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-- Asbjørn Finsnes
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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
Press "Play" Everyday! Get
Exposure to a Foreign Language
by Nathalie V. Fairbanks
How hard can it be to
press the "Play" button?
Really hard, it turns out!
Like many of the small things we're supposed to do to improve ourselves, this is
an easy action that you can do every day that will have a huge impact on your
"Passive Listening" is just about the least involvement that I
can ask of a student. Press the "Play" button and go about your business. Yet I
know that many of you who've been studying language for any length of time know
this... but don't do it.
As any self-improvement guru will tell you:
"To know and not to do is not yet to know." (Zen proverb)
I'll take care of the "to know" part below and leave the "to
do" part up to you.
First - why are you doing this again?
Passive Listening is like spending time in the country where
people speak your new language. You hear it all around you, and your
subconscious gets to "record" the pronunciation and rhythm of the language
without any effort on your part. I can always tell which one of my students does
it consistently, as their pronunciation just sounds "right" and they intuitively
pick the phrasing of a native speaker.
It may take some organization beforehand, but once your system
is in place, it's really all about the "Play" button.
Let's reiterate the parameters for "Passive Listening."
1. Ideally, you pick a lesson text that you've already worked
on. You understand everything when you read it.
2. Repetition is the key. You want to listen to the SAME lesson
for periods of two hours at a time, until you "get" everything that's said
3. The whole track needs to be in your new language. Don't use
audio tracks of a language course that has instructions in English, or any kind
of translation back to English. The switching back and forth is
If you are working with CD's that mix the languages, invest the time to delete
the instructions on the recording so you only listen to the foreign language,
for example, Spanish. Take a couple of hours and do this for all the lessons in
one swoop. It's worth the trouble!
4. If you have an MP3 Player (such as an iPod), turn your audio
CD into MP3 files so you have them with you on the go. If you don't know how to
do this, you can go to the
website to find out more. I'm not a techie and my husband helped me figure it
5. Remember that you are NOT supposed to pay attention to what
you're hearing. The exercise is to have the audio run in the background while
you're focusing on something else. You can turn down the volume, so you can
barely hear it. The idea is that your subconscious picks up the "signal"
regardless and it'll do the work for you.
6. Go to your appointment book or PDA and decide on a time when
you'll passively listen to these tracks.
Here are a few suggestions. Passively listen:
a. During your morning "get ready" ritual, while you're in the
shower, getting dressed, etc. You can even play music or listen to the radio at
the same time, it'll be just as effective.
b. During your commute, whether in the car, on a train or
walking. This is often a time when you're not "productive" anyway.
c. While you are exercising. If you don't exercise, get
started! You'll kill two birds with one stone.
d. While you are preparing meals and cleaning up the kitchen.
Again, you can still listen to the radio or have a conversation at the same
time. The volume will be so low that it won't interfere.
e. While you are watching TV. If you're into mindless shows,
you'll feel less guilty if you know you're perfecting your language skills while
you relax in front of the tube!
f. While browsing the internet. This is one of these activities
that tends to eat up a lot of time - why not parallel process and get some
Yes, you might find a problem (otherwise known as an excuse) with any or all of
these times. Either find a time slot that works better for you or pick one of
the above. Commit to dramatically improve your language skills and choose the
one that's least inconvenient.
I challenge you to take a red pen and write PLAY into your
calendar at a specific time each day you'll practice Passive Listening. Do this
for the next 90 days.
By then, it'll be a habit and you'll be understanding just about anything
anybody says to you. I promise this won't be a waste of time. Actually, you
won't even notice it because you'll be busy doing whatever else you're doing.
Master your language the smart way and "Press Play Every Day!"
© 2008 Nathalie V. Fairbanks
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