Peter Norvig might be talking about computer programming, but this page is a great read. Particularly for anyone who wants to learn .. anything!
I’ve been learning Chinese since about the 4th October 2006, teaching myself for a year and a half, then doing 2 and half years at uni. Now I have an online tutor and she guides me and is someone I can talk to in Chinese.
So it’s nearly 5 years that I have been learning. And that is full on learning. I’ve lived, but I haven’t done any other studies. Everyday I spend from 1 to many hours studying Chinese. So that’s been a lot of study, but I can’t yet ‘talk’ in Chinese. I can pick out sentences slowly and with help. With the aid of the computer I can write stories. With the aid of Google translate and Wire Tap Studio, I can record the stories that I have written in a very good Chinese computer voice, and then I can practice reading them out aloud.
Strangely, I feel like I am learning it quickly and I find it very exciting. I can see though, it’s going to take another 5 years to be reasonably competent.