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Language learning is good for you!

How can I make such a bold claim, you might wonder? After all, I'm neither a doctor nor a therapist. I am, on the other hand, a linguist, who's experienced learning a language at a time when life was hard and at a standstill.

Language learning not only gave me a safe space to communicate in a new language, which had nothing to do with what was happening the rest of the time, but it also showed me that I was making progress, even though at the time, the idea of making any progress of any sort seemed highly unlikely.

I always remind my students, usually when I see on their faces that they're about to judge their own learning curve, that the beauty of learning a language, is you get to see your own progress.

So when a student keeps focusing on the half-empty glass, i.e. all the things he/she has yet to learn, I tell them two things. First, that language learning is an exploration, without an actual end point, which means that the pressure is off.

The second thing I tell them, or rather ask them to do, is to search for one of the first texts they wrote for me, putting in practice the language they'd learned at the time, and compare it with a recent one. That always does the trick! Because instead of ignoring my encouraging comments on the basis that ''Caroline is just being nice'', my students see actual, indisputable progress, and as a result, feel good about it.

Needless to say that during the pandemic, and especially lockdowns, I got all of my students at one point or the other, to do just that and realise that there can be progress at a time when life feels decidedly hard, scary, and on hold.

When you learn a language, you take control of the situation and, as long as you're willing to apply yourself, progress will be made, and you'll feel damn good about it! So what are you waiting for?

Don't hesitate to send me your questions.

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