Learning a language is a difficult endeavor. You set out to embrace a new grammar system and a new culture. If you learn it the wrong way the first time, it can take some time to unlearn.
Don’t make that mistake and get it right the first time. How do you do that? You could look for tutors who have excellent reviews and scores. But if you don’t know much about the language you’re starting to learn, you may make a mistake. The fool-proof option is to learn a language with a native speaker.
Here are 4 reasons why you may want to do that.
Real language, not the book version
Having a good textbook is a necessity for any language learner. The problem is, not all textbooks represent the target language how it is spoken today. Some textbooks that were written by a college professor who learned that language but didn’t actually live and talk to the native speakers on a day to day basis may be lacking in detail.
If you’re learning with a native speaker, especially with a person who currently lives in that country, they can direct you towards better language use. You’ll get to learn what your textbook gets right, what rules you can avoid in vernacular, and will get better explanations of rules from the textbook by someone who understands them deeply.
Slang is the thing all language learners want to know. After all, what’s the point of being able to read Shakespeare if you don’t know what a coldie is? While there are plenty of resources online that teach you a few slang words, but that’s not the complete picture.
Until we get a version of the Urban Dictionary for every language, the only source of that kind of information would be native speakers.
You may avoid the common mistake people do when learning Chinese and learn all the important characters, but if you can’t pronounce the words right, you’ll stick out as a foreigner. Just as you remember how the English language sounds to foreigners, native speaker teachers know how their language may sound to you and will pick out the faults that non-native speakers may miss out on.
The problem with Chinese customs is that it’s often misrepresented in the public eye. We can’t blame Hollywood for loving the culture so much they were shooting movie after movie about it in the 90s, but most of it ended up being more stereotypical than real.
If you the only idea you have about Chinese culture is based on popular media, you’d be surprised when you finally come over. This is why getting help from a native speaker teacher who lives in the country is crucial.
They’re the only reliable source you have on the authentic Chinese culture.
Finding a good native speaker teacher may be tougher than going to the closest language courses in your city, but it pays. You will become much better at the language, start thinking in it faster, and start to understand the culture.
Eliza Medley is an experienced tutor, educator, and psychologist. Eliza is fond of blogging, motivation articles, and education tips. Follow @Eliza_Medley on Twitter.