So, you’ve come to Esukhia to learn Tibetan? That’s great! We hope you make a lot of mistakes.
Maybe you think that’s a strange message to be giving students coming to a language school. But we think it’s a great attitude to take when it comes to learning a new language. Why?
Mainly because language is a skill, not knowledge. It’s something you practice, not something you study. Specifically, language is the skills of: speaking, listening, reading, & writing. And doing them is how you’ll learn them. It is less like learning an academic subject and more like learning to riding a bike.
You’ll start off unsteady and unsure. You’ll wobble back and forth. You’ll turn the handles too far right. You’ll overcorrect, and turn them back too far left. You’ll fall off a lot. But, with each of those scrapes and bruises, you will learn something.
That’s why it’s so important to stick to Tibetan only. If you’re using English, it will feel easier. If you study grammar & vocabulary, you will think you’re “learning Tibetan.” But it’s not. It’s like sitting in your garage, studying your bicycle; you can study how many teeth the gears have, how many links are in the chain, what the radius of the wheels are…
You will learn something about your bike. But you will not be “learning how to ride bike.” All that study won’t help your skill of riding it, just like the study of grammar and vocabulary won’t help you speak, listen to, read, or write a language.
So to make the most of your time at Esukhia… make a lot of mistakes!