I came across an article on language learning while blog surfing and I am much intrigued by it. It proposes that language learning can be made much more effective through frequent exposure to its sound patterns, even though we may not understand its meaning.
Sadly, listening has not been one of the main focus in the traditional language class. When I was taking beginner Korean classes, the only listening practice that we ever gotten was those short sample converstions that come with the textbook CD. We didn’t even use the radio every lesson. Sometimes we will just repeat line by line after the teacher.
During my Japanese beginner class, the teacher made use of the sample dialogue more often and during breaks, he would play Japanese pop songs (although its the same CD throughout the entire 1 month course!).
I do agree that listening made a huge difference to the efficiency of language learning. I feel ‘more in tune’ with Korean if i keep listening to podcasts, watch dramas and even listen to pop songs. I made it a point to listen frequently to radio broadcasts too.
“Neural tissue required to learn and understand a new language will develop automatically from simple exposure to the language—which is how babies learn their first language,” Dr Sulzberger says.
Besides helping me pick up new vocabulary more readily, I can be more sensitive to how natives actually pronounce the words. It hones my intonation and helps to make my sentences more fluent too.
Everytime I watch Korean dramas, I’m so used to the sound patterns that I feel ‘deluded’ into thinking that I really could understand everything. I can’t really express how I feel, but listening to Korean feels as natural to me as watching Chinese or English dramas. IN TUNE. haha
Frequent listening also helps to compensate for not being able to go directly to the country and immerse yourself in everyday conversation and culture.
On the other hand, I’m not so into the Japanese culture and I don’t watch any dramas too. Perhaps that’s why Japanese still feel very very foreign to me and I’m not so motivated to study it. (I haven’t touch my books for er.. a month? oops)
Oh, here’s the link for the article. click here
How do you guys learn foreign languages? (: Feel free to share!