The Language Business
The Old Dairy, Cubley, Ashbourne, Derbyshire,
DE6 2EY, United Kingdom

 
The Language Business
Training Options
Accelerated Learning
Dutch Course

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This is of course the question that most business people ask us, followed by 'how long will it take me to get there?' There is no one answer that will apply to everyone; it depends, for example, on what level you are starting from.

One thing is certain: to become truly 'fluent' in a foreign language takes many years and will in many cases involve actually spending some time in the country concerned as well as studying the language with a company like ours.

However, our experience with the Accelerated Learning approach shows that, assuming you are a complete beginner, between 75 and 100 hours of study will take you to an 'operational' level. This is a level at which in most common social or business situations you will survive, given that your contacts are being reasonably sympathetic in terms of their speed of speech and use of idiom, and that you are familiar with the topics being discussed.

Of course, at this level, you will still make mistakes, will lack vocabulary in certain areas, and your accent will identify you as a non-native speaker; but you will have reached base camp on the mountain. From this stage, you can carry on climbing it by yourself, although you may of course choose to carry on with further training in the language.

 


Many of the business people we train start off by saying this. What they mean is, 'I was no good at languages at school'. This is a different matter.

Many people had poor experiences with languages at secondary school, perhaps because of an uninspirational teacher, but more likely because of the way that languages were (and to some extent still are) taught at school. For many of us the emphasis was on rote memorisation of vocabulary and the dreaded 'grammar'.

As a consequence many people can still remember their French conjugations, but are incapable of putting together more than a few words in general conversation. They learned about French at school, rather than learning to communicate in that language.

The Language Business has an entirely different approach, based on the Accelerated Learning methodology and materials. Here there is little emphasis on grammar; the language is acquired in a way that mimics first language acquisition, in other words the way you learned language as a child. Most five-year-olds have an excellent grasp of their mother tongue, but they couldn't tell you anything about grammar. As an adult, you can aim to learn a language in the same, almost effortless way that children do.

 


Maybe, but it's nothing to do with the way our brains are wired up. We are as capable of learning Dutch as the Dutch (who everybody says are great linguists) are of learning English.
Given the right materials and approach, every British person is capable of learning a language. Motivation is of course the key element in any learning experience.

And no, not everyone out there does speak English, actually. Figures from CILT, The National Centre for Languages, show that only 6% of the world’s population speaks English as a first language; 75% of the world’s population doesn’t speak any English at all. And even closer to home, fewer than a third of Western Europeans speak English as foreign language.

 


Learning a language entirely through self-study is pretty difficult. In our opinion, many of the home study packs are pretty boring. Sooner or later you need to activate the language you are acquiring - to speak it out loud in a real environment. That's why many of the courses The Language Business designs are an imaginative combination of self-study and sessions with a trainer.

 


Unless you are really exceptional, if you learn a foreign language as an adult you will never speak it with no trace of accent. As adults, our brains are wired into our own mother tongues, and we find it hard to take on new sounds that don't exist in English. As long as your accent doesn't get in the way of being understood then you shouldn't worry about it.


 

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