Getting it right
I am not suggesting that we can make bread without ingredients.
Flour is necessary, as are yeast, salt, water and other ingredients.
Vocabulary is part of any language and will have to be learned.
Grammatical rules exist in every language and cannot be ignored.
But merely combining the appropriate ingredients in the recommended proportions does not result in bread.
At best, you only end up with a ball of dough.
In order to get bread, you have to apply heat to the dough.
And in language learning, that heat comes from the community.
Anyone who has learned a second language has experienced that heat.
It creeps up your neck when you ask the babysitter, "Have you already been eaten?" when you meant to say: "Have you already eaten?"
It radiates from your face when you say, "May I kiss you?" when you meant to say: "May I ask you something?"
When you try to say something quite innocent and the whole room bursts into raucous laughter,
loud and unpleasant
you are experiencing the heat that turns raw dough into good bread.
In the "kitchen"
Remember the old saying, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen"?
This is where language learning often breaks down because we find the heat uncomfortable and we abort the baking process.
break down (phr v)
to stop working well; to fail, usually because of a problem
to cause something to stop before it is complete
In other words, we can't stand the heat, so we get out of the kitchen.
However, the language learner who stays in the kitchen─in the heat─until the combined ingredients are thoroughly transformed will enjoy the richness of a quality loaf of bread.
He is glad that he did not "get out of the kitchen" at the critical moment when the oven seemed too hot.
having the greatest importance to the way things might happen
The dedicated language learner knows that becoming bilingual cannot be achieved without the heat!