Acquire Languages

There are too many benefits of mastering another languages for me to add anything. A very strong point is the language stays with you. It's the fastest way to impress someone, it unlocks the door to a new culture and new possibilities.

I believe most of the people (myself included) obsessed with finding the best way to learn a language before we even start to learn the language (shame, shame!).

Recently I watched this YouTube video:

It’s facsinating. It’s 57 mins long, despite the title, really worth a watch. Some highlights here:

  • The most important sentence to learn is "My friend will pay"!
  • Forget the grammar, don't study grammar, it will hinder you.
  • Learning is what happened in a classroom
  • Acquiring is the subconscious way babies pick up a language
  • The natural method (no grammar, no corrections, 90% target language in the classroom) and TPRS (hearing a story and then reading it) are the closest to the way we naturally acquire a language.

Learning v.s. Acquisition

Acquire a new language by:

  • Studying individual word and grammar books is not effective
  • Smart Flashcards Spaced Repetition not effective (but better than not learning at all)
  • Active Listening to acquire "Comprehensible inputs"
  • Speak the language

With few hundreds hours (what a luxury when we get older), we should be able to reach conversational.

What is Comprehensible Input?

Watch this video that explains this perfectly in 17 mins.

Summary as: Something you do not understand, but you can understand with help (gestures, pictures, drawings).

By finding a native target language speaker that describe pictures for you verbally. No common language explanations (English). If you do not understand, learn the questions to ask what it is. Try gestures, draw it, otherwise move on, keep going.

The researcher recommends magzines with lots of pictures and children books, but it should work with anything.

This video summarize everything very well:

The HOWTO with your language partner

  • Almost never speak the common language between you and your partner (gesture or draw instead or move on)
  • No correction or grammar rules
  • Learn how to ask basic questions
  • Learn "Command words" in one session
  • Ask partner to describe pictures from Magazines in target language
  • Ask questions
  • more than 500 words -> Children books
  • Ask partner to describe pictures from children books
  • Ask questions

See this video in action:

The ALG approach

Automatic Language Growth approach. A school in Thailand practices this approach teaching Thai to adults. There is a silent beginning period that you only listen. This approach is invented by Dr J Marvin Brown and detailed in his book: From the Outside In.

Conclusion

Due to my years of failing attempts to learn English, Dutch, French, Spanish, Japanese. I am convinced that above is probably a better approach to "learn" a language.

  • Reading and writing are awesome but it is not necessary to acquire a language
  • No stress if you cannot / do not understand anything
  • Active Listening with comprehensible inputs you can understand
  • Record the session with language partners (to review, relearn it)
  • If you want to learn Spanish, look no further: Dreaming Spanish.

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