Just one year has passed since I joined LingQ on May 3rd, 2010. How have my English skills improved since then? I don’t know exactly how much I have improved, however I believe that I surely have done! I think it is very important for learners to focus on what we have done so far and what we have come to be able to do not on what we still cannot do when it comes to reflecting on what we have improved in certain areas.
I’d like to write down what I have gained thanks to being a member of LingQ.
First of all, I have continued to enjoy learning English all the way since I joined LingQ. This is the biggest thing at least for me though people may think that it is obvious that learners of English continue to learn it. I had given up learning English many times before I joined LingQ. Now I know the reason why I had done so. I didn’t know how to learn English, especially how to enjoy learning English. I didn’t know how important listening and reading on my own was in the process of learning languages! I tended to think that learning English equaled trying to speak English with natives! Once I found it difficult for me to communicate with natives in English I would immediately get frustrated at myself who cannot do so. Now I enjoy learning English itself and learning various things IN English and I regard myself as a life-long learner of English so that I do not get frustrated at my current skills of English.
Secondly, no matter how I enjoy learning English, I sometimes tend to be pessimistic about my current English skills, however my progress snapshot and activities of friends at LingQ cheer me up and stimulate to be more optimistic and continue learning. It is not good to compare my present English skills to those of other learners, however knowing the ongoing effort and deliberate learning processes of other learners motivates me a lot. I tended and even now sometimes tend to want a quick improvement with a little amount of time and effort, however seeing study activities of other more advanced learners always reminds me of the fact that there is no shortcut in learning languages! Advanced learners DO take time to improve their language skills even though those seem too good enough to me. In terms of language skills there is always room for improvement for each learner though the degree of the level that everyone wants to reach differs at each time. The goals of different levels of learners are different and there is no finish line in learning languages let alone native languages. This never-ending learning process makes us to be able to enjoy learning languages and we can learn many things including cultures and way of thinking of different people all over the world through languages.
Thirdly, through group discussion with other LingQ members and various tutors from all over the world and other members’ blogs I can get to know various things. I have talked with several people from all over the world in English, who are from England, the USA, Canada, China, Germany, Sweden, South Africa, Russia, South Korea, Austria and other regions in Japan. If I didn’t learn English and I didn’t join LingQ I WOULD NOT talked with such kind of people whom I think I don’t meet in my daily living. Literally English and LingQ did open a new door to the wide world and did expand my way of thinking and my frame of reference. Although I have learned a lot from LingQ members and tutors let alone English itself, above all, what I am most grateful for is positive attitudes and never-give-up spirits of LingQ members. Now I know how to learn English and how to continue learning it, however it does not necessarily mean that it is easy to learn it. I don’t say learning English is too difficult, however I KNOW that learning it does take time and does need a little bit of patience that I have to wait for certain time to be better at it. I often feel as if I am NOT improving at all, however I have experienced a few times to feel that I actually did improve compared to the past.
Fourthly, I have talked with some members who have learned English for a few years at LingQ and know their English proficiency so I look forward to my future English skills in a few years. Another group of learners who motivate me to learn more about English is members who learn Japanese as their second or third language. I have talked with at least two such keen Japanese learners except for Steve Kaufmann. They are fluent in Japanese so why can I not become fluent in English? Their existence, their attitudes toward language learning and their ongoing effort into learning encourages me to continue my English adventure.
To summary, I cannot stress enough that I am lucky to encounter LingQ. On that day just one year ago from now, I happened to watch Steve Kaufmann speaking Japanese very fluently on YouTube videos and I was literally led to a site of LingQ! The blog by one of keen LingQ members that explains how to use LingQ effectively in Japanese also made it possible for me to stick to LingQ site. Eight months after I joined LingQ I met Steve and other keen LingQ members in Osaka, Japan and my passion for learning was further boosted. I MYSELF know the best the fact that I am still far away to fluency, however I think I am on the right track to fluency. The thing I have to do is just continuing “The Way of the Linguist”! I hope more and more people all over the world also join LingQ and enjoy learning languages.
Please, don’t worry about mistakes in this writing! I will have this corrected by the tutor whom I trust.
The very moment I realized my improvement in English the most in the last one year was when I could make a reservation of the nice restaurant “OLiVES” in the hotel BELLAGIO, Las Vegas via phone in English from Orlando, Florida on our honeymoon trip in February. I felt very nervous at first but I could do it on my own.