Nov 8, 2007
I’ve been a big fan of learning languages for awhile now. Did some German and Russian in HS. Some Russian and Bulgarian in college. Messed around with French once when I was a kid. Learned some Jamaican Patois one spring break (much to the amusement of the locals in the villages I was visiting). Plowed through some Pimsleur CDs right before my trip to Japan (I’ll write more about that sometime, the general feeling was that the CDs were worth it).
Here’s a great article on language acquisition. While I’m a bit of a convert to the Pimsleur “no grammar” method, I do like Timothy’s quick teardown technique for languages. Can’t hurt. And if you don’t have the audio resources on hand or find yourself in a situation where language acquisition is unexpectedly required, I think his approach would come in handy.
I’d love to see more on this, particularly if it can be broken down into the fastest possible approach. Acquire expressive independence in a half-hour, say. Obviously you’d still not be a “fluent” speaker. But in what traveling I’ve done it seems to me that people appreciate a good faith effort enough to help you improve and treat you very well.