MSA or colloquial arabic? Thomson and Benny agree

Benny  (from Fluent in Three Months) has quite an interesting post on the dilemma when starting to study Arabic — namely, should one begin with MSA or the colloquial language in the country you are going to?

Benny comments are right in line with Greg Thomson’s article on the Arabic diglossia. Benny writes:

But if you plan to make friendsbuy things and haggletravelattempt to blend in and not get ripped off, watch a lot of TV such as comedy or soap operas, and even work in most jobs, then you’d be crazy to learn MSA first. Even the locals (a vast majority of them) do not speak it. They do indeed understand it, but you’d have to seriously and unrealistically restrict your interactions if you wanted a reply in MSA.

Let me say that again because it bears repeating: Most people in Arabic speaking countries do NOT speak Modern Standard Arabic. They ONLY speak dialect.


Language learning with Skype

Benny of Fluent in Three Months put together a very cool youtube video on the usefulness of Skype in language learning. The nice thing with skype is that you can be ‘nurtured‘ overseas without having to actually meet your nurturer in person or go to the country in question.

There are many websites to find someone to talk to in the language you want to learn. Become friends with someone in the target language exchange skype ids, give them a ring, and start learning how to talk using picture resources if you are just beginning language learning.

If you are at a more advanced level watch a few minutes of Mr. Bean together on youtube. Then ask them to retell you the story or retell the story yourself and have them give you corrections and pointers on how to say it naturally in the language you are learning.

New and up-to-date resources

In the next few days we’re uploading lots of new and updated resources to our resources page. Two of the most recent additions — A guide to phase 5 and an overview of the six phase program.

The original documents for are linked to at the bottom of every page and can also be found at Greg Thomson’s dropbox.

Polyglots hash out language learning

A gaggle of polyglots got together on Google Hangouts and had a very interesting discussion about how best to learn languages  how to get through frustration and discouragement and which language learning methods worked best for which personality types.  Check it out below.

Learning Enga

Adam Boyd posted a very cool video a few months ago of his third day using the  Growing Participator Approach. He and his wife are learning Enga, a language spoken in Papua New Guinea.

Good news in the growing participator world

Greg Thompson’s blogspot growing participator blog was started several years ago but was never updated and assumed defunct. However, it served as an inspiration to us here at Growing Participator Approach to start this blog.

However in the last few days it looks like the official blog has taken off. There are several posts  on how to find and train nurturers. Too many language helpers only have an idea of how to teach language in a traditional way. As Thomson writes, this is something that needs to be done consciously and carefully.

There seems also to be a new facebook page with links to more resources. Head over and enjoy!

Picture books

Picture books are essential to the growing participator approach, and we’ve had such fun using them. In the next few days I’ll try to add links to some of our favorite picture books.

Sustaining Commitment

Learning any language takes commitment. But what is commitment, and how can you develop commitment to the language you want to learn? Aaron Meyers of The Everyday Language Learner in his book Sustaining Commitment gives some hints of answers.

I found this book quite by chance this evening and have already almost finished it. He has some great quotes in the book. One of my favorite:

In order to learn a
language, you’re going to
make a million mistakes.
So get started!
-Dwight Gradi

So, get started by reading Sustaining Commitment! And then start the Growing Participator Approach today. 🙂

Learning in Italy

What about language learning in Italy? In her post, Rebecca Smith writes about some of the cool key principles of the Growing Participator Approach:

Anyways, the program, as I understand it, is unique in that it equips you to sit down with a native speaker of any language, even if they don’t speak English, and be able to learn their language through miming, acting things out with toys, or reading stories together. Pretty cool, eh?

She also names one key challenge she has come across — finding good nurturers. For a nurturer you don’t want usually want a language teacher or tutor, but just a regular guy (or girl) who doesn’t mind playing rather childish games with you over and over again.

Azeri Numbers

Some language learners post some video of them learning Azerbaijani with the Growing Participator Approach.