There Could Be Better Ways for Starting to Learn Foreign Languages
As a Chinese who grew up in central China, to be sincere, I have been suffering a lot from learning Indo-European languages such as English and German. As a matter of fact, Chinese (Mandarin) is very much an analytic language which lacks inflectional morphology almost entirely, and most words consist of either one- or two-syllable morphemes, especially two due to the very numerous compound words. (source: Wikipedia) And in Chinese, words don't usually change in forms to express different time points or periods (past, now and future), different numbers (singular and plural), different cases (German - Nominative, Akkusativ, Dativ und Genitiv), i.e., words generally don't change.
However, the words of synthetic languages, especially, inflection languages change according to different position or function in sentence.
With the habit of thinking developed to be considering no change to words at first when speaking, I personally make many mistakes when I talk under pressure.
Therefore, I have been always searching for better ways to learn foreign languages. I have read the language learning theories published by https://www.natural-language-system.com/ and also books such as Absolutely DO NOT Study English / 英語は絶対、勉強するな！ / 千万别学英语 (original Korean version published by CHON Chan Yon / 鄭讚容 / 郑赞容). The one common thing that I got is that in contrast to the conventional theoretical methods of learning foreign languages by following well structured textbooks, starting with the sound of language could possibly result in better outcomes if the target is to talk in foreign languages but rather reading materials written in foreign languages.
In short, learning by listening and imitating, or sound first and text later or never.
What are the Options?
With the convenience and rich resource provided by and on the Internet, there are a lot of media online which are great for language learning. However, not all of them are suitable to be adopted.
Only selected and well prepared materials can be utilized to help language learning.
The sound of language can come out of movies, TV series, songs, speeches, talks and a lot more. However, the main purpose of the production of these mentioned resources are not meant to be used as materials for language learning although they indeed contain the sound of languages.
Out of the above mentioned sound sources, I personally think popular sitcom videos can be really good materials for language learning.
Some of the reasons are as following:
- popular sitcom videos are of much fun, which would make the learning process much fun
- popular sitcom videos usually are associated with subtitles, which are the corresponding to the sound
- popular sitcom videos usually cover the most common topics which happen in daily life every now and then, which also means the topic and vocabulary used in the videos are essential for daily communication
For learning English, out of the sitcom videos, in my opinion, Friends could be one great series for learning.
One demo I made for using Friends S01E01 (Anki Deck) + Qia Web Viewer for learning English is shown as the following video on YouTube.
* cached version, generated at 2020-06-28 12:16:37 UTC.
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