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?
But if you plan to make friends, buy things and haggle, travel, attempt 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.
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.
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.
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!
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 Commitmentgives 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!
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.