A How to Explore a Domain to Gain Dominion
We don't learn by passively receiving information; we learn by actively exploring an unknown "domain", and practicing within that domain until we gain mastery over it. These past two weeks, you've been slowly but surely expanding your domain of conversation mastery. Along the way, you've encountered many obstacles, and practiced many techniques for overcoming those obstacles. In my own experience, I've come to discover 6 major sub-domains to mastering oral fluency in a second language. Watch the nested videos below describing each sub-domain, then post a screenshot in #learn along with your biggest takeaways.
Movement was our primary focus for the first part of this program. Without movement, there is no such thing as exploration and communication.
The central moving organ for speech is of course the mouth, but as we've already discussed, we need to engage our whole body to become fully fluent communicators.
After watching the video below, reflect on your conversation experiences so far, then try to determine which aspects of your movement ability are MOST inhibiting your progress in the general domain of language acquisition.
Be careful - there's a fine line between productive self-critique and counter-productive self-deprecation. The purpose of critique is not to make people feel bad. The purpose of critique is to identify the best place to invest our creative attention.
Once you think you have some insight, share it to the
Meaning is what we've been focusing on the for the second part of this program. The conventional thinking of meaning in language is very rigid and fixated on spelling and grammar. On the more fundamental level, meaning is about representing personal experiences at the interpersonal level. To do this effectively, speedily and with high quality requires more than just explicit knowledge of grammar and definitions. Watch the video below to get a broader sense of what the meaning domain entails, then reflect on where you are most inhibited as a meaning-maker in your target language. Then once you have an insight, share it to the #learn channel.
The conventional approach gives the illusion that you can learn a language by reading books and playing with computer apps.
In reality, the only way to actually learn a language is to have conversations with people. But the only way to have conversations with people is to find people to have conversations with!
This is a networking problem. Some people are good at networking, some people are inexperienced and shy about it. No matter who you are, your opportunities to get good at a language will be limited by your willingness and ability to network.
If you're serious about learning this language, get serious about networking. Watch the video below, reflect on what your biggest networking obstacles are at the moment, then share to the
Learning a language requires you to place yourself in a situation of uncertainty, and perform a skill you're not yet expert at in front of other people. And this can be terrifying.
Again, the conventional image of reading a book and playing with a smartphone fools people into thinking that one can learn languages, risk free - but this is a lie.
There is no way an adult can become fluent in a foreign language without going on a spiritual journey. You have to searching inside yourself, confront your fears, and dig deep to bring forth performances that could only have come out under pressure.
In the video below, I touch on some of the key psychological aspects of language learning. Reflect on your biggest psychological obstacles, then share them to the
F Social Dynamics
As mentioned in Networking, learning a language involves interacting with people. Whereas networking is about finding the people, social dynamics is about how to interact with them.
This issue is distinct from the language itself - we're just talking about how to interact with humans in all the various contexts we interact with humans. If you reflect, you will often find that, what you thought was a movement or meaning obstacle, or even a psychological obstacle, was at root a social dynamic obstacle.
Perhaps you couldn't find a good vibe with the person, and that made you nervous, and that made it more difficult for you to speak and understand. Or maybe you wanted to play the conversation flow game, but your language partner insisted on playing the quality correction game, and you couldn't figure out how to get them to play the game you wanted.
Reflect on the social dynamics of your conversations so far, and try to pinpoint your biggest obstacles. Then share your insights to the
Language is about accessing the personal experiences of other people. But our personal experiences are themselves nested within the cultural experience of our community. Therefore, to communicate with someone in another language effectively, you have to develop some sense of their cultural background as well. You can have a literal meaning of each word exchanged, but without the cultural context, the meaning might be lost. Since most people we're interacting with are nested within a shared modern global culture, there is way less cultural miscommunication than what would otherwise be the case (imagine making first contact with an isolated tribe in the jungle - you'd need to know way more than the definition of words to communicate). Nevertheless, it is still worthwhile to try to engage people more deeply on the cultural level. For example, if you learn a song from someone's home culture and sing it, that person will be able to relate to you better. Think about what aspects of the culture you are most interested, and what you might be able to do to become more culturally fluent, then share your ideas to the #learn channel.