Chapter XI – Part 4

$ Definitely, I don’t learn systematically. I make a giant leap and then rest for a long time. Which is not a proper rest either because I have bad conscious not doing what I wanted to do and I distress with visions of what my life could be if I made giant leaps more often or even all the time. Procrastination is a technical term for this, isn’t it?

$ Nature is neither systematic nor does it procrastinate. It never rains at the same time, the same quantity of water. There’s no deadline for rains, no norms.

$ But if it rains too much, there are floods; if it doesn’t rain for too long, droughts kill plants.

$ I just wanted to show you procrastination from a different point of view. Do we want to become immortal or to learn languages?

$ Both would be nice. When you are immortal there’s no hurry anymore. In fact, learning languages can help you kill time, which is eternity.

$ Anyway, if you think you want to get rid of your procrastination, bad conscious, judgments about systematic learning write it down of your sheet of paper. Number five.

5. Which methods would you like to develop?

$ I would like to learn languages through the culture of the countries where they are spoken. I know a group of women who started to learn Spanish because they were fascinated with flamenco. Some people take up Italian because they fall in love with Tuscany.

$ What are your first thoughts when you think of languages you learn?

$ I won’t tell you, they are not decent.

$ No comment. And second thoughts?

$ Work: my boss, meetings, mails, contracts, phone calls, business trips.

$ Let’s leave it to your subconscious mind. By the next time we meet collect every piece of information related to the culture of the English and German speaking countries that you come across: an author, a composer, an artist, a building, a memory…

$ “You’ll never beat the Irish no matter what you do, you can put us down and keep us out but we’ll come back again”.

$ You see, it works. Would you like to develop more methods?

$ Mind maps are very tempting.

$ Good to know it. Next.

6. Development of which language skill is the most important for you? Mark with 1-4 (1-the least important; 4-the most important):

listening comprehension
reading comprehension
writing
speaking

$ All of them are important. However, I feel the most hopeless at speaking. That’s what I’d like to start with. Listening is sometimes a big challenge for me. Reading seems quite manageable. What I like about writing is that I can choose the best time for me to do it, while speaking and listening are sort of forced on me. I can look up as many words as I want to, ask colleagues to proof read my texts. I mean mostly my emails and reports.

$ I see. Number 7.

7. Acquiring of which above mentioned skills do you enjoy the most?

$ Surprisingly (or not surprisingly) my answers are the perfect opposite of the ones in the previous question: listening comprehension – 3, reading comprehension – 2, writing – 4, speaking – 1. Does it make sense?

$ Yes, it does. It is more natural to enjoy carrying out a task that is easy but not too easy than performing a very difficult one. That’s probably why humans prefer relaxing in front of the TV than doing sports outdoors.

8. Acquiring of which above mentioned skills do you find the most challenging?

$ I have never thought I am so consistent: speaking is the most challenging, of course.

$ What are your associations when you hear: speaking foreign languages?

$ I know what I want to say and I don’t know how; lack for words; the words I choose don’t reflect what I want to express.

$ Can you please put it down on your sheet of paper? Right. Shall we move on?

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