Call For Submissions: How You Learned A Language

by Sarah Menkedick Mar 19, 2010

Photo: Fotos China de Jorge Santiago

Dear Abroad Readers,

You, I believe, are language learners. You’re at the very least language curious. You try and wrap your mouths around the tones in Mandarin and fearlessly stake your dignity on the precarious pronunciation of a phrase of Japanese slang. You tackle Arabic, Portuguese, Swahili, Spanish. You have, as I’ve realized reading our fierce and committed comment threads, deeply entrenched and passionate opinions about language learning.

I want to hear your stories about struggling with new languages, stumbling forward and finding your identity, your voice, your comfort zone and finally, ultimately, your fluency in another tongue. You don’t even have to be “fluent” in an academic sense, speaking clearly and smoothly with few errors; you can simply have learned how to navigate another language and how to understand and make yourself understood.

I want the stories of how you went from gaping uncertainty to those intuitive leaps of understanding, those breakthrough conversations (even if it was just, finally!, ordering a beer correctly) and what tricks, strategies, or unconscious tactics you used to get there.

Please try to keep submissions under 1,500 words, and avoid Beginner’s Insert Language Here study tips. I want to hear personal, individual stories about the journey you took to learn a language. Think of it as a linguistic travel narrative, charting your itinerary and your explorations into the foreign conjugations and word orders.

If you’re interested in submitting, check out Matador’s contributor guidelines and submit your article via the online form.

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