Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Welcome to

"Cross-Cultural Communicators"
Adventures in "3 Dimensional" Language Learning!

Hopefully, each week, or thereabout, I’ll be offering a new post here.
The idea is to introduce people who are interested in language and culture learning to a new perspective called  the "3 Dimensional Dynamics" of intercultural communication...
and to guide them through their learning experience, step by step, week by week.

You'll find, and I hope be contributing to, the following:
Let’s Talk
Story time – real life experiences, mine or others, which introduce…

The Task 
Specifics about language learning program principles, planning, process and
yes – that which we all hope to see – progress!

Some Tools
I’ll always include resources, activities, links
to inform and guide you in your communication quest.

And then

Your “Comments
will round this adventure out, as you pitch in and share thoughts, questions,
your own experiences and definitely suggestions about resources
you discover along the way.

At any time, you are also most welcome to visit my website
This is the place you can learn more about:
** where I am coming from as a Learner myself, and as a consultant and coach
** the 3 Dimensional Dynamics I will be introducing in this blog
** the vast array of Global SKILLs (which stands for Strategies and Kits for Intercultural Lifelong Learning) which are available to empower successful learning.

Let’s Talk
this first week about why we’re here:
We want to be successful cross-cultural communicators. 

First of all, lest you have any illusions about this adventure we're on, allow me to state categorically:
Language learning is a HARD thing to do. 
Living and working cross-culturally are not easy. 
Bottom line, this is a HUGE challenge! 
It is also 100% do-able! 
I am convinced of this
I am passionate about helping  others experience it!

The first time I really came face-to-face with the HARD part truth was in a village in West Africa, where I had just landed for several months of intense language study.  Aside from the rather extreme living conditions (no running water, no electricity...) and the total immersion factor (for example, most of the women in the village did not speak anything I spoke...), this particular language was not yet fully written down, did not yet have an established alphabet…so no books, no classes – just me and my training AND (never forget this!) the community of speakers with whom to live and learn.   Now, I will say I’d spent years studying languages in classrooms, done some pretty extensive cross-cultural living and just finished 4 graduate semesters of training and preparation as a budding field linguist.  But in spite of all that good stuff, the morning dawned in the village that day, and I literally asked myself,

Can I really make this happen? Can I learn this language?”   

A somewhat frightening moment, I must admit (remembering it this clearly is evidence),
given the context and that my job description included me succeeding.
That was 30 years ago and I’ve spent much of my time since discovering and sharing
what I’m here today to tell you and that is:
“YES!!  I learned that language (and several since then). 
YES!! You can learn your chosen language too!"
I am sure of this for two very simple reasons:
First because there are 3 keys I will be sharing with you:

** basic universal principles (for general learning and language learning specific)
** ways to choose and define the necessary tasks involved
** many tools available to every learner.   
These 3 keys - if put into action strategically and consistently - will open the doors for anyone to be a successful language learner.
Second because I have expereinced using the 3 "keys" mentioned here and seen success, time and time again, for myself and while working for the past 2 decades with learners of all ages, from many educational backgrounds and - lest you think this is only for academics or for those who are 'gifted' in languages - learners who truly struggled for years before seeing themselves succeed.

Comments, anyone?  Please add yours below.


The Task
First, I'll make it perfectly clear what is NOT the Task!
I am not going to teach you your chosen, "target", language!!

I am going to help you learn how to learn the language which will then serve you:
** in communicating effectively in that language
** in learning any other language you choose in the future,
** and also, by the way, in learning anything else you want to learn in life!

This learning experience will be guided using a perspective called "3 Dimensional Dynamics"
(or 3D dynamics).  This is a BIG picture perspective approaching the learning process at 3 differnet levels, while acquiring and applying many strategies and skills.

3D Dynamics includes 3 Keys:
** principles which serve as overall guides
** specific tasks to include in your learning adventure
** tools which’ll help you move forward
AND 1 essential ingrediant:

YOU taking responsibility for your own learning.

We'll be talking more about this,
as step by step,
you become an empowered learner!

Comments, anyone?  Please add yours below.

This week, I'd encourage you to spend some time looking at the Global SKILLs website,
and other online resources you can find about language key terms like:
language and culture learning, learning styles, language resources.  Look too for resources on your target language.  Or hang out in a library or good bookstore in the languages section - see what kinds of self-guided courses are available.

The goal is just to help you begin to get a sense of the HUGE amount of material available for people who want to learn languages.  Don't get overwhelmed...just enjoy the tour and have fun!

Next week we'll get started with some specifics which will begin to equip you to set your own personal goals for your language learning...and make strategic choices of what task you want to include
and what tools you can use effectively.

Have a good week!

Photo notes: All of the Banner Photos were taken by Betsy Hopkins
far left - arriving in Dakar, the capital of Senegal in West Africa
center - the mighty Sahara and the west coast of Africa, taken from 35,000 feet up
far right - a copy shop in Dakar

Note of Appreciation:
I want to heart-fully thank my dear friend and "CC Sister" Karen Holmes for designing this blog with me.  Karen's "art eye" and her many years of experience in the realms of design and business have made this blog happen.  I celebrate its 'birth' and look forward to further collaboration with her!


  1. Thanks Betsy, this looks like it will be helpful and encouraging.

  2. bravo, betsy... looking forward to this! thank you!