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Beyond Language Learning
Discussing comprehensible input, second language acquisition research, & possible ways to effortlessly learn languages to very high levels of ability at any age
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Beyond Language Learning Feb 25
I've written before about the problems of assuming that language learning is simply easy for children and hard for adults, while ignoring factors like learning approach and the need for environments that support language acquisition:
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Beyond Language Learning Feb 24
Replying to @lingosteve
Do you have samples of biographical content with circling in other languages? I did something like this for learners I tutored, writing & recording English biographies of them with circling. I'm also making English videos about myself and various topics with circling & repetition
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Beyond Language Learning Feb 24
More broadly I think this speaks to how expectations that languages can be neatly packaged in courses are unrealistic. There needs to be documentation of many languages in fuller contexts through which people can understand and pick them up, rather than just isolated sentences.
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Beyond Language Learning Feb 24
One of the most frustrating myths about language learning. I think it's helped produce a world where too often adults get many opportunities to study, practice, and learn about languages, but few opportunities for optimal comprehensible input & interaction in them at their level.
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Beyond Language Learning Feb 24
Replying to @fluentlanguage
That children just pick up languages "like sponges" and adults simply can't. By putting the focus on age rather than approach or environment, this idea can harm both children & adults by ignoring the need for optimal language acquisition environments & opportunities for all ages.
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Beyond Language Learning Feb 24
Replying to @fluentlanguage
That adults can't acquire or pick up a language much like children do, and they must mainly learn it through conscious study and practice. It's frustrating because it's probably prevented more & better opportunities from being created that would help adults to pick up languages!
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Beyond Language Learning Feb 23
Some ways that I would get comprehensible input to acquire a language, if I had unlimited funds:
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Beyond Language Learning Feb 22
Replying to @fluentlanguage
7. More modestly, for target-language materials that I want to read but are still too advanced for me, have them simplified with elaboration and repetition to make them more comprehensible, illustrated, and recorded by the most mellifluous voiceover artists of my target language.
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Beyond Language Learning Feb 22
Replying to @fluentlanguage
6. Also, hire the top singers and songwriters of my target language to write and record incredibly catchy songs with easy-to-understand lyrics, and hire the best directors to create music videos to make them fully comprehensible and highly memorable.
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Beyond Language Learning Feb 22
Replying to @fluentlanguage
5. If money is no object, commission feature films that I'd like to see that would match any Hollywood (or Bollywood etc.) movie in quality, but they're packed with dialogue and narration in my target language, presented in a way that's completely understandable to me at my level
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Beyond Language Learning Feb 22
Replying to @fluentlanguage
4. Have people create once-in-a-lifetime memorable experiences or "happenings" that are entirely in the target language, in ways that the language heard will be optimally connected to the experience. Some of these happenings might come as a surprise.
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Beyond Language Learning Feb 22
Replying to @fluentlanguage
3. Have people create videos where they talk and teach about topics of interest to me in the target language, using non-verbal tools like drawings and other visuals along with meaningful repetition of language and editing to make the language maximally comprehensible at my level.
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Beyond Language Learning Feb 22
Replying to @fluentlanguage
2. Hire people to tutor me in skills that I'm interested in learning, such as dance, martial arts, playing an instrument, cooking, etc., with them teaching entirely in my target language using non-verbal communication to make the teaching fully understandable to me.
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Beyond Language Learning Feb 22
Replying to @fluentlanguage
1. Hire an entourage of speakers of my target language who would accompany me throughout my day and talk in the language in a comprehensible way about what I'm doing, looking at, or experiencing, much as parents speak to young children.
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Beyond Language Learning Feb 19
Replying to @anuforo_love @skrashen
Yes has indeed written about this kind of thing. See for example his paper "Down with Forced Speech" on his site:
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Beyond Language Learning Feb 16
For example, free TV channels of comprehensible English that include programs on Thai culture & other topics of interest to Thais, presented in ways that even beginning English learners can understand what is being said, might have a significant impact and be very cost-effective.
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Beyond Language Learning Feb 16
I also think movies would be too difficult for many learners esp. considering the linguistic distance between Thai & English. What I think could be helpful is English media that's made to be both very interesting & understandable to learners using lots of non-verbal communication
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Geoff Jordan Feb 15
How can those of us who oppose the dominant view of ELT, namely, use a cousebook to implement a PPP methodology, best argue our case? How can we best challenge this orthodoxy?
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Beyond Language Learning Feb 11
Replying to @lingosteve
I like listening to my languages while doing other tasks but find it easy to tune out when it's not comprehensible or interesting enough. I think more graded audio on topics of interest will make it easier to learn languages and content at the same time while doing other things.
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Beyond Language Learning Feb 11
One thing you should check out is Kathrin Shechtman's videos of teaching German to beginners using Story Listening:
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