Barbra Streisand (no, really!)

Looking back at the Babel Project so far, there are 31 posts. That’s published posts; there are a couple of clunkers that I can’t get out of the garage.

Reflecting on these posts, I have realised that there are a lot about language, a few about personal development. None about people. Hence Barbra.

When I started TBP, I wanted to experiment with different approaches. Some (Polish and Hindi) were designed to be as self-sufficient as possible. Others (Mandarin, Korean and Arabic) would rely on people to teach and practice.

Frankly, any language learning relies on people to practice. If you think that you can bury yourself away in a cocoon and learn a language, before emerging with perfectly-formed skills like a butterfly, forget it.

And this is exactly what I have found. The language lives and dies in its interaction (my interaction) with other people. So here is an acknowledgment of that fact and those people.

I have already dealt with four-to-five teachers (depending on classification) and about a dozen participants. Alongside that are a handful of “others” such as shopkeepers, hairdressers and work colleagues who I have co-opted into my Project.

The above separates people into categories. But if I want to find a single description to unite everyone, it would be “generosity.” Teachers, colleagues, all display patience, help and positivity. I would be surprised if anyone currently learning a language would have anything different to say.

With the possible exception of translation examinations for the United Nations, the language community tends to be very generous. Knowledge is to be shared, success to be celebrated. As I have previously said, most language teachers are also learners. We understand what you are going through, because we ARE you.

I have been fortunate enough to share the past fifteen months with many generous, bright and open people. It isn’t my right to “out” them here, but anyone who is thinking about joining the language community, I hope that you do.

You will enjoy the language, the learning and the people who make it all possible.

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