February 2


Communication – Not Perfection

By Katharina

February 2, 2016

Perfection isn´t what counts when learning foreign languages. Native speakers of other languages do not expect foreigners to speak their language fluently. However, they will definitely acknowledge your efforts.

No matter if you master the passato prossimo and the passato remote in Italian perfectly or not. Chances are high that most people will understand what you say. Even when using an irregular verb in a regular way.


50% – 80% – 100%

Striving for perfection is a motivator that is especially valuable for foreign language learning. However, you really do not need to be 100% perfect in the final results. Also with 80% you can get to know cultures, make new friends, travel and read foreign literature.


Make yourself understood – use the Birkenbihl Approach

When learning a new language, your goals do not need to be perfection. Your biggest priority is to make yourself understood. At some point you need to overcome vocabulary or grammar issues; and after a while you should be able to understand any replies by native speakers. However, as soon as you convey what you want to say, you have reached your goal. Optimizing your grammar can come later.

This is exactly what the Birkenbihl Approach proposes. By listening to native speakers and reading the word-by-word translation into the mother tongue at the same time, language learners catch sentence structures and vocabulary automatically. After the first active listening part, the learner listens to the foreign language passively – whenever possible. Grammar studies are optional and are planned after these two steps only. Language learners should learn to communicate first.

Learning a certain amount of vocabularies by hard, get certified for knowing grammar issues etc. may be goals for academic studies; however, they hardly make sense in the real world. You certainly don´t want to show off with your grammar knowledge when talking to native speakers, but you want to communicate and show your ability to make yourself understood. This is the real objective of language learning.


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About the author

Content Manager and blogger Katharina Rucker has devoted herself to the Birkenbihl Approach for language learning since 2011. Since 2014, she has been working as a freelancer in the field of online marketing: www.rucker-marketing.at

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