Plateau Periods

By Ma

It has never been easy for me to learn a foreign language, including English, and not even now. The effect of dyslexia made the situation worse. Though dejected in self, I have been told again and again that there is no shortcut to the success of a fluent English speaker.

After years of language, however, I somehow believe that a shortcut is possible, and the only thing is the efforts spared on finding the threshold of that fast track. For example, immersing oneself entirely in another language without an aid of his native counterpart may accelerate the learning process.

The previous entries and videos prove that some polyglots have acquired a new lingua franca in almost no time. Despite all these, I believe some basics, mainly memorizing new words and learning the grammar rules, are absolutely necessary.

In remembrance, an English teacher once defined two periods of plateau when it comes to language acquisition, the first being the beginner level, or the level between elementary and intermediate. If what he said is true, then you will make swift progress in that language having surmounted the two big obstacles.

The second one, he explained, is the early advanced level. A novice at this level needs to read extensively and spend as many hours as he can to fully expose himself under that language. Once you overcome this great hurdle, you will be a near native speaker. You can think, understand and discuss some abstract concepts without restraint in that language.

Using such a framework my English teacher suggested, I feel like I am still an early advanced English learner striving to fight against the avalanche on the second plateau; my Japanese is on the way between the first and the second, and the lack of time inhibits me from proceeding further at the moment; my French, German and Korean learning path, in contrast, remains long as I am still at the point of departure even though the sound of the deafening starter pistol has been heard.

Feel free to share your learning experience with us and comment to us.

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