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¡Hola! 初めまして！大家好！Hi there!
I'm Ale. I'm a Chilean in love with languages. My mission here is to share with you all I've learned about language learning in the process of acquiring three languages, and help you feel that pride as well.
Fun, serious learning
Oxymoronic as that may sound, but it's no contradiction.
Most people see learning a language as a tiresome task, involving a lot of frustration and rote memorization, and for which a lot of conscious effort is necessary, which may or may not be compensated many years down the road. Because of this stressful and time consuming process, it's not strange that a lot of people quit before too long.
But I need to tell you that enjoyment is a most necessary part of any successful language learning story. Or so do studies say. The thing is that the more free of stress your mind is, the more you learn. So even for the benefit of your own mental health, let me guide you toward effective and fun language learning.
I'm not, in fact, a teacher. You may think of me as someone who's further down the road of language learning than you are. Let me tell you a bit about the road I travelled.
My past 22-year-old self made the decision to learn Japanese, and thus enrolled in a once-per-week Japanese course. Since I was highly motivated, I partly learned the writing system before classes even started, and the first year went smoothly. But then more complex aspects of the language started appearing (grammar, the dreaded “kanji”, etc.,) and I was having trouble keeping up. After two years of studying, I was not too sure I was made for this.
It wasn't the fault of my teachers. I just had forgotten that learning a language is to use it. In 2010, I began a journey to discover what's behing language learning. I started reading advice from successful learners and research on the subject, as well as trying out different methodologies.
Actually, my first second-language learning experience wasn't during my twenties, but in my childhood. I was a kid born and raised in a Spanish-speaking country, but the computers and video games I enjoyed so much were all in English. So while interacting with them, I slowly but surely acquired the language. Of course, I can count other factors also involved in my learning, but armed now with fresh knowledge about how people learn languages, I looked back at that experience. I realized that my plainly having fun and wishing to understand was the most relevant missing piece of my language learning puzzle.
With this experience, I was able to face the problem of learning Japanese with a new attitude. As a result, I cleared my first objective, which was successfully acquiring Japanese. I have since lived in Japan and studied a Master's degree taught in the language. And as of 2017, making full use of what I've learned, I'm making my way up a new peak called Mandarin Chinese, to so far great success.