Language lovers are a unique bunch. They seek out new cultures, embark on wild adventures, and willingly study grammar concepts – all because they see the globe as one great big learning opportunity. It’s a good life, and we’ve found that most people become language lovers the moment that they start studying a new language. But in our line of work, we hear some pretty wild language and culture myths from would-be language rock stars. It’s time to put a stop to it.
Whether it’s a language-learning horror story or a misunderstood cultural idiosyncrasy, these pesky little rumors could be keeping even the most promising of language learners from joining in on the fun. From the outside looking in, things can look pretty bizarre, but there’s nothing but good in the world of language and culture – we promise. But don’t take our word for it; we want you to find out for yourself. For today only, consider us the Mango Myth Busters, defending the good name of language and culture. It’s all in a day’s work.
1. To become fluent, you have to live in a different country.
If you’ve decided to learn Portuguese, it’s time to pack up your bags and move to Brazil – true or false? It’s definitely false, and we’ve got the fluent customers and multilingual Mangos to prove it. Language learning is less about location and more about finding the resources that work for you. We’re all for traveling abroad, but it’s not always in the cards – or the budget.
Instead of throwing in the towel, look for a language-learning tool that offers the immersive experience of living abroad. Mango®’s programs use native speaker pronunciation to help you perfect your accent and learn to understand the language the way it really sounds. Use books, movies, and current events to learn about the language’s culture firsthand. And when you do get to take that trip abroad, you’ll be more than ready to strike up a conversation with a native speaker – they’ll be impressed with how much you already know.
2. Latin is a dead language.
We strongly object to this statement. In so many ways, Latin is alive and kicking it right alongside other languages. While Latin is not a language spoken in everyday life, it is still very much integrated into modern Romance languages (Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Romanian), the vernacular of law, medicine, and science, and the English language.
There are still droves of students, young and old, studying Latin in the home, in their religion, and at universities. Studying Latin (we have a course!) introduces you to rich and expansive linguistic influences, cultural nuances, and improves your ability to learn and understand Latin-derived languages. Plus, you’ll sound really smart and scholarly when you tell people you speak Latin. A little street cred never hurts.
3. Your nightmares will be in another language.
It’s often said that when you start to dream in another language, you’re finally closing in on fluency. It’s one of the surprising little pay-offs when you learn a new language, and it’ll make you fall in love with the language all over again.
But if your nightmares are in another language, you might be experiencing some language-learning anxiety. When you find yourself face-to-face with a monster screaming at you in German, it’s time to wake yourself up and rethink your strategy. German is a harsh enough language already – you don’t need it invading your nightmares. Pat yourself on the back for gaining enough knowledge to dream in a second language, but seriously, no more scary movies before bed.
4. Italians throw their hands around for no reason.
There’s actually a whole intricate language behind this quirky cultural trademark. Italians are known for talking as much with their hands as they do with their words, and if you’re learning Italian, you’re going to want to study the ins and outs of Italian hand gestures. Half the fun of learning Italian is getting into the theatrics and nuances of the culture’s hand language – you can tell someone to get lost, come closer, and you can even swear, without saying a word. Well-played, Italy – we’re taking notes.
5. When you’re bilingual, you become your own twin.
Ever met a bilingual who seemed to have multiple personalities? Learn a new language, and you’ll understand that it’s actually a good thing. It’s not that we language learners have multiple personalities; we just learn to adapt our behaviors to the culture of our new language.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. So throw change in your car’s back seat for luck, and enjoy your meal for 3 (or 4!) hours. Likewise, when studying Spanish, roll your Rs every time you refer to your dog or your car and make tamales whenever possible. Language learning opens up a whole new world, and experiencing new cultures introduces you to new and exciting parts of yourself. It’s actually pretty profound and really great – and that’s no myth.