Updated: Jun 20, 2020
A few nights ago, I was trying to do the right thing for my body and meal prep lunch and dinner with a hearty dose of vegetables and healthy proteins. I sauteed ground turkey in a rosemary white wine sauce and minced garlic like a bona fide chef. As I embraced my inner Gordon Ramsey, an unexpected visitor poked his nose in between me and the countertop.
"Dude!" I exclaimed.
The nose backed off a few steps and sat eagerly in the corner of the kitchen. The nose was attached to a 3-year-old black lab mix named Charles. It made me chuckle how statuesque he sat with his ears at perfect triangles, paws together, and tail a steady "thump, thump, thump, thump" on the kitchen floor.
Then, it hit me. All I said to him was "dude" and he backed up and sat in the corner. Never in his 3 years of life did I teach him the word "dude." Instead, over his lifetime, I had said the word "dude" in the same context and intonation that he learned through experience the next appropriate action he should take.
The time he tore up his brand new toy in the first 3 minutes of playtime: "Dude!"
When he jumped on my white t-shirt with muddied paws: "Dude!"
The time he jumped out of the bathtub soaking wet with suds from head to tail: "Dude!"
Over the years, I learned his language too.
Taking off his leash post-walk:
Me: "Absolutely not. You're not getting a treat right now."
Waking up from a nap:
Me: "Okay, okay, be patience. We're gonna go out in a minute."
Me: "It's not playtime. It's bedtime."
You get the point.
Most language acquisition happens in the day-to-day. It's passive learning that happens through exposure and repeated experiences. Many of the meanings and definitions we acquire are so subtle or subconscious that they're rarely found in textbooks. There's an entire subtext of body language, intonation, inflection, pop culture references, humor, sarcasm, the situational irony... the list goes on as it relates to language and communication.
While the latest and greatest conversational robots, self-learning apps, and AI technology are creating amazing leaps and bounds in the world of language learning, there's a reason language immersion programs still rank as the best way to become exposed and immersed a new language.
Why? You're not crammed up in your room studying flashcards until your eyes blur. You are giving your brain an exciting new experience with new sights and sounds. Neurologically speaking, your brain begins to make new neural pathways--ie shortcuts-- to accessing this new and wonderful information bypassing conscious thought.
This is the closest thing you're going to get to learning by osmosis!
And Polly Languages is here to provide the next best thing. If jet setting to Madrid for the next 6 months isn't on your practical to-do list, but you still want the immersive quality of learning Spanish, then our group and individual chats are the next best thing.
Our goal is to get you the consistent language immersion needed for passive learning, so one day you'll wake up and understand the subtle subtext needed to call yourself "fluent" even if it's just understanding the context of someone yelling, "DUDE!" at you in a foreign language.