language? Could we in any way infer that there is no hope of ever mastering a second language? Of course NOT. There are some awesome language courses and programs out there which are based on sound pedagogical principles.
Take JUMPSTART YOUR SPANISH, for instance. This is a starter program that I developed a couple of years ago for business people that had just a few days, not weeks or months to travel abroad and be able to talk with ease in Spanish-speaking countries. Being the author, I am a bit biased here of course, but from my experience using the program and tweaking it and improving it over time, I can assure you that this is an amazing starter program that can get almost any learner with zero Spanish or some Spanish but yet unable to put phrases together to a solid conversational level in 49 days on average. Does this mean that those who finish this starter program will be speaking Spanish like a native Spanish speaker at the end of it? No Way!
Mind you, JUMPSTART YOUR SPANISH is way faster than most starter programs that could deliver these kinds of results in no less than 12 to 18 months on average. However, at the end of these 49 days the students will be rock solid at a “basic” conversational level. What I mean by this is that the learner will be able to interact at ease in most day to day situations and his or her listening skills will be really good, as all the listening training is based on real fast-paced speech.
Of course, these learners would not be able to talk about each and every topic in the Spanish language such as planets and constellations or European tapestry. No, the
program trains you communicate in day-to-day situations that you need to get by in any Spanish speaking language.It would be unreal and just a blunt lie to tell you that by just studying for such a short period of time, even for a year_ anyone could master a language entirely. I can assure you that this is the fastest program to get you from zero to conversational, but you will not hear me make unreal claims like those you hear everywhere! Marketing can be a dangerous thing if you believe everything they tell you!
That’s why whenever we hear about “the ultimate language course that can gain us proficiency overnight” we should be absolutely skeptical. More often than not, these self-proclaimed “ultimate solutions” are nothing but well-designed marketing ploys aimed at getting as much money from students as possible, in the shortest possible time.
Not surprisingly, they cost an arm and a leg, not because they are good, just because they sell hope; they sell what we want to hear, the magic pill that could make our dreams come true effortlessly. Who wouldn’t like to achieve in one month what’s taken others a lifetime to obtain? I would! However, pragmatically speaking, that is utterly impossible! Being a rather sedentary person with some extra weight, I must admit that I would love to be in very good shape. Nevertheless, I must acknowledge the fact that even if I hired the best personal trainer in the world and went to the best gym in the universe and trained my very hardest and dieted along the way, all of this for a whole month with the supervision and guidance of the best in the field, and even if I quit everything to pursue this objective, the plain and simple fact will remain that I would still not be able to participate in the Olympics after just one month of this severe training.
It would be ridiculous both to expect this to happen and to offer this. After just one month, how could I compete or even train at the same level of world-class athletes who have devoted their entire lives to get ready for that moment? The mere idea of this is just nonsensical! Ironically enough, this is often what second language programs offer and people simply fall for them time and again. What is more, the ones who design these programs are by no means “experts in the field” but just ruthless cunning businessmen who want quick profits by selling sand castles no matter how much pain and frustration they will eventually cause.
My humble piece of advice to any serious second language learner or learner-to-be is to be cautious and skeptical whenever tempted by such appealing offers as the ones already mentioned. As in the fable “The tortoise and the hare,” remember that “slow and steady wins the race.” Rome was not built in a day, and no one has ever mastered a language in 30 days or less either!