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Technology vs. Tradition

Learning a new #language can incite fear and anxiety. It can also be encouraging and rewarding. Technology has given us wider access to tools designed to help us learn any language of our choice while sitting on our sofas. But what exactly is this teaching us? Is this the new and improved way to learn? Or is this filling our mind with ideas, distractions, and worst of all, laziness?

In ancient times, #Greek and #Latin were transferred across borders in order to learn new styles of grammar. They translated grandiose texts sentence by sentence, creating new guides to aid their respective languages.

Thousands of years later, we have discarded these methods and adopted a new style. No longer are we going to classes, #translating books, or even planning immersion trips. Now, we go online to the trusty iTunes store, find the application, and press #download. They are categorized, colourful and user friendly. While you are using this app, you can eat a pizza, watch your favourite television show, Skype with your mate, all while stroking your cat.

Let’s say you’ve memorized the #French ‘app.’ Let’s say you know all the greetings, transportation words and how to order in a restaurant. Now you make a weekend trip to Paris. And while people appreciate the effort, you find yourself lost. You discover people don’t understand you, and you don’t understand them.

The problem is if you want to speak a language fluently, downloading software to your phone or computer won’t suffice. Learning a new language requires being surrounded by native speakers. It means understanding a new #culture, enabling the comprehension of slang, humour and other hidden connotations. It also means working through books sentence by sentence, like our ancient friends used to do.

Phones, tablets, and other smart devices bring about a multitude of distractions. You will never be entirely focused with full concentration on what you are #learning. And most likely, you will forget it all later.

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