Inflated claims about language learning

I recently posted about the trend of “productivity gurus and marketers” making inflated claims about how much people can learn or otherwise accomplish in a short time. This trend is particularly common in the domain of language learning. Language-learning apps routinely make absurd promises of fluency in their marketing materials. This spreads the notion that learning a language is (or ought to be) quick and easy. If that is what people expect, they are likely to be disappointed and give up language-learning when it turns out to be neither quick nor easy.

Productivity gurus and impossible goals

We live in the age of the “productivity guru.” A productivity guru is someone who advertises his or her own productivity and suggests that others can achieve similar results. I enjoy the books and other content produced by some people who can be characterized as productivity gurus—Cal Newport, David Allen, Tim Ferriss, and Marie Kondo, for example. But they have thousands of imitators, and for many of these, the core of their brand is exaggeration: exaggeration of what they have accomplished and of what you, the consumer, can accomplish by following their lead.