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    The Three Secrets of Language Learning

    The Three Secrets of Language Learning
    March 14, 2013
    Brent Van Arsdell

    There are three secrets for learning a foreign language.  Most language students don’t know these secrets and only a few of the best language teachers know them.

    When you learn and apply these secrets your language learning will be faster and more fun.

    1.  Get Your Emotions Right

    Think for a minute.  What’s the best and strongest emotion you ever had in your life?

    Maybe it was your first kiss, or your first love or some great accomplishment of yours.  Whatever it was, it’s fun to think about it again isn’t it?

    Now imagine some new learning technique that helped you learn something you really wanted to learn, while feeling almost as good as your strongest good emotion in your life?

    Do you think you might actually be able to come back and do it again tomorrow if it felt that good?  Of course you would.

    Now imagine that you are in a high school French class from a few years ago and the teacher is telling you, “Learn these French verbs or I’ll smack your hands with my ruler.”  Do you think you would want to come back and do it again tomorrow?  Of course you wouldn’t.

    It’s almost impossible to become really good at something you hate doing.

    It’s an unexpected fact of education, that if you use the world worst educational methods, and if you dive into them with great enthusiasm and love for the subject, they will work!

    The reverse is also true.  If you take the word’s best learning methods and if you make up your mind to hate every minute of it, then you won’t learn very much.

    Our software is based on research proven methods, however you still have to use them with the right emotions.

    We want you to feel good at two different times when you use our software.  We want you to feel good when you get something right.  Congratulations, you did a great job.

    We also want you to feel good when you get something wrong!  Because getting things wrong is part of the learning process so you ought to feel great about it.  The only people who don’t ever get things wrong are the ones who never try.

    Of course that sounds silly, but it sure does work.   It’s especially important to feel good about partial success where you only get part of a phrase or word right.

    If you spend half an hour studying a language and if you remember to feel absolutely great every time you get something right AND every time you get something wrong, you will end your study time feeling great and you will come back to study again tomorrow.

    2.  You Must be Asked the Questions, Not Told the Answers

    Here’s what I mean by that.  All methods of foreign language learning involve a lot of review, but there are two ways for reviewing.  One of these ways will help you learn quickly and the other one will waste a lot of your time.

    The most common method is to simply tell you the answers over and over again.  Say for example that you wanted to learn the most common greeting in French.  Most of you probably know this already it is bonjour.

    Usually students are simply told the phrase again and again.  That’s mostly a waste of time.  Yes, you do need to be told the answer often enough and slowly enough to copy it, but to make a stable memory of this word you need to be asked the question, “What’s the most common greeting in French?”

    When your brain is grasping for something and either getting it right or maybe partially getting it right, you are making great progress.

    Say you look at the side of a paper flashcard that says, “What’s the most common greeting in French?”  Maybe you can’t remember it completely so you only can say, “Wasn’t it bo- something?”  You should really feel great about that kind of answer because the memory is now a partial memory and as you keep reviewing you will soon be saying bonjour easily.

    It turns out that the easier it is to recall something, the less good that particular review did for long term memory formation!  Another way of saying that is if you review a word, and it was completely easy to remember, you probably didn’t make your long term memory for that word much stronger.

    When you review a word, and you have to think for a few seconds, then that’s a review that will help make a deeper stronger memory.   So if you have to think for a couple of seconds before you get the word right, then congratulate yourself, because your memory for that word just got stronger.

    3.  Review Items at Increasing Time Intervals

    If you review an item 100 times in a row, you will probably quickly forget it.  But if you review the same item only 10 times at the properly spaced times, you will be well on your way to remembering it for a long time.

    If you want to know more about why this is very real, then read our article on human memory that explains why spaced repetition is an amazingly effective review method.

    The short summary is that if your method of language review, does not help you review at the proper time, then you will waste a huge amount of study time on an endless cycle of learning and then forgetting what you learned.

    We would be honored if you would try our software.  There is nothing to download, you don’t have to register for anything, and you can be trying it in minutes.  So please…

    1.  Select your language at the top right of this page.

    2.  Watch the instructional video.

    3.  Press the big red “Try It” button.

    Leave A Comment

    16 Comments to “ The Three Secrets of Language Learning”

    1. greg

      Do you have English program?
      Please let me know.

      Thanks.

       
      Reply
      • thomas

        Greg –

        Great question! We are working on English in each of the languages we offer. Language101.com is excited to begin developing the ability to learn English as easily as any other language we offer!

        Thomas

         
        Reply
    2. Paul

      Hey, you forgot the most beautiful romance language of all, Italiano. You have the Spanish and French romance courses, but no Italiano. You must be Irish to offer a Gaelic course, though? :)

      Just some food for thought,
      Paul in Florida

       
      Reply
      • thomas

        Paul –

        Check out learn-italian.language101.com We’re still working on some finishing touches. Take the demo lesson as many times as you like. If you want to make a purchase, do so. We’re adding lessons rapidly and will have the language complete very soon!

        Thomas

         
        Reply
    3. Rhonda Tomlinson

      Have you ever reviewed Command Spanish for Teachers? I would be interested to know what you think. I’m doing some research for a college class that I am taking and would like your input on this method.
      Thanks

       
      Reply
      • thomas

        Rhonda –

        We have not reviewed Command Spanish for Teachers. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. I’ll add it to the growing list of language softwares available to review!

        Thomas

         
        Reply
    4. Michele

      Can I learn 2 languages at once? I have been struggling with Spanish and wish to learn German. Both with the intention of travelling. I have been reading your interesting articles on language learning and am about to sign up.

      Thanks!

       
      Reply
      • thomas

        Michele –

        You CAN learn two languages at once. German and Spanish are different enough to work with. Spanish and Russian would be even better due to the different character set. When learning two languages at once it’s best to give yourself a different time and space for each language and stick with it. For instance you might find it helpful to only study Spanish in the living room at 4pm. Then have your German study time in the dining room at 8pm. This is a form of Pavlovian training – the time and setting triggers the brain to step into a certain pattern of expectations. If you have two computers (a laptop and desktop) this can be even more effective by ‘opening a different book’ for each language.

        Many blessings on your studies!

        Thomas

         
        Reply
        • Lolita

          You can even learn 4 languages at once!
          I started with english in 2012 (after years of improductive school learning….). I have been working for 4 month, and I started German (because it was my 3rd language at school). In the same time I started to learn Brazilian (because I have Brazilian friends). And Japanese just 2 weeks after (because I am fond of mangas and I would like to watch it in Japanese)
          So I have been working on the 4 languages at once since 2012 (2,5 years). When I work (for a living!!) I just read or listen or speak or everything in the same time for 10-20 minutes in each language, to preserve and review. When I don’t work (for a living) I work 1-2 hours each language every day. Now I added Arabic (I also learnt it at school), and I work less english (… )
          So If you have time don’t hesitate to learn more than 1 language.
          But as Thomas said : dont’t choose similar languages at once, you will be confused, and it will be very hard to progress.
          I use Assimil book+audio and Pimsleur. And any free materials I can find on the internet.
          By the way: have you tried Assimil?

           
          Reply
          • thomas

            Lolita –

            Wow! What an inspiration. Great time management skills there!

            Thomas

             
            Reply
    5. steve satkowski

      Hi,

      When is the Polish language going to be sold?

      Stephen

       
      Reply
      • thomas

        Stephen –

        Thanks for inquiring about Polish. It’s not available yet and we’re not sure when we can get it ready for release at this time. If you need to learn Polish soon I can recommend the Pimsleur method. Here’s a link to their website. There are other imitations using the name Pimsleur so I’m offering a link to the only place I know is them:

        http://www.pimsleur.com/learn-polish

        Thomas

         
        Reply
    6. larry

      Please, please, please begin offering Mandarin!

      (1 billion + people can’t be wrong.)

       
      Reply
      • thomas

        Larry –

        Mandarin is coming right up! We’ll make an announcement when it’s ready.

        Thomas

         
        Reply
    7. Sandra Herron

      My college level (M.A. level) students need to learn English. They are from Korea, Vietnam, Saudi, Germany, Philippines, and Africa. You would be instantly wealthy if you offered a basic English class designed for students not based on their native language. It can be done! If I were as brilliant as you-all are in this area, I would do it myself! I need this class TODAY.
      THANK YOU, Sandra Herron

       
      Reply
      • thomas

        Sandra –

        Thanks for the encouragement to offer English courses! Language101.com is working on ESL courses. Due to the format of our software it is required that the individuals speak their OWN language in order to learn English. We intend to release an ESL course for each of the languages we offer. Teaching foreign languages to adults requires either extraordinary patience by starting at the fundamental basics (A, B, C) or developing translations that can be applied immediately (Hello, Hola, Bonjour) so that the individual can grasp what it being conveyed.

        If we could teach a foreign speaker English without the basic foundations or without the functional translations you are correct, there would be millions to be made in a very short time!

        The world needs this TODAY! Unfortunately the technology isn’t available today to make language appear in someone’s brain like in ‘The Matrix’. :)

        It’s coming though, and one day all humans will be able to communicate with one another as easily as sending a thought across the ocean!

        Look for an announcement as we begin to release ESL courses for our current offerings: Spanish, French, Canadian-French, Italian, German, Russian, Mandarin Chinese (coming soon) and Japanese (coming soon).

        Thomas

         
        Reply
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