The Foreign Language Advice that Changed Everything

Years ago, when I was just a college student trying to figure everything out, I had a life-changing conversation with my German professor.

You see, I was pretty good in German class. My brain was a verb conjugating master when sitting in front of a piece of paper. I could nail any grammar test after hours of intense studying. I could write so well with my dictionaries and conjugation books open. But I had a lot of anxiety when it came to speaking German.

I made the Dean’s list while finishing 300 and 400 level German courses, but actually speaking in that language? Ummm, no.

My professor asked me, “Do you know what you need to do if you want to speak German really well?”

I leaned forward. I was all ears. Ready to take notes in his office.

He looked at me and said, “Never take another class ever again.”

Hm? Ha?

“Just go talk in German.”

Then he was quiet.

But everything felt like it was exploding inside of my head!

“But your job is literally teaching German classes at a university?”

“Yes, but we do it all wrong.”

He pushed his closed hands into each other as he exhaled. He couldn’t verbalize why it was wrong and why it wasn’t working, but he saw it every semester. He just really wanted to read German literature and talk about it, and it wasn’t helping students learn to talk.

After that conversation, I was left on my own to put the pieces together to figure out how to do what seemed at the time impossible: speak German.

Ten years later, I met up with some college girlfriends I made on a study abroad to Berlin. I wanted to show off how well my oldest child could speak German and sing a cute song. I leaned over to my son and said a few things to him in German to get him going.

When I looked back up at my girlfriends, they sat there at the Chick-fil-A in complete shock.—

“Adelaide! YOUR GERMAN!”

It took me a moment to process what they meant.

I had forgotten that they didn’t know.

They didn’t know I get mistaken for a native speaker now.

They didn’t know the words just come out without thinking.

They didn’t know I stopped doing what everyone else was doing and learned to talk in German.

And I got my family speaking German, too.

Oh. My. Goodness. To me, it was the biggest compliment coming from them!

I had done what felt so impossible to me. I had stopped hiding behind my “A’s” and learned to talk.

And it looked so good on me! 😉

So how do you do this?

How do you go from wanting to talk to actually TALKING in a foreign language without wasting your time and not getting results?

Not by doing what everyone is doing in high school or college

But by doing what MOMS do to teach a first language.

Basically, you need to follow the natural language progression.

Think about it.

When you’re a baby, first you’re talked to, sang to, and read to.

Then you start talking, singing, and watching videos.

Then you start telling stories.

Do you know any 18-month-old that can tell a five-minute story? Yeah, no. This happens after they can make their demands and desires known.

Then you start reading, writing, and, finally, grammar.

And where do most language programs start?

At the end. With the grammar. Not at the beginning!

They miss the WHOLE FOUNDATION of the language.

But not you. Not any more!

You’re going to knock out the first two lines of the natural language progression as a family, and then get started on the last line.

You’re going to use the language every day in your home.

You’re not going to waste your time.

You’re going to be the showstopper.

This week, I would love for you to use the phrases in our free challenge, so you can your family can start speaking in the language of your dreams in 7 minutes.

I want you to make the switch from “trying to learn a foreign language” to “actually speaking in one.”

Let me know how it goes by checking in on Instagram via DM.

I would love to know which phrases you’re getting down and if you have any questions.

xo,

Adelaide

Founder of TalkBox.Mom

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