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A NEW Way to Learn Languages


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Finally a clear and effective method for learning a new language! Language is all about communicating IDEAS, so that's what needs to be learned.
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A NEW Way to Learn Languages

  1. 1. A NEW Way to Learn Languages Language is simply the communication of ideas. Regardless of the language, including body language, sign language and braille, it is simply the communication of an idea or feeling. When learning a new language, you learn to comprehend an idea expressed in a new way, and later you're able to express your ideas and feelings. Page 1 of 9
  2. 2. When a four year old child says, "Kucing ke mana?" (Where did the cat go?) , and you reply, "Yeah, where'd he go?", along with the physical action of looking around, there is complete understanding and comprehension of the idea being expressed. There is NO need to understand ANY grammar. It is not important that 'did' is the past tense form of 'do'. The idea was quickly comprehended by the child who had never spoken a word of English in her life, and she was soon running around with my son saying "Where'd he go?" with perfect pronunciation. And she completely understood the idea being expressed. "Ah, here it is!" is a very common expression and idea. How do you express that idea in the new language that you're learning? Very often advanced learners will have no idea, and will simply use some expression translated from their own native language which will almost never be right. If someone says to you, "What's that?", pointing to something but you didn't see what he pointed to, then you will likely reply ________ . In most languages you'd say "Where?" or "Which?", but in English we'd most likely say: "What's what?". So, the key to language learning is to be able to comprehend ideas expressed by others and be able to express your own ideas. It's as simple as that. Page 2 of 9
  3. 3. We comprehend by either listening or reading and it is VERY important to realize that they are two separate physical things. Especially listening (and speaking and writing) needs to be physically practiced. It's NOT a mental function, you have to physically develop the ability to do it. Thus, a good language learning program focuses on helping the student develop the physical ability. Programs that insist on no translations are unnecessarily limiting students from one of the easiest means of ensuring comprehension of the idea being expressed. That said, it is also extremely important NOT go from Idea to Translation to Comprehension or in reverse, from Idea to Formulation in your own language to Translation to Expression. It must always be direct from Idea to Comprehension or Idea to Expression. This isn't difficult to achieve with a good language learning program. Sitting in a classroom, waiting for the slowest person in the class to comprehend what's going on is NOT an effective way to learn a new language. Each student must have the freedom to advance at their own speed. With the internet, mobile phones and mp3 players the opportunities are endless. Page 3 of 9
  4. 4. Expressing yourself in a new language is often the most difficult part, however it doesn't need to be. When I learned Indonesian, I could say more than I could understand because I simply used my limited vocabularly and managed to express my ideas. Other people would use words I didn't know yet or spoke too quickly so I wasn't able to understand what they were trying to say. A key element of a good language program is its ability to 'activate' the language being learned and help the students become able to express their ideas both written and spoken. Once again, the act of writing (and typing) and speaking must be physically learned. Because it is something the students have to learn to do themselves, physically, it's really impossible to 'teach'. The teacher's role is to correct mistakes and assist where difficulties are encountered. Again, classroom settings are totally inappropriate for individual students to practice expressing themselves in a new language. Page 4 of 9
  5. 5. Here's an interesting check for non-native English speakers to see if you know what we'd say in the following situations. It's extremely basic and is included in our Lesson 1 but most people won't know the answer. Scenario 1: Your phone rings, you answer it, the other person is talking but you don't know who it is; what would you say? (use the simplest expression, remembering this is being learned in Lesson 1 which focused on What's this? What's that? and Who's this? Who's that?) Scenario 2: Your phone rings, you answer it and begin talking and laughing with them and it becomes clear that your friend sitting beside you also knows this person. They become curious and want to know who you're talking to; what would they say? Scenario 3: As in scenario 2, but they ask after you hang up the phone; what would they say? Page 5 of 9
  6. 6. Scenario 1: Who is this? (and the emphasis is placed on the 'is') Scenario 2: Who is it? Scenario 3: Who was that? (emphasis is placed on 'that') How'd you do? Can you explain this grammatically? I can't, and why bother? It doesn't matter!! The idea is clearly expressed and understood, and with the proper learning method, students will learn such things without even realizing it. How? Because the program develops the physical reflexes and makes them 'automatic'. Here's an example of 'automatic' learning and developing the physical reflexes to speak correctly, 'automatically'. I gave a simple booklet to one of my staff to read, out loud, 3 times a day, every day. It took about 5 minutes, so 15 minutes a day. Nothing else, no studying, just read it out loud and begin developing the physical ability to speak in English. I then got him typing. Again, with a very effective and quick method, and he typed: What's Mary doing? She's listening music on the radio? What's wrong with what he typed? Page 6 of 9
  7. 7. Hopefully most of you know the answer. He couldn't figure it out. He went through each of his 'rules': she's, apostrophe s, listening, -ing, music, on, the radio. He honestly started to believe that I was wrong. So, I told him, don't look at the computer, just tell me verbally what it should be. I prompted him with the 'idea' expressed in Indonesian. Mary lagi ngapain? And he replied, "What's Mary doing?" Dia lagi dengarin musik di radio. "She's listening to ... And then he stopped himself, now realizing his mistake. The 'to' came out automatically. I told him, that is the entire underlying philosophy of what we're trying to do. If you look at most TOEFL questions, they're actually testing quite basic things and in many cases it's the accompanying 'to' which simply needs to be learned as an automatic reflex. A common mistake is to say "ask to". We never say "ask to". Conversely, people will say, "Sorry I didn't reply your email." For this you have to say "reply to". Why? I don't know, it just is what it is, and if you learn it in a natural manner then you won't ever have to remember because it will be automatic. :) Page 7 of 9
  8. 8. Movies are a great way to improve your languge abilities compared to most boring language programs that teach you ridiculous expressions that you'd never use in real life. The following is a subtitle from the movie, The Italian Job, and after reading it I thought, she didn't say that. Come by. We'll have some breakfast. What she actually said, and what is completely natural English is: Why don't you just come by and we'll have some breakfast, hmm? English prefers a nice flowing rhythm rather than being short like many other languages, such as Russian, Japanese and Indonesian. When what you learn matches what you hear all around you, then it's reinforced and becomes natural. Here's an example of expressing an idea in many different ways. In the same movie, he replies: Well, it'd be a long trip. And the French and Russian subtitles are: Ce n'est pas la porte à côté. Э он б и н йс е . т е лж и вт It's all about expressing an idea naturally and easily, and understanding expressed ideas. Page 8 of 9
  9. 9. Movies are also very helpful in developing an 'ear' for a language. A good language learning program needs to show students how the language is actually spoken. Most students learn 'wanna' , 'gonna' and 'gotta' but if they're shown these early on in their learning, along with others, and also encouraged to speak in a smooth and natural manner, then the entire learning process is speeded up and improved. Children learn many, many nouns; book, chair, table, apple, umbrella, and on and on, but what's most important to learn is 'itsa' . What's this? It's a book. When spoken clearly students will understand, "Do you want something to drink?", but we never speak that way. We'd say: "Ya wan' sa'm ta drink?" "Do you" usually sounds like d'ja or d'ya or simply ya (from you). "Something" is often somethin' or sa'm and "to" is often pronounced ta . It's not difficult to learn but if it's not specifically shown to the student it may take them years to discover it on their own. With a good language learning system, students can be talking like a native in no time. Page 9 of 9