Some people have a natural talent for learning languages whilst for others it can be a task that’s much harder to grasp.
Without a flair for foreign fluency, you can become tongue-tied, confused and end up deflated. So what hope is there for the not so linguistically gifted to learn a foreign language?
One recommended method is to simply listen to the language, to learn the sentences almost by parrot fashion without questioning why it’s structured that way, how to distinguish between the tenses, or what each individual word means.
People have a tendency to need to understand the meaning or spelling of something before they say it, or to see it in the written form, otherwise they don’t feel that they have learned it correctly. But if they just listen to the phrases and repeat them, they’ll actually find that they pick up the language very quickly.
How can I learn in this way?
My learning speed increased drastically after I graduated from the school system.
- Read chapter 5.
- Do exercises 14-24b
- Memorise vocabulary for tomorrow’s test
- Write book summary
That’s roughly how my homework to-do list looked like when I went to secondary school in the nineties. At the time, I thought my responsibility was to follow the instructions of my teacher and go through the book step by step.
Of course, I knew that I was learning “for my own future”. I had some say in what subjects to read, but most of the time, learning was done along the lines the teacher set out for me.
It was learning from the inside-out. The curriculum set out what I needed to learn, and I was given bite-size pieces of knowledge to digest and demonstrate I mastered them.
Compare that to my life now, and it’s the opposite. I learn from the outside-in.
There is no such thing as one ‘Chinese language’, in fact, Chinese is a collective noun for several dialects or regionalects, with Mandarin being the official standard language in China.
So what about Mandarin?
What do Chinese characters consist of? How are they ‘built’? And how to write them?
Some time in 2004, I picked up a copy from Teach Yourself at a Popular bookstore. The book and audio CD were my first introduction to Mandarin.
So you can imagine how delighted I was when Pansing, Singapore’s distributor for Teach Yourself, contacted me.
They have kindly provided a free copy of Teach Yourself Complete Mandarin Chinese which is for Yago to give away!
Would you like to get the book? All you need to do is like our Facebook page (which you can do in the widget below). You can also increase your chances by tweeting about the giveaway or following Yago on Twitter.
So charge ahead! And who knows you’ll be holding the box with a full-color book and 2 CD’s in your hands next week!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
In last week’s post, I shared how the first 3 Habits of Highly Effective People from Franklin Covey could be applied to language learning. I’ve now finished the book up to habit # 7, and in this blog post, I’ll cover the last 4 habits.
Part 2 should be even more exciting. In part 1, I covered the habits that are “private victories” – things you need to master within yourself first, before you can be successful in your interaction with others.
And language learning is all about interacting with others. So let’s get started with habit 4-7!
Habit 4: Think win/win
With thanks to Teach Yourself for allowing us to publish from their materials
When you start a company, the number of things to learn is simply overwhelming. And there isn’t much time. I’ve become the library’s best friend and it times I would just borrow a “How-to” book and apply what it teaches pretty much immediately.
But is it possible to learn a foreign language from a book or audio book only?
I’ve done it. I’ve made a start with learning Mandarin using a book from the “Teach Yourself” series. Come to think of it, my wife and I have used “Teach Yourself Dutch” to help her learn Dutch.
It it the ideal way of learning? Read more
A couple of days ago, I’ve started reading “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. It’s completely different from what I had expected.
I thought the book was about hacks and tricks to perform daily tasks more efficiently. Turns out it’s a complete philosophy which starts with your character and integrity, how you set your life priorities, and how you relate to others. There is a lot of wisdom in it.
And I realize that the wise lessons apply to language learning as well. So here are the 7 habits of highly effective language learners:
Habit 1: Be Proactive
Of course, there are more modern ways of learning Chinese
Is there a secret formula for learning Chinese? I think what comes closest to a guaranteed path to success is focusing on the actions you take on a day-to-day basis.
Find a mix of activities that you can sustain long term. In the best period of my (part-time) Chinese learning, I spent an average of at least an hour a day on classes and homework. Every week. For two years.
Should I tell you exactly how I did it? I don’t think that would be very helpful, because what worked to keep me going and engaged, might not work for you.
So you’ll have to figure out your own secret formula. Language learning activities are the “ingredients” to any secret recipe. Here are four ways to learn Chinese in Singapore, and four that will work anywhere, for you to experiment with!
, Language schools
, Learning methods
, Self Learning
/ Tags: Chinese
, language learning
, learn chinese online
, learning chinese
, learning methods
When I visit any language school, it always strikes me that the number of people taking beginner classes overwhelms the intermediate and advanced students greatly.
Most students give up after the first or second run of lessons. They give up because it’s harder than expected.
If you take classes for only a few hours a week, it can take years before you can have a meaningful conversation.
That doesn’t mean you are not meant to learn languages. It means that learning a language is hard. Not hard intellectually, but psychologically. Lots of people give up, simply because they don’t see results after a couple of weeks.
Learning a language is not something that can be done in one sprint. You’ll need a strategy to make it through the marathon. Anything that can keep you in the race is a winner. Here are some strategies to keep yourself in the language learning race.
There is more to learning English than going to regular class and absorbing what the teacher says. Do you want to get started with English self study? Here are some methods you can use.
Ways to self study English online.
The internet is one big pot of references for you. Google should be your best friend. Google anything!
Other useful websites have different learning modes and structures, but they all give you the chance to learn English on your own pace and style preference.
, Self Learning
/ Tags: conversation
, english learning
, English Self Study
, Language Education
, Learn English
, Learning English
, online learning
, self learning
, Self Study
, Self Study English
, Self Study Online
, Study English Online