Guest post by Sagar Dubey
It’s almost been a year since I’ve written anything on Livemocha. Unfortunately, it’s been a year without language learning. However, I have gained some insights into maintaining the languages you have already learnt. To recap, I have formally learned Spanish for about 6 months in classes and then spent about a year in various Latin American countries strengthening my Spanish and utterly confusing my accent, which is now at a central American-ish “neutro”. Then I went to Brazil for a wonderful discovery that I could pick up lower intermediate level Portuguese in a couple of months because I already spoke Spanish.
Last December I came back to India to work on another project, work on my grad school applications carrying with me fond memories, some novels in Portuguese and MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira) in my head. For the next few months I forgot all about them as I adjusted to being back home again. But what I did take home with me was the confidence you get by having conversations in multiple languages.
After a couple of months at home, I realized I could still make out most of the words in Brazilian pop music and could watch Tropa de Elite (one of my favourite movies) without subtitles. I also connected with language partners in Brazil through Livemocha to have conversations again. This turned out to be quite encouraging as I practiced my rusty pronunciation along with lessons from Livemocha.
Moral of the story
Learning languages is like riding a bike, it’s very rare that you forget and even if you do, only a little practice will bring you right up to speed. Now I make sure to get at least 15 minutes of input in Spanish and Portuguese everyday to not let them slip and end up learning new phrases and vocabulary in the process without much effort. I can do this using various radio apps on my phone, downloading podcasts, watching comedy videos or reading fantasy fiction (my favourite). Do what you like in your target language and learning becomes easy.
During my stay in Brazil, I met up with various expat groups and picked up an interest in German. However in India, I was unable to make much progress learning on my own and have let it go because I forgot the original rule of having fun. So right now German is what I’m working on, and I’m really enthusiastic to do it along with the brand new Livemocha interface. I might also pick up another Asian language, I’ll keep y’all updated.
We first met Sagar Dubey during our 2012 Summer Video Challenge (he was the guy who jumped out of the perfectly good airplane.) His story about his blend of languages and cultures intrigued us, so we asked him if he was willing to share his story. Indeed he was. Sagar shared his initial shock of landing in a foreign land, and some of the language foibles that he committed in a subsequent blog post.