Keep My Word


Step out of your 'comfort zone' and seize something special

These days, every time I talk with the three sisters, Joy, Kaye and Beejay, we discuss 'what the language acquisition is' and share this idea, 'it's not possible to improve a foreign language just by conversing'. I think this is often the case with intermediate level learners, who can handle daily conversation.

They only repeat the same phrases and vocabularies…avoiding mistakes, as a result, their lessons become monotonous.

In One's Word Online, we prepare challenging and effective materials for our students so that we can avoid the monotonous lessons, but I have to say it isn't easy.

Making mistakes is a bit embarrassing. That makes us want to stay in the same place, stick to our comfort zone.

I've experienced it and I know the feeling. I make mistakes in English and Spanish, especially my Spanish is terrible; the other day I tried to order a coke in a café but couldn’t find the right word in Spanish. So, finally I used a word 'COLA' and it cracked up a server.

The Spanish word 'COLA' means 'a butt'. Only a pervert may order 'a butt' in a café.

But I don't hesitate. After that, I've started looking for an apartment. I have to contact, in my poor Spanish, with a lot of real estate agents in Buenos Aires.

I admit that I feel embarrassed when I notice my mistake in English or Spanish. Yet, I think this feeling is very important because without it you will lose your ambition to learn more.

What you can do is that you remember the feeling and pay attention not to do the same mistake. You may repeat the mistake again and again, it doesn't matter; just try to remember it again. Maybe, if you feel more embarrassed, you can learn faster.

You won't die by making mistakes in English or Spanish. People are generous about such mistakes. Even if you can't identify R and L sounds in English, you can still communicate. Or even you say 'COLA (a butt)' at a café in Buenos Aires, no one will be hurt and you can make people laugh.

You should move on even with making many mistakes. It is much better than staying in the same place being afraid of the mistakes. I think that only those who keep trying can learn in their life. And remember that life is too short.

*It's originally posted in Japanese on 5th of August, 2011.