I recently read an article where the author aimed to achieve conversational fluency in a foreign language, but they felt like their mission was half-failed because they had an amazing mental database of vocabulary, but struggled to efficiently apply this knowledge in conversation. They had spent too much time learning vocabulary and not enough doing the activity itself, conversing.

This made realise, an apprentice cook does not become a great chef by reading cook books. He cooks. He becomes what he practices. Whilst he reads cookbooks from time to time to supplement his learning, the majority of his time is spent doing.

Like the author, with my own French studies I often find myself comfortable in the solitude of my own work, enjoying the clear view of progress with vocabulary growth vs actually practicing what it is I am trying to achieve, conversational fluency.

Obviously everything in balance, but a timely reminder that we become what we practice, not just in language learning, but in everything in life.


Good. I am not proposing that the above is the be all and end all on the subject. Truth be told, I will likely change my view with time. But strong opinions lead others to defend their own. So if you disagree with this article then I have delivered value, as it helps you solidify your own point of view, challenges your status quo and hopefully helps you see you view on the matter even more clearly than before.

Want to discuss, disagree or add to the above? Feel free to email me on [email protected]