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Nobody comes into the world already able to speak their native tongue! The preceding sentence only states the obvious. How many times does a baby hear the word "milk" before recognizing it? How many additional times must the baby hear it to repeat milk? Wait a minute. I thought a language was "native." Nope. We're not able to speak our native language on the day we're born. I teach Japanese. I first started learning the language as a young man of 19 years. Hardly a "native" starting point, but it was so much fun that it grew on me quickly. Now 30+ years later, I try to emphasize to my students that they need to "become like a little child" if they want to master Japanese. In other words, they need to surround themselves with as many opportunities as possible to interact with the language...just like that baby waiting on that bottle of milk. If you're learning a new language, don't get discouraged. Just work on it consistently... read more

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