A quick news flash to all the people out there who have this vague notion of second-language mastery:

If you’re going to learn a language, you’re going to have to work damn hard.  This is harder than anything you’ve ever done before.  You’re going to have to use a dictionary every day.  You’re going to have to listen to native speakers non-stop, for hours every day, to get used to them speaking at speed.  You’re going to have to find music you like yourself.  If you want to progress really quickly, you’re probably going to need structured tutorials.

What isn’t going to help you is 15 minutes of painful conversation with me every week.  If you’re paying me a lot of money for the conversation, I don’t mind so much.  Gotta make a living, right?

But, if you’re not paying me and you’ve got this crazy idea that forcing me to listen to your abysmal English each week will somehow, on its own, magically transform you into Mr. Fluent, you are sorely mistaken.

I wouldn’t mind if you made some effort outside of these gratis language encounters: if you tried to listen to English radio for a few hours or read through some Wikipedia articles.  Especially since I’ve told you to do this many times.  But you don’t.  You show no improvement whatsoever, even after many months.

Get the frack out of your fairyland.  Be realistic about what you want to achieve.  If you don’t want to invest thousands of hours learning, don’t entertain vague ideas of being awesome.  Your English is not awesome and it won’t ever be.  If you’re not serious, do not waste my time.  Accept your mediocrity.



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