Can having a significant other who is a native speaker really help you learn a language? Of course, and it can be a very fun process. Alex, one of my friends from college, was road tripping down in Mexico 3 years ago when he met Cruz, his Mexican girlfriend. Recently, the couple got married in Mazatlan, Mexico and his Spanish is excellent. In fact, the ceremony was in Spanish and their vows were in mostly Spanish too. Dating a native speaker will always keep you focused on your target language, help you learn slang along with pronunciation.
Traditionally, most people are introduced to language via classroom study. Classroom learning has its merits, but people only think about their target language a few hours a week. Thus, it’s very easy to learn one concept, cram for a test only to forget it. By dating a native speaker, you’re constantly immersed in the language and won’t forget crucial concepts.
While some native speakers might be bilingual in your native language, it’s not always the case. When Alex and Cruz met, she spoke little English, forcing him to speak Spanish. Eventually, his Spanish became natural and she started to learn English. Fast forward a few years, his Spanish and her English greatly improved. Thus, an unexpected byproduct was a mutually beneficial language exchange.
Many languages vary greatly between countries, such as Mexican Spanish vs Spain Spanish. These languages have different slang words and accents. If your significant other is from a specific region, you’ll likely learn that region’s dialect. Many slang words vary greatly with one word having different meaning depending on context. For example, pedo, means fart but estoy pedo means “I’m drunk” in Mexican Spanish. Pedo takes on a different meaning in the phrase que pedo güey, or what’s up dude and no hay pedo, which means no problem! These slang words are rarely taught via traditional methods and make you speak naturally in no time. Learning slang words will also enable you to understand your significant other’s family and friends easier.
Many language learners attempt to learn a new language primarily through their first language. This can be good at a beginner level, but will impede your progress once you advance. Luckily, many programs have realized that and teach advanced classes entirely in the target language. Despite that, you’ll still be accustomed to hearing your target language spoken by non native speakers, which can cause bad habits. If you repeat these bad habits over time, it will be harder to correct your language ability.
By dating a native speaker, you’ll get a sense of what the language should sound like and eventually start replicating patterns. This is important since many people fear sounding like cavemen when learning a language. Hopefully, you’ll be comfortable around your significant other and won’t need to worry about that.
As shown above, dating a native speaker has its merits. Alex and Cruz have benefited from constant language and culture exchange, making them proficient in multiple languages. Having a significant other that speaks a different language will help you always think in your target language, master slang and pronunciation. Have you dated someone who spoke a foreign language before? If so, please feel free to share below!