There tend to be 3 approaches to learning to communicate in a language:
1 – The student who wants to say everything perfectly
2 – The student who just wants to communicate
3 – The student who wants to speak well, but focuses more on communication
1 – The student who wants to say everything perfectly will eventually speak a more accurate Spanish than the other 2. But this person is usually terrified to speak, because they may make a mistake. This person often takes 3x longer to learn and doesn’t enjoy the benefits of speaking the language for many, many years. This type usually freezes when they don’t know how to say something. This student is usually more of a listener than a talker.
2 – The student who focuses solely on communication does very well initially. They learn incredibly fast and get to an intermediate level very quickly, because they are not afraid to put themselves out there. This student does not usually get past a mid intermediate level, because they don’t usually focus on quality, they focus on quantity (how much can I learn to communicate, not how well can I learn the language). Because the intricacies and accuracy of the language are not usually a main focus, this student usually hits a plateau and stays there forever. Sometimes native speakers have a hard time understanding this type of student, due to the magnitude of errors. This student is usually more of a talker than a listener.
3 – The student who focuses on communication but cares about grammar and accuracy is the one that reaps the most benefits. This person learns at a “normal” pace and strikes a balance between not being afraid to make mistakes/putting themselves out there, but at the same time trying to improve their accuracy by learning from their mistakes and making an effort with grammar. This type of student usually spends time listening and talking and is an absolute pleasure to talk to as a native speaker.
So which one are you?
Which one would you like to be?