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Jul 14

Guiding Principles of our Approach and Method

By SoundFluent | Uncategorized

Guiding principles of the Sound Fluent Method

  • Your brain is perfectly equipped to learn a language – even as an adult – as long as you use the right methods. The key is understanding that the brain is equipped to process real language – listen, understand, think and speak – at lightning speed.  Memorising grammar rules and lists of vocabulary out of context don’t optimise your brain’s natural language processing ability.

 

  • Language is social. It is meant to be used as a tool to communicate with others.  Skill with a tool means practice using that tool, not endlessly analysing it.  Learn to use the language for the purpose it evolved for – communicating with others – rather than as a set of rules and facts to be memorised, and the brain will respond.

 

  • Language is primarily speaking and listening – reading and writing came much later in our evolution, and while they are excellent adjuncts to language learning, especially at the higher stages, they are not an effective way to learn to SPEAK a language

 

  • Speak from the start – following a perfect model, gradually you learn to form your own sentences – nourished with the resource of a memory bank full of correct, real spoken phrases

 

  • Use English to explain what words and phrases mean, for much faster progress. We use stereo sound in the 2 languages, connecting the meaning in English with the sound in the language you are learning, so you can understand what you learn, and use the language you already know to help you learn a new language faster

 

Jun 03

The 3 essentials for successful language learning

By SoundFluent | Uncategorized

Learning a language can seem complicated, even overwhelming at times.  There are so many methods, so many thigns you could be dong with your time.  Where should you start?  Should you focus on grammar, vocabulary or maybe pronunciation?

You can simplify things a little by focusing on what we call the 3 pillars of successful language learning.  Think of them as a solid structure to give good returns on your efforts.

  1. Learn phrases and words that you will actually use, and learn them well enough that you can use them straight away
  2. Good quality input.  Lots of it – the more the better.  Listen, listen, and listen some more.  Train you ear.  Watch movies, or watch TV.  Read, especially if you can find something to read on a subject you find interesting and already know something about
  3. Practice.  Get out and talk to people.  Practice might not make perfect straight away, but it certainly make for real progress every time you do it.

Any of these 3 pillars on their own will help you learn a language.  All three done together will accelerate your progress massively, giving you maximum return for your efforts.

 

May 26

Motivation in language learning

By SoundFluent | Motivation

I’m sure you already know how important motivation is in reaching your goal of learning a new language.

Motivation is what pushes you to start learning, and continue.  While it is easy to stay motivated at the start, it can be harder to keep you motivation up.  Successful language learning requires consistent effort, and that can be hard to keep up once the initial excitement wears off.

 

So what does it take to stay motivated?

 

There are two essential elements to motivation – having a goal and experiencing progress towards your goal.

 

Basically you’ve got to know where you’re trying to get to, and you’ve got to feel confident that you are going to get there.  How can you feel confident about reaching your goal?  You need the right roadmap to get there, the right tools whether that means a teacher or a method.

 

Know your why

First, ask yourself exactly why you want to learn this language at this time

So you really want to learn a language.   Why?  Write down the answer.  How will your life be different once you can speak this language? What will you do?  Where will you go?  Who will you meet?  What will you experience?  What will you learn?

If the answer is that you don’t know why you want to learn a language, you just really do, that’s a great reason.  Being motivated to do something for its own sake- called intrinsic motivation – is one of the most powerful motivations that there is.

 

 

Make real progress

Nothing is worse for motivation than investing time, money and effort in something and seeing zero return.  It is vital that the method you choose not only works, but that you can experience it working.  Do you understand a bit more all the time?  Are you able to communicate better?  Making progress and knowing that you are making progress is the best motivation for keeping going.

 

There is an addictive sense of accomplishment when something has been learned completely.  It is its own reward, and the progress you make will motivate you to continue to an even greater level of fluency and competence.  This is genuine, deep motivation.  If real progress is being made with each lesson there is no need to ‘hack’ motivation by making learning into a game.  Your progress becomes its own reward.  The more visible the results of your progress, the more motivated you will be.  This is why we encourage you to speak to people and use the language you have learnt right from the start.

 

Feeling confident that your efforts will pay off

You need to know that your investment of time and effort in language learning will pay off.  The best way to do this is to choose the right method for you.  By choosing a sound method you know that you are giving yourself every chance of success.  By following in the footsteps of others who have successfully learned a language you can be confident that you will too.  A realistic expectation that you will achieve your goal is an important motivator.

 

 

Just jump in and do it.

Language is like anything else.  You get better at it by doing it.  There will never be a better time than now, so do it, start today, and do some every day.  Soon you will be able to hold conversation in your new language, and that is the most motivating thing of all.

 

 

At Sound Fluent we know from our own experience just how important it is to keep motivation going, and how hard it can be to be consistent with language learning.  Our method is designed with this in mind.

  • You make real progress each lesson. Nothing is more motivating than the feeling of progressing with each lesson.
  • Long-term results. Real life means that you can’t always devote as much time to language learning as you like.  With Sound Fluent you build long-term memories with each lesson, so you can quickly ‘refresh’ what you have learnt, even after a break of months.  This means that no learning time has been wasted, and you can quickly progress to new material.
  • You learn language you can use. You will be learning the most practical, often-needed words and phrases right from the first lesson.  We encourage you to practice speaking with others right from the start.  It is great for motivation to find that you can have real conversations with native speakers, and be able to say more each day.

 

May 25

Why is repetition so important in learning a language?

By SoundFluent | Language acquisition

What can children’s love for bedtime stories teach us about acquiring a language to fluency ?

http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/parenting/parents-urged-to-repeat-stories-2548790.html

“It may be boring for parents, but reading the same book over and over again to children is the best way to develop their vocabulary”

Tweet reactions

@blangblog @soundfluent Probably because fluency is more or less being able 2repeat the right stuff in the right order @ the right time w/o thinking?

@SimpleSongs // Pattern recognition.

@Landorien http://landorien.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/instinctive-srs/ instinctive srs

So children know instinctively that they need repetition

Adults also need repetition. But, they are at a disadvantage compared to children in getting the repetition that they need

Children aren’t embarrassed to ask the meaning of a word again as many times as they need to. Adults are.

People don’t feel patronising if they use lots of repetition when speaking to children. But they won’t use as much repetition when speaking to adults. It would feel patronising or just plain weird. We just don’t do it.

I know from my own experience that I feel OK asking someone to repeat something once. I feel uncomfortable asking them to repeat twice. I hate to ask them to repeat three times. I will only do it if I really have to. Beyond this, I don’t ask any more. I’ve never gone beyond three times.

Now contrast this with my listening. I know that

Contrast this to reading a favourite book to a child. Three times doesn’t seem like much. How about 10 times, or 100 times? Why not, as long as the child is enjoying it.

Part of the problem I think is that as adult learners we tend to reject anything childlike as “childish”. We think it isn’t serious.

Is repetition boring?

Another problem is the role of the teacher (formal or not). The teacher feels embarrassed by repeating too much. And yet the experience I have heard from second language teachers is that adults will tend to ask for more repetition.

A good rule of thumb might be this: repeat something enough times that if it were in your native language it would be far beyond mind-numbingly boring. Where does this mind-numbing boredom come from? The fact that in your native language you already have this pattern so firmly established that at first hearing you have identified it. Why isn’t it boring in your new language? Because you don’t have the pattern yet. You are creating the pattern. Repetition is essential to create these patterns.

Pattern creation happens in several stages. At first the patterns formed are a bit fuzzy, then gradually, slowly but surely, they take shape and become more and more specific.

There is no critical period. There is just a time when people are willing to repeat themselves.

The amount of repetition it takes to learn something new is manageable, but it’s much more than most people would tend to do. Why is this?

1. We confuse ‘knowing’ something with acquiring it. Acquired language is automatic language. When we have really learnt the meaning of a word, for example, we don’t have to search your memory for the meaning. You just know what it means. It is possible to memorise a fact more quickly, but this is of limited value in language learning. We tend to ‘tick off’ things learnt too quickly. The knowledge that we ‘have already covered that’ is not a good substitute for real acquisition through experience.
2. We want to learn quickly. Both because you are in a hurry to learn, and because the sense of learning quickly gives a sense of competence. People like to feel competent. No-one wants to feel like a ‘slow’ learner. There is a pride that comes from learning quickly. The ego objects to repeating something 50 times.
3. It takes time for the results to show.
4. It needs to occur to you to do it. Why would someone listen 50 times to the same material? You need to have a good reason to do it. There are good reasons

Why repetition is so, so, so (haha) important:

1. By repeated listening, your brain is building up new neural pathways
2. By repeated listening, you are getting the correct template in your head
3. Each repetition is an experience, and we acquire language through repeated experience, not memorising facts

So repetition is a winner for learning languages fast and easily. Experience the power of repetition with Sound Fluent language builder.