We all know how essential practice is to master a language. More specifically, oral practice.
But the thing is, we’re not all equal when it comes to this.
There are two categories of profiles in language learning. Introverts on one side, extroverts on the other.
How does that work?
The first thing to know is that this has nothing to do with shyness (contrary to what most people think).
You can be introverted and socially comfortable, or you can be extroverted and shy. These terms correspond to the way you manage your energy.
What does this mean?
Introverts will fill up on energy in moments when they are alone. And conversely, they will feel their energy drained in social situations.
Extroverts are the total opposite: solitude is particularly costly in energy. They need interaction.
Why is this important to know?
Because it will change the way, you learn languages.
There is always a social side to languages: let’s not forget that it is a tool that a culture uses to communicate at its core. Oral communication, and therefore interaction with others, is often seen as predominant. It is not for nothing that we say “speak” a language.
When you see things from this point of view, you think that extroverts have a considerable advantage.
But is this the case?
Not at all!
Extroverts do have a facility with communication, it’s true. Oral and written. And since they like being around people and using their skills, they tend to be less afraid of making mistakes.
But what about the rest?
Introverts are faster at mastering the pronunciation and grammar of a language. And according to a study, they are more likely to invest time and effort in developing an authentic accent and integrating into another culture.
So in and of itself… there’s not the best profile.
We focus on different things. And then anyway, you can’t change it. Accept it, and act on it.
We talk a lot about time management in language learning. But so is managing your energy. So choose practices that suit your nature.
Not sure what category you fall into?
Think about how you feel after a social situation. Energized or exhausted? What about confinement? How did you experience it? Answering these questions can put you on the right track. But if not, you have tests available everywhere on the internet.
Otherwise, this quote from Benny Lewis sums up the difference between introverts and extroverts: “extroverts tend to care more about communicating something, while introverts care more about how they communicate”. In other words, extroverts focus on what is communication. Introverts focus on the “how”.