A short article on how to approach language learning

Posts536Likes330Joined8/7/2018LocationAlmeria / ES
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Read this little article this morning contributed to by polyglots some of whom speak up to 16 languages...it has some good tips... What are your opinions? What have you tried and not tried?

https://www.afar.com/magazine/advice-on-learning-a-new-language-from-people-who-speak-up-to-sixteen

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#1
Posts1357Likes945Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Jade.Xuereb wrote:
What are your opinions?

Imo, it's not a bad article. There isn't really anything in it that's clearly wrong, and most of it is solid, though pretty standard, advice. That's a bit of a relief to me, as I've read a lot of "how to learn a language" articles that are full of bad advice.


There were a few things I found a bit odd though. She stated polyglots are those who can speak over 5 languages, as if this is an agreed upon fact. It's actually highly debated.


At one point she hints around that one shouldn't study grammar explicitly, which is also highly debated.


Finally, she quoted one of the "experts" as saying how fast you learn a language depends on how you define fluency. This comes from Benny Lewis (the Irish Polyglot) who confused us all with that logic, so it did not surprise me to see the expert she quoted was part of his team. What Benny really means is how fast you learn depends on what your final goals are in the language. But instead of just telling people that, Benny wants them to define the level they want to achieve as "fluency". They are to work towards it, and when they achieve it, tell everyone that they are "fluent". You may be wondering why anyone would advise that. The answer is simple - that is what Benny has done, and how he established his brand in the industry: "Fluent in Three Months". He would study a language for three months, then claim to be fluent. Of course, very few people who actually knew the language he learned would agree with him on that. Ultimately, he got tired of people telling him he wasn't fluent. For several years he changed his tune and claimed the "fluent" in "fluent in three months" was just a goal, and not necessary to achieve. Then he published a book on language learning with the system of creating your own definition of fluency mentioned above, so that everyone can achieve "fluency" in three months. Strangely enough, in that same book, he states that most people accept B2 (upper intermediate) to be "fluency". I say it's strange because it conflicts with his advice to make up your own, and it is a much higher level than he achieved in any of his three month attempts. Lol, sorry to go so far off topic; I'm not a Benny Lewis fan, but that doesn't necessarily reflect on the article.


I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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#2
Posts536Likes330Joined8/7/2018LocationAlmeria / ES
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Haha, clearly not a Benny Lewis fan Leo! I personally think it the title of the article should be how to start to learn a language, I agree grammar is widely debated as an important thing to study, 2 schools of thought being one to focus early on and the other to ignore it start with basic root verbs ... and let it come instead focusing on the vocab for between I personally think sooner or later you need the grammar, but the Spanish school system focuses on verbs and the amount of student I have here who can bark their English conjugations from memory regular and irregular but not string a sentence together in the right tense is beyond me so... 

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#3
Posts55Likes43Joined24/3/2021LocationManila / PH
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I think it's important to have clear goals when learning a language. Example, when you just want to survive daily in a foreign land, it's better to learn conversationally and not spend too much time on grammar. It's better to focus on growing vocabulary like how kids start communicating. But when you want to communicate more correctly and express ourselves more clearly, then we have to learn grammar. 


And I don't think we can achieve "fluency" in just 3 months. I agree with Jade, the article should be how to start a language. 




Faye

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