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Two More Thoughts On Learning That New Language
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Two More Thoughts on Learning That New Language

Two new thoughts.

In a previous article we talked about making key decisions before setting out on the road to learning that new language. Here are two more thoughts which I found very interesting. Before you set out on the road to text books or phrase books it might be more usefull to spend some time listening to audio and maybe the television in that language and then after some time talking to someone using that language, even though you will stumble like crazy at the beginning. Sounds crazy doesn't it? How can you understand the language if you haven't picked up a book? Bear with me folks - lets look at a bit of research first.

Language learning as a child

Remember how you learnt as a child - no of course you don't. How did your children learn or their children. Did you sit them down with a text book? No of course you didn't. They predominantly learnt the basics by listening and copying.

Language centers in our brain.

It seems that research has now shown that we do not maintain in our brains a single centre for our language capability. Please don't ask me how the researchers know this but they now say that if you have two languages in your repertoire then you will have two language centres. They won't talk to each other and they do not use memory. If like me you learn in the traditional way then this comes as a huge surprise. Furthermore they found out that these language centers all work in exactly the same way. So guess what? If you want to learn a second language then a good way to start is like you did when you were a child - listen speak and learn (hence the title this is two points because just listening on its own will not work).

Audio and spoken approach

I started the current language I am learning with audio cd's, unwittingly doing what it seems you should do. The advantage for me was the usual one of independence and also I picked up the basics, BUT more importantly I was listening to a native speaker and was able to pick up the rythm of the language. Two years on I can still recall this work and it helped me immeasurably when I went into a more formal approach of using a one on one teacher.

Those two thoughts

It seems we might be able to start learning best by listening and speaking, before going on to a more structured way of learning. We can do this by obtaining cd's as I did or getting access to language sites on the web which are even cheaper. We can listen to a native speaker if we can find one, or the TV in the language channel, but this approach may well give us a big help when we go forward. For some of us who only need the basics we may well be along way along that road. Happy learning!!

Street Talk

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