Learning new Technology tools is like Learning a Foreign Language

Photo by Kathryn

Experimenting and learning with new technology tools reminds me of the process of learning a foreign language.

You are not capable of communicating when you first start out. After a while you are able to pick up a few words here and there. With more practice, you are suddenly able understand and repeat words and phrases from others and answer with a simple sentence structure. Once you immerse yourself into the language though, it won’t be long before you can communicating your own thoughts and ideas. Many people stop learning a foreign language before they ever get to the point of immersion. These people will never become fluent.

I am learning a new language right now. My fifth one that is. I am fluent in German, Spanish, English and PC. I am a Pre-Schooler in the Mac language. In order to become fluent, I am immersing myself by using my Macbook exclusively at home. Applying my newly learned vocabulary in practice… Forcing myself to use the keyboard shortcuts every time… You have to use the structures and nuances of the new languge in order to become fluent… You have to try to express yourself in the target language in order to make yourself understood by the natives. Even though you might stumble over vocabulary in the beginning, the ability to communicate is what matters.

I am looking up the help of native speakers and am finding great tips and tricks, that I will have to incorporate into my daily “speech pattern” in order to apply and internalize the newly learned vocabulary.

I was looking for help on how to do a “screen capture” on the Mac, since I was not able to find my familiar “Print Screen” button on the keyboard. Already worried, that once more I would be lost in translation… that my language (PC) did not have a direct translation into the Mac language, I found a help article which translated my “Print Screen” into “Shift-command -3” for me. In addition to the bare minimum translation for one concept (Print Screen) to the other language, it also suddenly opened up the possibility of only capturing part of the screen (“Shift-command -4”) , which in the PC language is not possible to do directly.

Being able to speak other languages, I am aware of the limitations of translation issues. Some concepts are just better expressed in one language than the other. And to translate would mean loosing part in the process. But being fluent in more than one language also means that one has more ways of expressing one self than a monolingual person. One just needs to know when to choose which language.

[tag] languages, macbook, technology [/tag]