Saturday, June 21, 2014

How to learn German in 6 months

I came across this TED talk todayin which Chris Lonsdale, a psychologist from New Zealand who runs a company in Hong Kong, talks about language learning. He believes that ANYBODY can learn a language in six months if they follow the five principles and seven actions that he has formulated after assessing all the research available on language learning.

The main issue is to learn your target language just like a child would do:

1. Listen a lot to the spoken language, establish a pattern, follow the rhythm
2. Focus on getting the meaning of the phrases by observing body language
3. Focus on the core words - daily words: pronouns, verbs, adjectives (about 3000 words are enough to have a basic conversation)
4. Start mixing - a baby will say "mama hungry", they don´t care about grammatical rules, you shouldn´t care either. Just speak!
5. Find yourself "a language parent" - the baby has parents who speak to him all the time. They understand what the child wants to say and respond by using correct language.
6. Copy the face – watch native speakers and observe their face, in particular their mouth movements while they’re speaking
7. “Direct connect” to the target language – find ways to connect words directly with images and other internal representations.

Interesting approach, don´t you think?

And the five principles are:

1. Focus on language content that is relevant to you.
2. Use your language as a tool to communicate from day 1.
3. When you understand the message you will acquire the language unconsciously
4. Language is not about accumulating a lot of knowledge but is rather a type of physiological training.
5. Psycho-physiological state matters – you need to be happy, relaxed, and most importantly, you need to be tolerant of ambiguity. Don’t try to understand every detail as it will drive you crazy.

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