Category Archives: Languages

Learning a Language in 6 Months

Chris Lonsdale gives a good TED talk on how to learn languages quickly and below is my summary

 

5 principles of Rapid Language Acquisition

  1. Focus on language content that is relevant to you – information that helps survival, personal goals, business, etc.
  2. Use language as a tool to communicate
  3. When you first understand the message, you will unconsciously acquire the language
    1. Comprehension is key
  4. Physiological training (filters in brain to native languages, facial muscles must adapt to new sounds)
  5. Psycho-physiological state
    1. Will learn much better when happy, relaxed, curious
    2. Must learn to tolerate ambiguity
7 Actions to take for Rapid Language Acquisition
  1. Listen a lot – brain soaking
  2. Focus on getting the meaning FIRST (before you get the words)
    1. Body language, nonverbal cues
  3. Start Mixing
    1. Mix verbs, nouns, adverbs…incredible amounts of sentences can be made with few words
  4. Focus on the most common words
    1. Week 1 – use target language (what is this?…)
    2. Week 2 – pronouns, common verbs, adjectives (you, that, give, hot…)
    3. Week 3/4 – Glue words (although, but, therefore…)
  5. Get a Language Parent – creates a safe environment to practice
    1. Works to understand what you are saying
    2. Does not correct mistake
    3. Confirms understanding by using correct language
    4. Uses words the learner knows
  6. Copy the facial movements
  7. Direct Connect” to mental images
    1. Don’t convert from mother tongue to new language, use memories and imagery to connect new path

How to Learn but not Master Languages

Summary of Tim Ferriss’ suggestions for quickly deconstructing and learning any language (more detailed information on Tim’s site found here)

  1. Deconstruct the language –
    • Are there new grammatical structures which will postpone fluency?
    • Are there new sounds that will double or quadruple time to fluency?
    • Is it similar to languages I already know?
    • How difficult will it be and how long would it take to become functionally fluent?
  2. Translate these sentences to gain a simple understanding of how verbs are conjugated, fundamental sentence structure and will expose noun cases
    • The apple is red
    • It is John’s apple
    • I give John the apple
    • We give him the apple
    • He gives it to John
    • She gives it to him
    • I must give it to him
    • I want to give it to her
    • Is the apple red?
    • The apples are red
    • I’m going to know tomorrow
    • I can’t eat the apple
  3. Understand the different sounds of the new language and get examples of each exception. Also, try to get phoentic spellings in your native language if possible
  4. After these steps, you will better be able to determine if the target language is worth your investment and then you can put in more focused training