‘No Best Method’ Hypothesis April 28, 2008Posted by Edwin in Forums.
Nowadays, I seldom visit the How-To forums, though I still pop in once in a while. The forums do have many helpful advises, only that these pearls are usually buried under an overwhelming number of useless advises. Many people indulged in the forums for days arguing which study method is the best. Last week, I saw a very interesting thread. It has already generated more than 140 posts within a week.
The creator of the thread proposed that there is no best method in language learning. The most important factor is TIME and LOVE devoted to the target language. He was not talking about different people might have different best methods. He was simply saying that even for the same individual, there is no such thing as ‘best method’ in language learning. Provided he is spending time with the language and keeps himself motivated, no matter what method he uses, he will get there one day.
Within a very short time, many forum members replied and argued against this hypothesis. Of course methods are important, they said. You wouldn’t want to waste you time in some inefficient methods. In fact, the thread creator made his claim based on his own observation of the forums!
I have been reading in this forum for two years. People were writing about Pimsleur, FSI, Michael Thomas, Assimil, Liguaphone, Tell me more, Rosetta stone, Teach your self, Vocabulearn, Learn in your car, Rocket Languages, FIA and so on.
It’s interesting, because some people think some of this methods are the BEST and some of them think the same methods are useless, boring …or the WORST. Thinking about that, how is it possible such a level of contradictions between people who have succeed learning languages. Well, I ask you:
What’s the COMMON denominator between them? I can only think about one factor: TIME spent WITH the target language. They listen, read, write and speak in the target language A LOT OF TIME and every day.
I think I can see why this hypothesis would stir up such a great reaction in the forums. If it is true, then there is no need to discuss about which method is the best, and probably a great portion of the forum posts can be removed. People can get back to their own language studies instead of arguing among themselves. But then to some, language studying is boring. They’d rather spend their time arguing how to study a language!
Perhaps learning a language is like building up a personal relationship. People might have different tactics to ‘befriend’ your target person. But eventually if you want to build up a true relationship, you have to spend time, a lot of time. And you have to keep yourself motivated in the process.
Are tactics irrelevant? Absolutely not. Is there a best tactic for each individual person? May be. But they are not the key to build up a true lasting relationship.