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"This way of learning a language made complete sense to me. Working with the SpeakEZ German course, I was able to understand more in 2 weeks than in five years of German in school!"
      -- Asbjørn Finsnes

"The way in which this method is presented provided me with language that will suit me in a foreign country instead of a collection of unusable vocabulary words.

Those who have studied languages realize that looking-up individual words cannot convey a language in the correct manner. Becoming fluent means being able to verbalize ideas ; not learning technical rules and identifying the Past Predicate Indicative.

The audio part of this method has been my favorite portion of the learning process. Not only is the pronunciation slow and clear, but it is presented so that I remember the flow of sentences and concepts.

Thank you for the opportunity to work with this amazing program; it has been a blessing for me."

-- Destiny Yarbro, College Student

What You Can Learn From A Two-Year-Old Learning A Language

by Nathalie Fairbanks

As I'm reading the "Bunny Book" (really "Petit Lapin Blanc Fête Son Anniversaire," a story of a white bunny celebrating his birthday with friends) to my little daughter Catherine for the 17th time today, something occurs to me, as I'm refraining from cringing.

Smart little girl! She knows what she needs to learn French. She needs to hear the same story over and over until she can retell it herself, word for word! And she also knows that sitting on mommy's lap and having me read it to her 17 (or more!) times a day will be the way to get there.

Do YOU get the same story read to you in your new foreign language every day? If not, you should! (I'll tell you how in a second.)

The more I observe how my almost two-year-old absorbs and retains new words and phrases, the more I realize why most adult language learners have such a hard time becoming fluent. Picture us sitting on the couch. As I'm reading about Daddy Rabbit bringing in the birthday cake with the candles, I'm pointing to the different objects in the picture. Baby links what she's hearing to what she's seeing--easy!

Many language learning books for adults also have pictures (just nobody pointing)! Yes, that's a way to learn, but why would you want to be treated like a baby?

As an adult, you already have the advantage of having a mental picture for each word in your native language stored in your head. Why not make use of the mental dictionary you worked so hard to learn as a little child?

There's an easy way to do this. It's called Active Listening.

Take the French example from the "Bunny Book" (this works for any language, of course).

"Papa arrive avec le gâteau et des bougies qui lancent des étincelles."

Seeing the sentence like this, you'd indeed need someone to point to the pictures for you. Since you don't have pictures, look at this next:

Papa arrive avec le gâteau et des bougies qui lancent des étincelles.
Daddy arrives with the cake and xx candles that throw xx sparkles.

Here, the text is "decoded" for you, translated word by word, and you can refer to the pictures in your head of a cake, candles, Daddy coming into the room, etc.

Now add another resource. Have someone record the French text for you so you can listen to it WHILE you read the English text under each word. As you do this, the sound of the French words sticks to the images of these words in your head. Listen to it 17 or more times a day and--voilà, you understand French!

Even though you may not have a mommy around who knows your new foreign language, you can easily replace her with a little ingenuity and technology (minus the cuddling).

Brilliant, isn't it? It's part of Vera Birkenbihl's Approach to language learning. Use it to your best advantage!

© 2009 Nathalie V. Fairbanks

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