More than just a means of communication, languages open us to the world. A master of ten foreign languages, author Shiro shares the lessons he learned while working, studying, and travelling abroad, inspiring readers to discover the passion and joy of learning languages.
Foreign language ability is an essential skill in our current era of globalization, but not everyone feels they can learn new languages easily. While it may come naturally to some, for most of us learning a language feels like drowning in a sea of new vocabulary, with no signs of progress in sight.
For author Shiro, learning a language isn’t about sitting at your desk memorizing heaps of vocabulary — it emerges naturally from life experience. While driving through Myanmar he used a stack of flashcards to help him chat with gas station attendants and other drivers he met along the way. He immersed himself in Spanish by taking a cruise of Latin American ports for two months, seizing every opportunity to converse with locals. Designing his own personal “Language Immersion Camps” is Shiro’s passion, allowing him to experience foreign cultures as he masters a new language.
Languages are tools for exploring the world, according to Shiro. Using the local language helps you forge stronger relationships with local people, and unlocks opportunities to more deeply engage with a culture. Foreign language ability allows you to choose your own adventure, far off the beaten path of the usual tourist destinations. For Shiro, learning languages is a hobby, like learning to play an instrument, or learning to cook, except the effort we put in is doubly rewarded: while we master a new skill we also expand our view of the world, making friends with people across the world.
In this book, Shiro highlights ten important lessons about language learning. Backed by personal experience and a wealth of academic research, Shiro has constructed a comprehensive chart of the language learning journey to help guide readers. By learning to see language learning as a pursuit that transcends our traditional notions of classroom study, readers will be inspired to formulate their own adventurous plans for language mastery.