Posted on | December 22, 2012 | 6 Comments
Is there a best way to learn languages? This has been the ultimate question discussed endlessly on the Internet. Even though the Internet polyglots, when “hanging out” together, would tell us there is no best way, in their own blogs and YouTube channels, they would share what they think is the best way. So is there a best way or not? I believe there is.
How then would I explain the fact that some polyglots have reached their success using seemingly very different approaches? Doesn’t this mean there exist multiple ‘best’ ways to learn languages? The fact that people take different routes to reach the same goal does not mean there is no best route. To me, this is like the story of the “blind men and the elephant“. Each blind man ‘experienced’ the elephant in a different way and made his own conclusion of what an elephant is, but this does not mean the elephant exists in different forms.
This is only an anecdote and I don’t mean to call these polyglots ‘blind’. I think we are all ‘seekers’ and they are seekers at a more advanced level. The “Elephant of language learning” is such a huge beast that even the most experienced language learners might have limited ideas of it.
The more I think about the differences of these polyglots, the more I see that they are describing the different facets of the same humongous beast. If we understand this, we won’t find any contradiction arise from the disagreement among these experts.
The advice of these polyglots of course are valuable to us. Just as the different conclusions made by the blind men help us to get to know the elephant better, these polyglots help us to understand this “Elephant of language learning” better.