Welcome, HTLAL Readers!

Some poster in the How To Learn Any Language forum linked to me, specifically this post. I love the HTLAL forum and though I don’t have an account, I have spent quite a bit of time browsing discussions there.

Now, was my post a tad mean-spirited? I honestly did not intend it to be, though I can understand someone interpreting it that way. I have very strong opinions about certain issues, and language learning is one of those issues. I just want to make a few things clear:

  • Polyglots exist. There are people who speak multiple languages at a very high level.
  • There’s nothing wrong with dipping your toes in a language, so to speak. (I believe one of the posters on the forum used this phrase.) I personally have done that with Ukrainian and Serbian. What annoys me is when people who dip their toes in a language insist that they speak it fluently, or at a high degree. I would never assert that I speak Ukrainian or Serbian, because I absolutely do not.
  • The reason why I am annoyed by people who claim false fluency is I feel it diminishes my (and other language learners’) accomplishments. I have put an incredible amount of work into learning Russian and I am proud of my skill level. I speak Russian well – but that is because I have spent so much time working on it. It’s like playing a musical instrument really well, or an Olympic athlete: a lot of practice and hard work goes into it.
  • If someone claims to speak Russian with near-native fluency, but has a terrible accent and makes rampant grammatical errors, I have no qualms calling out said individual’s exaggeration of language ability.
  • There is no one “right” way to learn a language. I use flashcards. Some people hate them and do not. That does not bother me at all. Flashcards help me, so I use them. If they do not help you, then I certainly understand why you do not use them.

Anyway, I hope that clears things up. Thanks for reading!

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3 thoughts on “Welcome, HTLAL Readers!

  1. Flashcards… I need to start working on mine. I alsways buy lots of them in fancy colours but then I forget that I have them. Thanks for the reminder :=)

    1. The pretty colors are the best! I used neon ones in high school to learn common ions for chemistry and pretty pastel ones to learn basic Russian vocab in first year Russian (it’s strange to think that was almost four years ago!!!).

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