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If you cant stand the heat...

If you can't stand the heat...

Language learning, like bread, requires the right recipe.

As I was thinking about language learning the other day, the image of baking bread came into my mind. I compared some of the exercises and drills that we put ourselves through in order to learn a language to the various ingredients that go into baking a loaf of fresh bread. 

The point of baking bread, of course, is not to experience the ingredients individually.
The point is to combine them in such proportions and under such conditions as to produce a nourishing, wholesome, fragrant and tasty loaf of bread.

Learning language

No one sits down and eats a cup of flour, even if he is hungry and in a hurry.
But we will sit down with a list of 25 vocabulary items and choke them down, thinking that we are learning a language.

choke (something) down (phr v)
to take in something with difficulty, especially something you do not like
Such a learning technique will probably go a long way toward convincing you that you cannot become bilingual.
But I believe everyone can become bilingual.

I acknowledge that some people are gifted for language work and some are not.
But even those who are not gifted can become bilingual;
even those who flunked high school French can become bilingual,

flunk (v)
to fail an exam or course of study

but not by cramming down dry yeast and salt and flour.

Entering community

Real language learning takes place in human relationships.
You don't become bilingual by learning lists of vocabulary.
You don't become a speaker of a language by memorizing verb conjugations and agreement rules.

You become bilingual by entering a community that uses that other language as its primary means of communication.

Aug 31, 2008 6:57 AM
Comments · 2
you could always search the title from the article at and hear what others had chatted about.
September 15, 2008
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Shanghainese), English, Japanese
Learning Language
English, Japanese