How To Become A Language Rockstar

Language (ˈlæŋgwɪdʒ): communication by voice in the distinctively human manner, using arbitrary sounds in conventional ways with conventional meanings; speech.

Rockstar (rɒkstɑr): Someone who’s achieved success in their field. A person who always confidently delivers the goods. If they say they are going to do something they do. They simply deliver consistent results while having fun.

What The Heck Is A Language Rockstar?

OK, let’s do some maths here: Language Rockstar in this connotation means a person who is able to convey his thoughts in a language that is not his native and in a manner that everyone else thinks that he is the center of the universe. He might not (meaning: definitely not) be a linguist, he is not spending his spare time thinking about grammatical terms while chewing the end of his pencil and staring in the far distance, he definitely doesn’t know Every. Single. Word.  in the target language and he most definitely doesn’t really give a flying faucet about the fact that he is not speaking perfectly.

On the other hand he knows that the language is a living organ, it’s all about connection, people, engagement. He is confident when speaking because he knows all the ins and outs of communication which can hardly be limited to grammar and vocabulary. He knows that although those things are important part of his style they are far from everything. He puts a huge emphasis on his body language, how he behaves and moves while interacting with other people – because making a good impression is highly dependent on the aura that he reflects. And this is done by the correct body language.

He is also confident and has the right attitude towards not only studying but towards others. Something that can hardly be learned in a language class. Having the “who cares” attitude can go a long way when it comes to uncomfortable situations. The lovely waitress didn’t understand his order? He flashes his charming smile and apologizes politely with a predigested phrase using gestures and words that he knows eases the uncomfortable situation. No, he doesn’t order something else. He orders what he was going to order in the first place. He goes through with it – just in another way. Flexible, he is. And we are not talking about the food, you get it.

Because he is lazy he gathers everything that can help him with studying – knowing how his brain and mind work is making a huge difference, not to mention that he is familiar with the latest learning techniques and technologies. This is the 21st century, the paper and pencil method is long dead, folks.

Combining the latest learning techniques with a sweepingly confident act and positive body language he actually tricks the world. He cheats. A lot. He is not afraid to reach out to modern technology when it comes to finding shortcuts. Because, if you recall it, he is lazy. And yet very successful. Yes, in any language.

After this long preface you must be very keen to learn specific details, tricks and tips about language rockstardom. So, do you want to be a Language Rockstar? Here you go.

The Rockstar Attitude

If you have ever tried to speak a foreign language chances are that you made a mistake, got embarrassed (or even blushed!) and walked away, knowing that this wouldn’t be your cup of tea.

To simply put: wrong.

Our society is expecting that we should always be perfect, punctual, and beautiful and smell like a rose garden. We have been punished for making mistakes since we were born. Got the math exam wrong? Grounded for a week. Screwed up a report at your workplace? No bonus for this quarter.

Alright, we can blame our times or our society, but it won’t help. Here is a shocking news: no one has ever learned something from scratch without making mistakes. Surprised? I’ll go even further. Making mistakes is good. Making mistakes is awesome. Making mistakes is the fastest way to get the things right. Making mistakes is the fuel of Language Rockstardom, it is to the Language Rockstar what it is beer to Rock ‘n’ Roll. Seeing things from this perspective is certainly far from orthodox but so as rockstardom. It’s high time to forget and relearn to walk.

To be successful with such an exhausting thing as speaking another language is highly dependent on your attitude. The difference between Average Joe and a Language Rockstar is that the latter wants to make as many mistakes as possible in a given area. Because that’s what makes him confident – how can he not be confident when he has already made every possible mistake? Nothing can surprise him. Be a rockstar, and embrace mistakes. Or do the opposite and crash and burn for the 1000th time.

The Rockstar Body Language

Although experts say that body language cannot be faked because there are simply way too many things to control at the same time that no human can do that. On the other hand knowing what to look for, controlling them can project the aura (charisma, charm, or call whatever you want) that persuades the other person that you are way more confident than you actually are inside.

The good news is that this can be faked. They don’t have to know that you are dreading inside, that you are afraid that when you open your mouth you will sound like an idiot. No, they don’t have to know that. If you act confidently they will get the impression you are confident and they will open up to you too. Fake, my friend, fake away! Here is a brief overview how you do it:

  • First of all: smile! Smile even if it hurts inside. The funny thing is that when you start forcing a smile soon enough you will feel that this smile transforms into a genuine smile. The power of feedback. There you go.
  • Some cultures are daunted by heavy gesturing (ask any Japanese guy), but keep in mind that there are “universal” gestures that are inborn and utilizing them can help you a lot. For example the head nod is a positive gesture used in most cultures to signify, ‘Yes’, or affirmation. Research conducted with people who have been deaf, dumb and blind from birth shows that they also use this gesture to signify affirmative, which has give rise to the theory that this may be an inborn gesture. What does this mean for you? Learn the basic gestures that can be applied in any language and you will save a lot of work. I told you that a Language Rockstar is lazy.
  • Keep your palms visible and never ever talk with palms facing down (unless you want to tell someone off). That would suggest that you are a suppressive jerk, which you definitely don’t want.
  • After asking something and expecting an answer act like it – do not lean in. Instead listen carefully, show interest and nod. Nodding is a very powerful encouragement “tool” that enables the other person to expand on the topic while you are gathering your thoughts.
  • Wearing a jumper or jacket? Unbutton it. This shows openness, so the other will think that you are approachable and not a stubborn duche.
  • When looking at the other person try to monitor the area between his mouth and two eyes. This is called the “social gaze” and is considered friendly. Never look at his or her forehead – that would suggest aggression on your part.

The Rockstar Study Techniques & Tools

Learning a language from book and filling in the gaps in the workbook is awesome in case you want to go crazy in the shortest possible time. Even if you are not a tech savvy guy you should familiarize yourself with some of these tools as they will make your language learning journey much more effective.

  • Have the right attitude to literally “hack” the language into pieces. Forget traditional methods. Seriously. There are way better methods now. Just keep coming back to Language Rockstar and all shall be revealed.
  • Use memory tricks and mnemonics to learn words and phrases faster.
  • Use an SRS program so you won’t forget anything that you’ve learned.
  • Familiarize yourself with the latest learning techniques (did you know that if you take a power nap after a study session you increase your understanding and retention rate by 20-60%?).
  • Use podcasts, online courses, mobile devices, applications and everything that you can put your hands on to accelerate your progress. There are many.

Accidentally enough we will discuss these topics in greater detail in future posts. Elaborate on them, if you like. Combining these in a balanced way and you will definitely be more than ready to go on stage and conquer the world that the other language means to you. Ladies and gentlemen, keep your eyes on the Language Rockstar because we will be back with a ton of awesomeness that will make your life easier in case you want to tackle another language. So, do you want to be a Language Rockstar?

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