The next Rosetta Stone

Almost all of us know that name. Even people who aren’t learning or have yet to learn a foreign language have likely heard of it. *sigh*The power of marketing and mind control. But this is not the place for that speech, at least not yet.

I’ve disappeared for awhile, because I’m working on the prototype of what I intend to be the next step in language learning software. As a consequence I haven’t had time to write anything of substance. So for now I’ll just make the overly confident statement claiming to have a method that will replace the current mainstream marketed language learning methods. As things progress I’ll be looking for testers, aka people who would like to learn another language for free, more or less. Also, if you’re awesome and would like to be a collaborator, let’s talk.

Now, I should clarify some things. I don’t think I’m all that special of a human being, also I’m not claiming that this software/language learning program will be the only thing someone needs to become fluent in a language, nor am I saying that what’s out there, (Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone to name the two most heard of,) isn’t useful or that it doesn’t produce results. They’re both good, as well as many others, well, I say many others, but I mean, many others exist in varying degrees of usefulness. However, there is one in particular, LingQ(http://www.lingq.com ) that I can’t say is on the incredibly mainstream media circuit, although it certainly deserves to be as it’s possibly one of the best tools out there for improving and learning languages, so if you haven’t checked that one out or heard of it, I highly recommend doing so. It may save your life. You know, you’re being a dorky language learner human life.

But, I am claiming that what I’m working on will have the potential to replace something like Rosetta Stone. And not because it shares any similarities. I think we’ve all had quite enough of, “The ball is red,” or “The child eats the bike,”… maybe that last one’s a bit off, or maybe it’s an improvement. I still think that those of us who have tons of free time and perseverance will almost always be better off making our own self tailored language learning course. But what I’m working on is geared towards:

A.) Giving the people who don’t have the time to learn another language, well, the time to learn another language. As well as some great tools with which to do it.

H.) Helping those self-learners.

and 3.) Having potential classroom application. Since the education system in this country and many other’s could really use a fresh set of eyes.

Anyway, that’s all for now. More to come soon! ^_^

 

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The more than one “Exponential” secret (hypothesis)

The initial 1-6 months of language learning is slow and brimming  with days, sometimes several in succession, where I feel that I am making no or marginal progress or I’m frustrated with my own lack of comprehension and ability to output, recall or retain. But I keep at it. Because a little bit every day is better than a lot once a week.

(Partially tangential parenthesis attack!)(Study everyday. Even if it’s only for 10 or fewer minutes, study. Even if it can only be a disrupted series of 30 second stints, accumulating to 10 minutes. You must do it. Every day. Okay so the world won’t end if you miss a day, but if you’re at all like me and you miss one day, you’re 50 percent more likely to miss a second and by the third day you’re 75 percent more likely to miss again ad infinity. Or however you write fanciful superfluous terms.The point is study often and regularly. Whatever method you use, if you’re only doing 30 minutes a week, you’re doing it wrong.)

Eventually after all that…

A day happens, where I’m able to express myself, in more than one sentence. It may not be perfectly grammatical, but it is understandable and I too am receivable, in that I’m able to receive corrections and input and make sense of it all. This is the turning point. Where I feel the beginning of fluency strings. (“Fluency strings” is an abstract neurological/physiological sensation that happens to me when I start being excited to express my views in a foreign language and listen to what people have to say in response.)

It’s generally from this point on that actual fluency comes very rapidly, as though all the previous time I’ve just been storing and analyzing and I’m finally ready to perform. Yes, I probably should have made this about memorizing lines and practicing a series of scenes over and over to build up the performance aspect, in lieu of talking about storing and analyzing but I can always do things backwards so long as I know what I’m doing after the fact. That’s right. Isn’t it?

The secret is, once you reach a certain place in your study/learning, your rate of learning increases significantly. I even dare say, exponentially from that point on. Because instead of having to translate into your native language or any other language with which you’re already acquainted(as I know some of us like studying a foreign language vis à vis another foreign language,) you can start translating into the language you’re learning and from there, comfort and habitude happens and before long fluency runs rampant.

What do I mean, translating into the language you’re learning?

I mean, you can listen to more complicated conversations and break it down into simpler terms that you already know, or better yet, reword it. There are so many different ways to say the same thing. Some see this as a problem, but it is most definitely a bonus. Maybe you’re not familiar with the japanese word 学ぶ but you are with the word 習う  or 勉強する. Although each of these may have their own nuances and collocations, the fact that you can hear one and recognize it and realize that it more or less has the same meaning as something else, or in this case, two other things else that you already know, you’re expanding into the language. Deepening your roots. Understanding the part, if you’re looking at it as a role in a play.

Of course that is a fairly simple example of how this can take place. It can and most likely will happen with more than individual words, when you rearrange entire sentences, perhaps changing the voice from active to passive. Whatever it may be, when you get to this point of being able to say and receive more than one thing in your target language–let me specify–more than one involved/critical thing,(meaning you’re not asking about the weather and the time of day), then you’ve reached a critical point. A point where you have the potential for exponential growth in your new language. This is also a point where at least for me, vocabulary starts becoming much easier, because I’m able to use new words in context and sometimes a variety of contexts.

Anyway, that is all the partially coherent thought I have to offer this evening. Grazie Mille. Please let me know if this happens to you, or if I make any sort of sense ever.

What’s a Polyglod?

So you may not even know what a polyglot is and here I am, giving you this word that’s nearly identical and very likely Google is banging on your door asking you if you meant to type polyglot instead of polyglod. So to clear up any future, present, past, omnispace time continuum confusion, I’ll introduce Polyglod.

Polyglod is my child. It may  grow into something worthwhile, useful, remarkable, or all three. Or, it may die terribly and alone on the plains of the Internetara Desert. (But corny jokes will live on!)

Polyglod is the future space where all language enthusiasts, dreamers and doubters can come to speak honestly and inquire strangely about language. It is an imaginary internet brain place/space that, through its articles and the voices of its people will hopefully give rise to a new term, it’s namesake: Polyglods or speakers of multiple languages who take it upon themselves to create a better community of language learning, connection, intelligence and genuine human being-ness, all aiming towards improving our ability as a species to communicate freely with one another, because there are too many problems in this world and a lot of them would be fixed if we tilted our heads to one side for like thirty seconds, to realize that different people think and see the world differently.

So this place is about coming together and sharing. Whether you speak 400 million million languages or just one. You’re welcome here. Whether you hate me for my anarchic writing style that teeters on dorky, or you think what I say in electronic word images is swell, you too are welcomb.

But you’ll have to get used to words that are either made up or misused intentionally. Sentences that end where other’s should begin or not at all. Because this, although you may think it trite and immature or all of the above and beyond, is how language evolves: play.

 Play is where and how we really learn and develop. You may call it something else, but I choose the arbitrary english word, play. For me it’s about testing limits. If you’re too serious about testing your limits then you’ll never arrive at anything worthwhile, because you’re likely to spend all of your time fretting over what goes where and who know’s what and how many is the sum of two and four and so on and so forth.

So join me language learners and burners. Haters and lovers of society. Poets. Despots. Maybe even cats, (they seem to have a really strong internet presence nowadays.)

Let’s make the language a better place to learn the world and each other! (and stop being such hatey dooshfulls of bottleknobs!)

((I apologize if any Bottleknobs  were offended by the previous statement. They were merely referenced as a point of 最初(beginning) to the descriptors of hatey and dooshfulls.))

 

LEARN TO SPEAK ANOTHER LANGUAGE OR (BUY A AWESOME NEW HAT)

It’s a bit cheesy, I know, but I’m going with it because I’m improvising.

In fact, one of the most useful tools in learning a language is improvising. That’s not to say, you shouldn’t ever study, but that is to say to not give up easily the moment you feel completely lost. Which at first, is frequent.

Right now, I’m one voice out of many, many–(so many, many’s)– polyglots, most of whom are probably a lot further along in their abilities and personal language libraries than I am. However, one must begin somewhere and so I begin here, at the beginning.

If you’re looking for academic writing and technical, widely accepted use of the English language, this is not the space. Language is not a stagnant old rotting grandmother to be tucked away in a retirement home– it’s a living beast. It’s carnal. It’s dynamic. It’s sexy.

This first post is more of an introduction and a greeting. To the world of people, (especially Americans) who are tired of being the only people at a party who can’t speak a second language, hello, from backwards greeting land!

If you’re not interested in learning a second language or don’t think you have the time to, then you’re who I’m chasing after. I’m here to convince you that you really want this, that you really need to pick up this awesome new hat. (Well not really) I failed out of salesman school because I refused to lie and give strangers blow jobs. (Not that I’m against giving, it’s just got to be the right person, you know?)

Anyway. Learning a language is as easy to start as buying a ridiculous hat. You don’t debate with yourself the pros and cons of whether or not that hat will benefit you or how long until it gets blown away by the inevitable winds of Time and mortality, or the sun roof of your car–you just buy it because it’s fun and you like it.

It doesn’t have to be a ridiculous hat. Maybe you like fun socks, or overalls, or both, (god help you); whatever it is that you buy at random because you like it, that’s how language learning should start.

That’s to say, don’t tell yourself that you should be learning Spanish because it might help you get a job, if you want to learn Swahili because it sounds cool. Do it. You’ll have fun and meet great people wherever you go. Unless. Unless, you have a time machine and use it to go back and learn German from the Nazis then, perhaps you may not meet great people. But I’m not judging. Greatness, like good and evil and kinky and vanilla are all subjective. But I die grass. Yes that’s a cheesy intentional typo. Because in truth language is a ridiculous nonsensical thing that is fun to play with. So play. Learn a language and butcher it, and maybe even go on to becoming a master butcher.

That’s all I’ve got for now. This ought to serve as a good introduction to someone who’s bringing the weird and hopefully the fun back to not being trapped in one hat for the rest of our short wonderful little lives.

Step 1: Buying an awesome hat

Step 1: Buy an awesome hat