Language Imperfect is a place where language learners can find techniques, approaches and resources for learning a new language. All of the material on this site follows a methodology called Slow Fluency.
Slow Fluency has three requirements:
- Enjoy your new language
- Immediate immersion
- Forget about fluency
Enjoy Your New Language
A Slow Fluency learner grows by consistent exposure to reading, writing, speaking, and listening over a long period of time. It is very important to enjoy the content you choose and the conversations you engage in. If something is uninteresting in your native language, it is also going to be uninteresting in your target language.
Choosing interesting content not only keeps you engaged, but it also ensures that you will be willing to dive deeper when you encounter vocabulary or grammar that you do not understand. This is because you are not only motivated by the language, but also by the topic.
The most important rule of Slow Fluency is to have fun.
In order to fully appreciate any language, you need to be willing to explore reading, writing, speaking and listening in your target language. Native texts, movies, websites, and podcasts are Slow Fluency’s textbooks. Engaging directly with content designed for native speakers immediately immerses you in their target language. From the beginning, you have the ability to interact and enjoy your target language on its own terms.
Slow Fluency strongly discourages learning in a classroom. Learning a language in a classroom is artificial and focuses too much on theory. A classroom setting is not where a language is presented naturally. While it is true that grammar is an important aspect in language pursuits, Slow Fluency’s view is that grammar is most useful after you have been exposed to unknown grammar in a setting where the language is presented naturally.
It is important to consistently immerse yourself in your target language in its most natural setting.
Forget about Fluency
Fluency is usually a goal for language learners, but fluency itself is ambiguous and hard to define. Slow Fluency views fluency as a normal stage of the language learning process, just like learning to speak your first sentence or reading your first novel in your target language.
Slow Fluency frees you from any pressure of achieving fluency. When fluency is not the focus of learning a new language, you become free to slow down and enjoy the actual process of learning a new language. You will be able to explore your target language in a way that is meaningful to you. Slow Fluency does eventually lead to fluency, should you choose to pursue your language that far, but this is a natural bi-product of pursuing a language that you’ve already committed to simply enjoying.
Fluency is a step along the way in the language learning process. It does not have to be the end goal.
Who Can Use Slow Fluency
Slow Fluency strongly favors engaging with your target language outside of a classroom setting. If you prefer a more structured setting, this is probably not the best approach for you.
Because Slow Fluency favors self-driven exploration rather than structured learning, it actually takes longer to become fluent. It is, after all, a stated goal of Slow Fluency to forget about fluency altogether. If you have to learn a new language on a deadline, Slow Fluency is probably not the best approach.
Slow Fluency is best suited for highly motivated language learners who are willing to dive directly into a new language without any expectation of fluency. You must be willing to engage with your new language with the only expected reward being the satisfaction that comes through learning something new.
Slow Fluency is not an easy way to learn a new language. Immediate immersion in native content means that you will not understand anything and you must be strongly motivated to learn on your own. However, Slow Fluency is a very rewarding approach to learning language. With no emphasis on becoming fluent, the language learner is free to simply enjoy their target language without any expectation or pressure to reach fluency.
No matter what approach you use, learning a new language is a difficult undertaking that takes years and years of applied effort. Slow Fluency ensures that those years are filled with the joy of learning and exploring a new language at your own pace.
Tot ziens! 👋