The distinction between language acquisition and language learning may seem subtle, but I think it is important to consider when trying to improve Spanish fluency. With language acquisition, the idea is that you acquire the language naturally by being exposed to it. With language learning, you are making a conscious effort to learn the parts of the language in order to put them together into the whole. There are lots of opinions about which way is faster or better or more effective, etc. I am probably more in the language acquisition camp, but also know that at least some explicit instruction is necessary to fully grasp a new language. Recently, I opened the Pars Omni Spanish Voices software to use it and the tip of the day spoke to just this idea: “Did you know… That Voices is both a language acquisition tool and a language learning tool?”
I’ve heard and read a lot of debate about language acquisition vs language learning, but have never seen such a well put explanation that finds balance and harmony between the two schools of thought. I love that this tip gives a specific way to distribute your time between the two: 80% language acquisition and 20% language learning. This is so practical and applicable – essential elements of effective language progress.
I also like that it addresses the ideas of the way children come to know language versus how adults come to know language: “Children learn through language acquisition. But adults can learn through both language acquisition and language learning.” It’s not that it has to be either/or, all one way or the other. Rather, finding a smart combination of both will be the best thing for adult learners. While children don’t really have the capacity to understand that they are learning, adults can understand this and even think about their own learning. By reading this blog you are learning about learning and that metacognition can be a powerful asset to you.
There are different levels of language acquisition and your needs may shift as you progress. Maybe at the beginning of your journey you need a bit more language learning time so that you can get a solid foundation in the basics, while later, you are able to spend more time in language acquisition mode. Find the combination of resources that works for you and your budget. There are lots of free resources that can help you get started and then later you can invest more into the process once you know what types of materials you enjoy and are effective for you. After all, we are all individuals and there are multiple valid approaches to becoming proficient in another language.
Another tip in the Spanish Voices program advises that “you’ll get the best results from Voices when you simply focus on understanding and enjoying the conversation” and that if “you forget about trying to memorize and trying to get immediate results, your mind can relax and do what it always has known how to do: acquire language effortlessly.” The synergy between natural language acquisition and structured language learning is a wonderful thing.
Pars Omni Spanish Voices is a unique software that combines both elements and allows you to customize the learning environment according to your individual needs, wants, and proficiency level. Download it for free today and get started improving your Spanish fluency while enjoying yourself at the same time.