Learning, to Really Learn a New Language.

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Learning, to Really Learn a New Language.



It could be said, without anyone disputing the fact, that perhaps the act of learning a language is one of the most difficult, time-consuming, exciting, mentally exhausting, embarrassing, and rewarding learning activity there is. Whenever one learns a language, the learner opens a new door into a new world, filled with enumerable cultures, histories, and brimming with opportunities all within the world of that new language. The journey of learning a new language, put simply; is an adventure, and it is an adventure worth taking.

Despite its plethora of rewards, learning a language is never a walk- in the park. It requires investment, not only financially, but even more importantly, the sacrifice of one's precious time. Indeed, learning a new language is a monumental effort, it is no wonder why babies often only learn to speak 2 or 3 years from the day they were born. Yet, even though babies, being just babies, with no form of formal education, orientation, and introduction into their native language, are molded to become masters of their native tongue. 

As wondrous as it is as to how babies learn a language, it is also no surprise as to how they do it. With the baby's parents, grand-parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, friends and loved ones; all constantly around to dote it. Showering the poor thing ceaselessly with; "coos, mamas, papas," and of course "I love you"s. And yet, even though we don’t speak to a baby at a conversational level almost most of the time, they still end up learning from us even when we don't "talk" to them directly; Unconsciously, babies pick up language from us during the idle conversations from the grownups that surround them; through repetition, and even more importantly, from literal comprehension, association and application of language when done with action; like how when mother comes to give milk, and utterances such as: "Time for baby's milk!" and other words and forms of adoration and baby talk shower the little thing. The simple repetition of "milk", "time," and "baby's", and the action of receiving milk then becomes imprinted into the mind of the young sap, and effectively learns the language.

This is then, the often, yet rarely observed and pleasantly surprising time when; we adults can learn a thing or two from children, even more so, toddlers and babies. These young bundles of joy learn through the process of what is called "Comprehensible Input." 

This is the primary gist of the author who wrote the book; "Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition" by Stephen Krashen. In it, he pushed the notion that indeed;
We all effectively learn, or as he prefers to say in reference to effective language learning; "Acquires" a new language whenever we understand the context and the message of the words spoken. 
For example we could teach you that the Japanese word for apple is "ringo". However we could teach you more effectively by allowing you to imagine someone eating an apple, and saying "ringo" while holding the apple, and "o taberu", as the person then proceeds to take a bite out of it. Perhaps at this point, you may already be able to guess that the phrase; "Ringo o Taberu."; "Ringo" being apple, and "taberu" meaning to eat, even without me having to teach you what is what. This short, and simple demonstration of comprehensible learning is but one of the many ways in which an aspiring Japanese-speaker-to-be could use in order to not only learn Japanese, but truly acquire it. Of course there are a myriad of ways to effectively acquire a new language; and sadly, being limited in writing here, an extremely short list would include learning techniques such as; varied repetition, imitation, correlative association and application through conversation, and so much more.

As an observant reader, you might have noticed that I did not mention anything related to memorization during this whole article. I should be the first to tell you that brute, and raw memorization of a new language only blunts your learning progress. After all, has anyone really been seen reading a dictionary or given credit to their success to a phrase-book in order to learn a new tongue? This method would only prove to be detrimental to your experience, and cause discouragement in further learning. As you would have wasted hours upon grueling, slow hours, only to find out that you have only learned so much. 

But perhaps you could also take the time to enroll in our classes here in Jellyfish Education Philippines, after all, we can’t afford to hire a family or go abroad to constantly shower us with all the Japanese that we need daily in order to acquire the language, but we can afford to be in a class with a native Japanese sensei, and that will be more than enough to give you a good running start in the long journey of learning Japanese. With our upcoming September classes starting on the 19th. Anyone can begin learning the wonderfully rich and deep language that is Japanese. If you're interested to learn more about the program, please don't hesitate to reach us.

The take away point in writing this month's article is this simply; immerse yourself beyond the normal and routine limitations of learning. Explore whatever techniques that would force you to comprehensible acquisition, and bathe yourself in worlds and cultures completely alien, and revel in their newness, for only through such experiences, would you only truly be able to learn. 

For after all, if babies can do it, there is no reason, and no excuse that we in turn, cannot.

 

-Christopher Bryan M. Dayak

Jellyfish Education Philippines


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