For Fellow Aspiring Polyglots!
This is a great TEDtalk from someone who went from 0-fluent Chinese in 6 months. Don't worry, although he did live there, the answer isn't "immersion." He gives great, simple concepts that go far beyond formal book learning. It's worth the 18 minutes.
One of his concepts is "brain-soaking" which is just inundating yourself with the language, even if you understand nothing so that your brain hears patterns. He's absolutely correct when he says you're training yourself physiologically, not just stocking up on knowledge/books. Personally I watch people speak for hours on YouTube and it's incredibly helpful with almost 0 effort.
YouTube is one of an aspiring polyglot's best assets! I highly recommend Easy Language's videos, and for you German learners out there I also recommend Deutsch Für Euch. :D
S-g, I LOVE the Easy Language website, it is fantastic, and such a big help for anyone who does not have people around them who speak the language you are learning...it feels like "on the street with the native speakers" immersion and I get so much out of just watching and listening to the speech. I also like that the videos show the target language in subtitles as well...so if I want to pause and take a look at the written version of what someone just said, I can study that before going on. Great site!
If you want to learn Albanian I can be your language parent. I've already applied the suggestions given in this TEDtalk and let me say they're impressing.
Never gave much thought to Albanian. Is it Slavic?
How have you applied the suggestions from the video into your learning experience? I'm interested :)
It forms its own branch. I am playing the role of a language parent for a couple of people and I can see that they're learning faster than in cases where I've taught them Albanian by correcting their mistakes.
I don't understand that. I would want to be corrected so I don't make mistakes repeatedly.
If you watch the video you'll notice he doesn't claim that he got to native level (the "level" part is kind of important, as far as I know it's commonly regarded as impossible to acquire an L1 beyond a certain period in your childhood) Mandarin in six months. He says he became "fluent" in that amount of time, and that it took him "a little longer" to reach native level. Both of these terms ("fluent" and "a little longer") aren't very specific; and reaching conversational fluency in six months isn't too outrageous when you realise that foreign students planing to study at Chinese universities usually reach something equivalent to B2 or C1 in a year (and as far as I know this is the case for many other countries and languages as well). I also think that surrounding yourself with a language and trying to take part in these surroundings is what most people actually mean when they say "immersion" (at least that's how I have always understood the term), because obviously just living in a country won't help you learn the local languages if you never even try to learn them. It's also not a particularly new insight that the amount of time you spent doing something actively (in this case, using a language, or more precisely hearing, reading, writing and speaking it, all while understanding what you are doing) corresponds to how good you are at it. So he isn't really saying anything new or ground-breaking (nor does he seem to claim so, but he sells it well).
This is amazing. Whenever I hear another language besides English, I have such a hard time making out words if they are in a lower volume. I have to turn the tv all the way up to hear what they are saying. This totally explains why, my brain is filtering out the sounds because I am unused to hearing them. I am so ready to improve this now. :)
Can you tell me where I can listen to IGBO tapes? I've just gotta learn IGBO!